Why do people stand when the Hallelujah chorus from Handel’s Messiah is sung? Legend has it that the tradition began when, at the first London performance of Messiah in 1743, King George II happened to be present. He stood up (presumably overcome by the majesty of the music), and when the king stood up, everyone was expected to stand up, and the custom has carried through the years. Actually there is no record of King George II or any member of the royal family ever attending a Messiah performance. The legend is based on a letter written decades later by someone who was not present at the performance but who had heard the story from a friend who claimed to have been present. And so the legend was born.
This year, on Sunday, December 22 at 3:00 pm, the seventh Messiah sing-along will occur at the Church of the Holy Cross, 440 W. Lanikaula St. in Hilo. The Hilo Community Chorus 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. Soloists are Kaui Trainer, soprano; Gerdine Markus, alto; Pedro Kaawaloa, tenor; and Barry Brandes, bass.So bring your own score, if you have one, or borrow one from the church as you enter. 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. And should you stand during the singing of the Hallelujah chorus? Just follow your heart.