Leah Nellis was aloof 17 years old aback she fell in adulation with one of the best acclaimed pieces of classical music anytime written.
“I’m 65, and I accept not done it every distinct year. But I started aback I was a inferior or chief in aerial academy … and I’ve articulate the ‘Messiah’ abounding times,” she said.
“This year, we’re activity to breathe in goodness, and we’re activity to absolution assurance and compassion. Hopefully, we’re additionally activity to absolution some of our affliction that we’ve had this year, too, in the ‘Messiah.'”
A affiliate of Canterbury Voices for about a decade, Nellis afresh will accompany Oklahoma City’s arch symphony choir in assuming George Frideric Handel’s choral masterwork Dec. 5 at the Civic Center Music Hall.
Although it debuted as an Easter alms on April 13, 1742, “Messiah” has become a agreeable rite of the Christmas season.
Oklahoma’s better and oldest symphony chorus, Canterbury Voices alternates amid presenting the majestic “Messiah” and its “Canterbury Christmas” affairs of acceptable yuletide favorites.
“We assume to accept collapsed into a accepted of accomplishing it every two years, so you alter it by the altered movements. Some things abide the same, and some things change. You accept altered soloists … so it charcoal fresh,” said Canterbury Voices Artistic Director Randi Von Ellefson.
This year, Canterbury Voices will accomplish the admired Baroque-era aria accompanied by the Oklahoma City Philharmonic as able-bodied as soloists Kelly Holst, lyric coloratura acute and music assistant at Oklahoma City University; Courtney Crouse, boilerplate acute and music assistant at OCU; Steven Sanders, tenor and accessory music assistant at Oklahoma State University; and Mark McCrory, bass and accessory music assistant at the University of Oklahoma.
In 2017 and 2019, Canterbury denticulate a anniversary hit by teaming with the OKC Philharmonic to accomplish Eugene Goossen’s abundant 1950s Romantic adjustment of “Messiah.” In ablaze of the abiding COVID-19 pandemic, the admirable choir will present the added traditional, Baroque-era chart that uses a abate orchestra.
But Canterbury will accumulate its accepted acclamation for this season’s “Messiah.”
“I anticipate bodies accept absolutely enjoyed the ‘Hallelujah Chorus’ sing-along at the end, area they all get to angle and sing calm with us,” Ellefson said. “This is about a blessed season, a blithesome season, which reflects, I think, the attitude of bodies advancing aback and singing calm and activity adequate again.”
A retired music teacher, Nellis recognizes the ability of bodies of all ages singing together.
A 1974 Altus Aerial Academy graduate, she was still a jailbait aback her articulate abecedary broke her to sing “Messiah” in a association concert at the Altus Air Force Base Chapel. Western Oklahoma State College afterwards best up this yuletide tradition.
“They would adapt anybody in the association that capital to appear and apprentice the music. Man, I bet we started in September, because it was accessible to bodies who’d never articulate before,” she recalled. “So, us actual boilerplate association associates sang this masterwork year afterwards year afterwards year, and it was aloof a adulation fest for us all: to adulation the music, adulation the message, adulation the bodies that abutting with us to do it and again accord a allowance to our community.”
Even afterwards she confused to axial Oklahoma to advise music in Norman Public Schools, Nellis would sometimes acknowledgment to Altus to participate in the “Messiah” association concert.
“Then there was the year that my sister, who is additionally a articulate drillmaster and diva … sang the solos,” said Nellis, who was Norman Public Schools’ Abecedary of the Year in 2002. “I took the acute solos and she took the alto … and that was a year to remember.”
After she retired from teaching in 2013, Nellis abutting Canterbury Voices.
“I’ve articulate every year with them … and I’m beholden to be able to add my one little voice,” Nellis said. “It never gets old. Aback that billy drops, we are one. And it’s a thrill.”
Although she enjoys Canterbury’s abounding repertoire, Nellis said “Messiah” still holds a appropriate abode in her heart.
“It’s such a animal story, that a babyish comes into our lives and changes everything. And we don’t alike apperceive how abundant until later,” she said.
“Handel absolutely is a adept artisan and arranger, and he sets the words so beautifully. … It’s aloof magic.”
When: 7 p.m. Dec. 5.
Where: Civic Center Music Hall, 201 N Walker.
COVID-19 protocols: Masks are required, behindhand of anesthetic status.
Tickets and information: canterburyokc.com.
How To Write A Chorus For A Song – How To Write A Chorus For A Song
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