Bob Huntington, the Artistic Director of Queen Anne’s Chorale, is bringing Handel’s Messiah to the Eastern Shore in a special format – as a sing along. Here, he explains what to expect from this performance on December 2nd.

What do you think makes Handel’s Messiah special as a piece of music?

Handel was truly inspired when he composed this work. Singers and listeners always find it rewarding–musically and spiritually. As a conductor, I discover something interesting about the piece each time.

What, exactly, is a Messiah sing-along?

Messiah sing-along is an opportunity for people who have sung the work to be able to participate in a live performance. In our case, it will be led by Queen Anne’s Chorale and supported by a chamber orchestra. People who have sung the work before usually have their own copy of the music. Just in case, there will be music available for purchase prior to the concert.

How is an audience member likely to experience this differently than a regular performance of Messiah

There will be several sing-along opportunities. The entire audience gets to sing along on several seasonal pieces and the famous “Hallelujah Chorus.” Those who will be singing along on the selected Messiah choruses are seated in a designated section in the front nearest the stage (family members and friends of the singing audience can be seated in this same area).

For audience members who prefer just to listen, the performance will have the quality of surround-sound. The finale will be 600 or more people standing and singing together the “Hallelujah Chorus.” It will be a very memorable moment!

 One of the interesting parts of your job for this performance must be coordinating the orchestra, chorus, and the members of the audience who participate. How do you get everyone to work together as a team?

Teamwork is the key, and the Chorale will be my “mirror” to the audience. Professional instrumentalists will accompany and a pianist will double the voice parts on the nine sing-along choruses. The Chorale has been rehearsing weekly since early September to be prepared for their leadership role. As the conductor, my job is to keep everyone together.

 What’s your ultimate goal as the conductor for this performance?

To my knowledge, Handel’s Messiah has not been sung in this area for quite a few years. By programming it, we provide an opportunity to experience this great music.

Mr. Huntington will be directing Queen Anne’s Chorale as they present “Hallelujah! A Christmas Concert Featuring Messiah” the evening of December 2 at the Todd Performing Arts Center at Chesapeake College in Wye Mills, MD. For more information, visit qachorale.org.

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