‘Messiah’ staged by 4 local groups

The Grand Junction Symphony Orchestra, Mesa State College Chamber Choir, Western Colorado Chorale and Schumann Singers have joined forces for an upcoming presentation of Handel’s iconic oratorio, “Messiah.”

Baroque composer George Frideric Handel wrote “Messiah” in 1741.

Mesa State College professor Jack Delmore, the tenor soloist during the performance and a 19-year veteran of the college, offered some insight into staging one of the most popular oratorios of all time.

Sentinel: How many times have you sung “Messiah?”

Delmore: I started thinking about that the other day. I believe I’ve sung parts of “Messiah” far too many times to remember. I do know I first sang as the tenor soloist 34 years ago.

Sentinel: Do you think if I would take a recording of the “Hallelujah Chrous” out on the street, that most people would recognize it?

Delmore: Oh, definitely. Go to YouTube online. If you type in “Hallelujah Chorus,” it will come up immediately.

Sentinel: Why do you think it’s endured?

Delmore: “Messiah” is a tremendous crowd-pleaser. It’s one of the most popular oratorios ever written. The music is fantastic, melodic, exciting with great imagery. And you can’t top the storyline.

Sentinel: With its popularity and your long career performing it, you must have it memorized.

Delmore: Well, sacred concert music like this is too technical to memorize. It just has too many notes, and it’s too difficult to try and recall everything.

Sentinel: What do you mean by too technical? How many vocal parts are there?

Delmore: There are four soloists (soprano, mezzo-soprano, tenor and bass). I’m doing three of the tenor solos myself. This solo music was written during this time where composers really showed the human voice off, so it demands a lot of bravura, or showy, singing.

Sentinel: How do you warm up or prepare?

Delmore: You just go slowly through the arias. It usually takes about 20 minutes. You don’t want to overdo it. At this point of my long career, I’ve grown to love all the music in “Messiah.” I’ve sung it so often, we all strive to keep the performance at the high level it demands.

Sentinel: Do you drink a lot of water?

Delmore: Most definitely. It’s so dry here anyway, I usually drink eight or nine 20-ounce bottles a day.

The performance of Handel’s “Messiah,” which the symphony has not performed in nearly 10 years, is 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 11 at Grand Junction High School.

Tickets start at $15 for adults and $5 for students. Tickets are available at http://www.gjsymphony.org or 243-6787.


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