We performed Handel's Messiah Sunday. Bliss, goosebumps, and tears. Our logistical arrangement at the venue was as such: Conductor, epicenter, facing out towards the audience surrounded by the string quintet which was, in turn, surrounded by we, the string orchestra with oboe, trumpets, and timpani. The whole instrumental ensemble was surrounded by the choir. Audience members sat on the sides, or in back of the choir. It's the first time I've seen or experienced playing facing away from the 'house' and it worked wonderfully in the setting. When the choir sang, their voices fell directly upon those of us in the orchestra, vibrating our souls and lifting our spirits. It was overwhelming at times--such as in the Hallelujah chorus--I could barely contain myself! I'm so grateful for having had the good fortune to experience this glorious, shattering elation.
The whole episode was wonderfully orchestrated (pun!) by the conductor and the choral director, who ensured the choir was upstanding and ready to lift their voices on cue. Soloists were ushered to the right of the conductor in time to preserve the continuity of the performance without undue hindrance. Soloists--local vocal students--were drawn from the choir--an ensemble of community participants--and I was most impressed by the polished efforts on all fronts. It was, again, most inspiring. Mind you, when we rehearsed it was just us, the string orchestra. We had not heard the quintet, or soloists, or choir until the actual performance! So it was as much a thrill for us as for the audience, I would venture to say.
Oh, it was tremendous! A very big congratulations to the instructors, conductors, and organizers.
This picture showed up on Facebook. If you look the the center, right, you can catch a glimpse of moi-self. I should note that this picture encompasses just a fraction of the choir and, in fact, it was a mighty congregation indeed!
Oh, what an event. What an evening! I shall never forget it, being my first Messiah performance. Very happy here.
Handel's Messiah by King's College, Cambridge Choir. Most definitely worth a listen to: