2017 marks the 275th anniversary of the premiere of Handel’s Messiah. For the 1742 premiere of Messiah in Dublin, it is estimated that Handel had a combined ensemble of approximately 50 performers, with almost the same number of vocalists as instrumentalists. Experienced singers from the better church choirs made up the chorus; two different soloists shared the roles for each voice part. While the chorus had no female singers, the soprano and alto solo parts were sung by women.
The Hilo Community Chorus will present Parts II & III of Messiah in concert on Sunday, May 21 at the Palace Theater in Hilo with chorus, organ, continuo, and trumpets. Choral rehearsals will begin at 6:30 pm on Monday, January 9, at the UH-Hilo rehearsal room (next to the Performing Arts Center, click link to view location on Google Maps).
The Hilo Community Chorus is a non-auditioned community-based chorus directed by Tom McAlexander and accompanied by Walter Greenwood. Anyone who loves to sing choral music and is willing to devote two hours each week for rehearsals is welcome to join. Dues are $45 for the semester, and music cost is $8 for the Leonard Van Camp Messiah score. Scholarships available if cost would prevent you from singing. For more information, call McAlexander on 985-7192 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
from Tom McAlexander, Music Director:
“It was a cold January in 2008 when 25 singers from the Hilo Community Chorus (along with another 18 from the University, of which we were still a part), traveled to New York for the inaugural concert of Distinguished Concerts International New York (DCINY) featuring music of (Sir) Karl Jenkins (He has since been knighted). We had just performed his Requiem in Hilo, and they were looking for American choruses which had performed the work to sing at Carnegie Hall. Our conductor was DCINY’s co-founder and principal conductor Jonathan Griffith–one of the world’s great choral and orchestra conductors. (The other work on the program was Sir Karl’s The Armed Man.) I don’t believe any one of us complained about the cold. It was one of the highlights of our lives. And, we had plenty of time to see a few Broadway plays and eat in some great restaurants. About half of our singers who went to New York that first year are still members of the Chorus.
Since that time small groups or individuals from our Chorus have traveled to New York and other parts of the world to sing with DCINY choruses. It is always worth whatever it costs. Emma had always said she didn’t want to go–she had seen New York. Then she went. She even sat in on our rehearsal with Dr. Griffith. Couldn’t believe how much he was able to do with the large chorus he was working with. Now she wants to go back. So do I.
DCINY is not like other concert promoters. Although they can be of assistance in getting housing, travel, etc., that is not their focus. Their focus is concerts and education. We have always handled our logistics ourselves, individually, and it has worked out great. We can stay at five star hotels or at hostels. We can eat at five star restaurants or small delis. We have to be in New York for rehearsals on Friday and Saturday and concert on Sunday (if my recollection is correct–maybe it’s Saturday and Sunday rehearsals with concert on Monday), but evenings are free and we can stay as long as we want. The latest figures I have for two clinical rehearsals, a dress rehearsal, and concert at Carnegie Hall is $840 per singer unless we have 10 or more, then it’s $790 per singer. VIP travelers (or as I call ‘em, tag-alongs) cost half that amount, and they can have access to our rehearsals as well to the gala party that follows (the real reason I want to go). Or the tag-alongs can just go, purchase a ticket to the concert, and skip the gala.
January 2018 will mark DCINY’s tenth anniversary, and they will once again feature music of Sir Karl in their annual Martin Luther King, Jr. concert. I wrote to Iris Derke, co-founder and general director of DCINY and got this reply “And Aloha to you too Tom! Your beautiful words mean the world to me….especially that you remember our impending 10th anniversary. Having you and your singers with us for the grand opening of an extraordinary decade will be a cherry on top! Bravo!! Yes yes — Sir Karl will be with us in January of 2018 ”
For this 10th anniversary, we were first notified that Sir Karl would compose a 10-minute piece. That has changed. He now is in the process of composing a full-length work (probably 40-45 minutes long) titled “Sing, the Music Was Given” based on a poem by Thomas Moore entitled “Sing–Sing–Music Was Given.” So, for a change, Sir Karl is not composing a religious piece, but one about music. I wonder how many of you have ever sung a major world premiere work–and at Carnegie Hall. OK, I’m stoked!
Let’s make 2018 a really big year and start it in New York singing at Carnegie Hall! Aloha, — Tom”
UPDATE MARCH 2017–We presently have more than 10 singers from Hilo signed up for this trip (so we are at the reduced rate of $790) and more singers are welcome. It is not too late to sign up…yet. DCINY will continue to accept singers until their quota (usually around 250 singers) is met. I am to notify them of any new singers, but I won’t do so until we receive your first deposit check ($200 made payable to “Hilo Community Chorus” with memo note “for DCINY trip” or something similar). Community singers not presently singing with HCC but wishing to sing in this event as guests of our group, please contact Tom. At a later date we will also ask how many accompanying non-singers will go with us.
For more information email Tom McAlexander at email@example.com or call (808) 985-7192
(photo from NYconcertreview.com)
Hilo Community Chorus members are invited to participate in the Jonathan Griffith Singers 10-day tour to Barcelona in July, 2017 (click this link for more information). The music is Verdi’s Requiem, and 2 performances are planned.
Jonathan’s tours are always of the highest quality. Professional orchestras and soloists are featured. Participants stay in 4 and 5-star hotels, and comfortable ground transportation is provided. Some meals are included in the price. This is a wonderful opportunity to sing in one of the most beautiful cities of the world, and along with Jonathan’s fantastic (and fun!) workshops and conducting, you will find that this is a musical experience not to be missed!
Land cost: $2700, if paid in full; $2800, if paid in 5 installments; $2900, if paid in 10 installments
“In South America we visited a winery in Uruguay, and sang in the 19th century opera house. We took a ferry across to Buenos Aires. In Buenos Aires we went to a professional tango performance and sang in a basilica in the Italian quarter. This concert is the absolute highlight of anyplace I’ve ever sung. The audience was brought to tears, and I confess I was too, to hear the last note ringing above us in the church for what seemed like forever.”
“In Turkey we had 3 performances, in Eskisahir, the home of the poet Yunus Emre, whose music we were singing, in Ankara, and in Istanbul. In Istanbul we took a boat tour of the strait between Europe and Asia.”
“We had professional orchestras and singers on both tours. We sounded good, but together with the professionals, we sounded great!”
“No tour is complete without sampling local culture and food. If I can say just one thing about Jonathan (besides his musical talents), it’s that he’s all about having fun!”
“Others in our group have also traveled with Jonathan: ask any of them if they would go again. I’m sure they will say yes!”
-submitted by Mahealani
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THE PALACE THEATER AND THE HILO COMMUNITY CHORUS PRESENT
2ND ANNUAL PALACE HOLIDAY CONCERT
SUNDAY, DEC. 18 at 7pm
Doors open at 6pm
Come celebrate the season at the Palace Theater with the Hilo Community Chorus accompanied by Walter Greenwood on the organ.
Selections from Handel’s Messiah, John Rutter’s Magnificat, songs of Hanukkah, plus a fun holiday sing-along!
On Sunday, December 18, 2016 at 2:00 pm, the Tenth annual “Messiah” sing-along will be presented at Christ Lutheran Church, 595 Kapiolani St., Hilo (opposite Hospice, click link to view location in Google Maps).
The Hilo Community Chorus and Christ Lutheran Church Choir will join the audience in singing the great choruses from Part I, the Advent/Christmas portion of the oratorio, with the addition of the Hallelujah chorus from Part II and Worthy Is the Lamb/Amen from Part III. The choral numbers will be conducted by Tom McAlexander, and the accompaniment will be provided by Walter Greenwood, organ; Rick Mazurowski, piano; and Armando Mendoza, trumpet. Soloist are Amy Horst, soprano; Andrea Christensen and Lucia Samuels, alto; Ian McMillan, tenor; and Barry Brandes, bass.
So bring your own score if you have one, or borrow one as you enter the church. Or, if you prefer, just come and enjoy the music. You may sit with your section (look for the signs on the pews), or sit wherever you please. No rehearsals are required, but there will be an open rehearsal on Saturday, December 19 at 2:00 PM at the church. For more information, call 985-7192 or email firstname.lastname@example.org .