The first time I had the honor of singing “The Messiah” was in high school. This has been 52 years ago. My choral director, Mrs. Edwards, gave me a hard back copy of the complete score with my name embossed on the cover. I still use this somewhat tattered score today when singing these glorious choruses of “The Messiah: in concerts. I am always amazed how the words of the music come directly from the Bible
.Isaiah 7: 14 Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel. (#8 Alto Solo)
Isaiah 40: 9 O Zion, that bringest good tidings, get thee up unto the high mountain; O Jerusalem, that bringest good tidings, lift up thy voice with strength; lift it up, be not afraid; say unto the cities of Judah, Behold your God. (#9 Alto Solo and Chorus)
Isaiah 9:6 For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The prince of Peace. (Chorus #12)
Luke 2: 8-14 And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid. And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, which is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly hosts praising God, and saying, Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men. (Sections 14-17)
George Frederic Handel ‘s most successful and best known oratorio was written inn Dublin, Ireland in 1741 in 24 days. It was first performed in Dublin on April 13, 1742 with Handel conducting the performance. “The Messiah” was presented in London on March 23, 1743 and continues to be performed every year. On traveling to Ireland with the Knoxville Choral Society in 2013, I saw the plaque that commemorated this first performance. We performed a concert at the beautiful Christ Church Cathedral. It was a privilege to sing these concerts throughout Ireland.
Each year as I sing the “Hallelujah” chorus I once again rejoice in all the wonders of the birth of Jesus.