December 3, 2022
The Music Ministry of St. Paul’s Episcopal Church at 416 SE Grand Avenue in Lee’s Summit will present its 2nd Annual performance of the Christmas portion of Handel’s “Messiah” on Sunday, December 11, 2022 at 4:00 PM. Dr. William O. Baker, music director for the historic congregation since 2020, will conduct the St. Paul Choir and a chamber orchestra comprised, in part, by members of the Kansas City Symphony. Four of the region’s up and coming young soloists, Megan Moore, Erica Seago, Sean Sweeden and Michael Hon, will be the professional quartet. John Schaefer, Canon Musician for Grace and Holy Trinity Cathedral from 1977 to 2017, will be at the organ. The format of the concert will be a sing-along, where members of the audience may join in the singing of the majestic choruses. Admission is free and the community is invited. A wine and cookie reception will follow the performance, provided by the Friends of St. Paul’s Music.
“Handel’s “Messiah” is one of the most beloved classical music works in world history,” says Dr. Baker, “Since it was first performed for a hospital benefit in 1742, it has grown in affection and popularity. The greatest composers of succeeding generations praised it as a legendary work. Haydn wept when he first heard it, saying ‘The great Handel is the master of us all.’ Mozart respected it so much that he wrote his own orchestration for it. Beethoven asked that a copy of it be brought to his deathbed.”
Each year millions of people across the globe flock to performances of the work in churches and concert halls. Sing-along performances grew in popularity until the pandemic and now, with that crisis greatly diminished, the sing-along tradition is growing again. The 2021 performance of “Messiah” at St. Paul’s Church was so well attended that some listeners enjoyed the performance from the church’s narthex. The music staff of the church promises to find a place for everyone who attends the 2022 “Messiah” sing-along, but early arrival is recommended for best seats.
Attendees are welcome to come and listen, or take up a score and sing with the choir and orchestra on the famous choruses. Dr. Jamea Sale, associate music director for St. Paul’s Church, says, “Any edition of “Messiah” that you own will work just fine.” Attendees who wish to sing, but do not have their own score may borrow one with a $10 deposit, refundable when the score is returned following the concert.
The music ministry of St. Paul’s Episcopal Church has grown to one of the most active church programs in the Kansas City region over the past two years. The St. Paul Choir leads the weekly Choral Eucharist services 52 Sundays a year and presents a regular schedule of services and outreach concerts. Recent performances have included last year’s “Messiah”, Randall Thompson’s “The Testament Of Freedom,” Robert Ray’s “Gospel Mass,” Bach’s cantata “Ich Will Den Kreutzstab Gerne Tragen” and Buxtehude’s “Jesu, Meine Freude.” St. Paul A Cappella, a chamber ensemble of professional and semi-professional singers has performed a program of Colonial and Early American works this past June, and will perform the “1605 Requiem” of Renaissance composer Thomas Luis da Victoria for Holy Week in 2023. The St. Paul Ringers has performed frequently throughout the community for the Festival of Lights in Powell Gardens and for the Memorial Day Service at Lake Lotawana. Under the leadership of newly appointed Children and Youth Music Director Niccole Williams, the congregation is creating handbell and choral programs for grades 3-9.
For information about the sing-along performance of Handel’s “Messiah,” please contact the church at 816-524-3651 or Music@St.PaulsLS.org.