EAC’s annual “Christmas Gift to the Gila Valley”
By Lori Dugan
Thatcher, AZ—Eastern Arizona College’s Fine Arts Division will offer two annual favorites next week with Festival of Carols, on December 3, at 7:30 p.m., followed by the 77th annual performance of Handel’s, Messiah, on December 8, also at 7:30 p.m., as their gift to the community.
Festival of Carols features EAC’s Choral and Instrumental Music Departments in a Christmas music extravaganza. There will be many beloved EAC choir groups performing songs from traditional Christmas music to modernized versions of well-loved favorites.
“Festival of Carols is the EAC Music Department’s Christmas card to the Gila Valley,” said Dr. Bruce Bishop, EAC’s choir director. “Each performing group brings a new spirit to well-known Christmas songs and even to some forgotten songs. It’s great for the whole family and really helps to bring in the Christmas spirit.”
Then, Sunday, December 8, community and College singers combine with the EAC Orchestra in the College’s Fine Arts Auditorium to continue the longest continual “Messiah” performance tradition west of the Mississippi River!
“The Tradition began on December 18, 1936, when EAC’s Choir director, Ben S. Johnson, presented Handel’s, Messiah with a choir of 65 college students and 35 community members,” Says Bishop. “As the years went on, they added strings and other instruments and this year we a proud to announce the addition of EAC’s new harpsichord played by the talented Romona Lines.”
Messiah, with its majestic biblical text, magnified by Handel’s score, combines to recount the drama of the birth, life, and mission of a boy born as King of Kings and Prince of Peace. This story, the drama, lies at the heart of this continuing Gila Valley Christmas tradition.
Both concerts, Festival of Carols and Messiah, will be presented free of charge.