Writer Grace Hill

[dropcap]W[/dropcap]hile the holidays should bring merriment and good tidings to all, the hustle and bustle of the season can turn even the most amiable person into a scrooge. But one does not need to search far to find what will soothe, inspire and reenergize the soul. The remedy lies within the sounds that flow from a live musical performance.

One of those musical performances can be found during Christ the Lord Lutheran Church’s fourth annual Living Music Performance Series. Mary Sue Hyatt, Christ the Lord’s director of music ministries, describes their mission as one that will “engage the community, celebrate the arts and delight the spirit” through the secular and sacred music of the concert series. And they desire to do just that on December 10, when the next concert in the series, George Frideric Handel’s “Messiah,” will be performed.

Certainly one of the most famous choral works, Handel’s “Messiah” brings delight to audiences during each Christmas season and will do so again this year. Since being composed in 1741 by George Frideric Handel, countless conductors have brought the music to life. At Christ the Lord’s Living Music Performance, conductor Vance George will deliver another astonishing performance.

“I’m conducting a work that I love and have performed many times as a singer and conductor,” says George. “‘Messiah’ bears a message important for today, one that is redemptive, beautiful and calming in a time with such strife. A message of hope and love to people all over the world who need this kind of love.”

As director of the San Francisco Symphony Chorus, George accepted four Grammy awards on behalf of the orchestra and chorus, including Best Performance of a Choral Work for Carl Orff’s “Carmina Burana” and Johannes Brahms’ “A German Requiem;” and Best Classical Album for a collection of Igor Stravinsky’s music, including “Perséphone,” “The Firebird,” and “The Rite of Spring,” as well as for Gustav Mahler’s Symphony No. 3.

Recognized as one of America’s leading choral conductors, George was born in Northern Indiana. After receiving musical training from Indiana’s Goshen College, he obtained teaching and conducting positions at Woodstock School, the University of Wisconsin, Cleveland Orchestra Chorus, The Blossom Festival School, Kent State University and the San Francisco Symphony.

Throughout his many years as a distinguished conductor, he has performed pieces from classical composers such as Bach, Brahms, Beethoven and Mozart, as well as contemporary composers like John Adams, Tarik O’Regan and Arnold Schoenberg. Because of his skill and expertise in conducting choral performances, he has had the privilege of traveling throughout the United States, Europe, Asia and Australia as a guest conductor.

In addition to George, Christ the Lord welcomes the Arizona Messiah Chorus. After preparing with Paul Lee, director of music ministries at St. Barnabas on the Desert Episcopal Church in Paradise Valley, they will make their debut at Christ the Lord’s “Messiah” concert. The Arizona Messiah Chorus will perform the beautiful vocal accompaniment to the instrumental music.

Don’t let this Christmas pass by without enjoying the breathtaking sounds of Handel’s “Messiah” at Christ the Lord Lutheran Church. As you close your eyes and let your senses become fully immersed in the exhilarating music, your tired spirit will be restored — and you will then be ready to celebrate the season!