GIBSON CITY — This year’s "Messiah" performance will begin at 3 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 2, at the Gibson City Bible Church, located on Gibson City’s west side at 309 N. Illinois 47.
This year marks the 75th year since Handel’s "Messiah" oratorio was first performed in Gibson City. The performance is dedicated to all who have participated in any way during past performances. Members of the audience who are past participants will be asked to stand for group recognition, as they are able.
Members of this year’s chorus who have sung or played an instrument in past performances for at least 10 years or more include: Tom Hartford, Peter Hartford, Bill Hartford, Sue Kean, Jack Kollross, Bill Ogg, Margy Shambrook, Margaret Stocker and Kay Swearingen.
This year’s new director is Geoffrey Williams of Champaign. He is choirmaster at the Emmanuel Memorial Episcopal Church in Champaign and a University of Illinois doctoral candidate in choral music. Last year’s director, Janet McCumber, was unavailable this year due to an interim teaching assignment in the Chicago area.
Rehearsal and performance piano accompaniment is provided by Bill Ogg of Gibson City and Beverly Hilmer of Fisher. Instrumentalists are from Champaign, and they include a string quartet, trumpeter and timpanist.
Female soloists are to be Andrea Dunahee of Fisher, soprano, and Amanda Broaddus of Gibson City, contralto. The male solos will be performed by Jason Morgan of Savoy, tenor, and James Mayer of Urbana, bass.
Choir members will sing in four-part harmony and have practiced four nights in November plus Saturday’s dress rehearsal. They hail from Gibson City and a dozen other towns in Central Illinois: Elliott, Fisher, Saybrook, Colfax, Melvin, Roberts, Paxton, Cissna Park, Loda, Mahomet, Savoy and Urbana.
The Gibson Area Music Foundation has been the sponsor of the local "Messiah" production since 2008. The nonprofit foundation’s board of directors is grateful for all the donors who have responded to appeals for funding as well as those who might donate during Sunday’s free-will offering.
All residents are encouraged to attend. The performance is given at no charge, and free refreshments are offered after the performance.