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ESCC, CCAA bring Handel’s “Messiah” back for holiday performance

ESCC, CCAA bring Handel’s “Messiah” back for holiday performance

On Dec. 4, the Coffee County Arts Alliance and the Enterprise State Community College Division of Fine Arts will once again ring in the holiday season with a special performance of Handel’s “Messiah.”

This year’s performance of “’Messiah,’ A Community Choral Presentation,” will feature the talents of ESCC Fine Arts faculty and students as well as members of the community. The performance will include orchestra, chorus, and solo performances, which will be performed by Maranda Cochran, Dr. Chip Quisenberry and Aaron Shealey. Members of the Community Choir are Becca Badger, Judi Badger, Nathan Badger, John Baker, Kim Baker, Bill Blackstock, Aaron Brown, Madeleine Burnett-Caballero, Eddie Byrd, Madelynn Carr, Michelle Carr, Maranda Cochran, Allanah Drake, Kendall DeTora, Sandra DeTora, Avery Free, Amelia Gammon, Kirkland Gammon, Gwyn Gatlin, Carson Gilder, Ava Gothard, Geoff Gothard, Dianne Gresham, Susan Helms, Jaxon Hess, Angela Hoope, Hillary Hudson, Dr. Jean Johnson, Emily Klang, Lindsey Ludlam, Heather Luna, Landen Mock, Allison Moore, Gracie Moran, Sarah Patty, Tyler Purvis, Dr. Chip Quisenberry, Faye Scheiffer, DeAnna Schellin, Martha Seals, Aaron Shealey, Jim Sparrow, Junho Seo, Dr. Jill Spurlin, Stacey Squier, Zoey White, Carol Windham, Hal Yarbrough, Dr. Ken Thomas.

The event will also feature the talents of special guest soloist Kristine Biller, a nationally recognized soprano singer.

Biller’s recent soprano soloist performances include the “Messiah” at the Lincoln Center’s Avery Fisher Hall, “Beethoven’s Ninth” and “Brahm’s Requiem.” She has performed “Carmina Burana” and “The Lord Nelson Mass,” and delivered a moving performance in Gorecki’s powerful “Symphony No. 3” with the North Penn Symphony. She has also performed “The Bells” with the Helena Symphony, “The Armed Man: A Mass for Peace” with the Rackham Symphony in Detroit and “Mahler’s 2nd” with the North Penn Symphony. Biller was also a part of the world premier piece, “The Happy Prince” with the Kentucky Opera.

Biller has performed as Caroline from “Margaret Garner” with the Michigan Opera Theater and the Philadelphia Opera and has toured the production in Chicago as well. She has performed several other roles with Philadelphia Opera, including Sandmännchen from “Hansel and Gretel,” Wanda from “Grand Duchess of Gerolstein” and Frasquita from “Carmen.” The Michigan Opera has invited Biller back to sing Clorinda in “La Cenerentola” with mezzo-soprano, Vivica Genaux.

Biller graduated from Indiana University with her Master of Music, and while there, she was selected to perform five leading roles: Micaela in “Carmen,” Mimi in “La Bohème,” Princess Ninetta in “Love for Three Oranges,” Adina in “L’Elisir d’Amore” and Manon in “Manon.” Kristine began her professional career at 20 with the Opera Roanoke singing Second Lady in “Die Zauberflöte.”

“We are pleased once again to bring Handel’s most loved work to the Wiregrass,” ESCC Fine Arts Division Chair and CCAA President Dr. Ken Thomas said. “Following last year’s performance, many in attendance asked if this would be an annual event. Of course, my response was yes!
“We are honored to have Kristine Biller as our special guest soprano soloist. Someone of her caliber will heighten the experience for all who attend and participate in this performance. We are also pleased that Ms. Biller has joined the ESCC Fine Arts Division as Voice Instructor. Our students will be greatly enriched by their interaction with and learning from Ms. Biller.”

The Messiah is an English-language oratorio, or a large musical composition for orchestra, choir and soloists without action or scenery. It was composed in 1741 by George Frideric Handel, with a scriptural text compiled by Charles Jennens from the King James Bible and from the Coverdale Psalter, the version of the Psalms included with the Book of Common Prayer. Jennens’ text is an extended reflection on Jesus as the Messiah called Christ. “Messiah” was first performed in Dublin on April 13, 1742, and it has since become one of the best-known and most frequently performed choral works in Western music.

“’Messiah,’ A Community Choral Presentation” will be held on Sunday, Dec. 4, at 5 p.m. at First Baptist Church of Enterprise. This is a free event for the community, but donations to the Coffee County Arts Alliance are appreciated.

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