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EAC’s traditional Christmas favorites Festival of Carols and Handel’s Messiah Scheduled for early December

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EAC’s traditional Christmas favorites Festival of Carols and Handel’s Messiah Scheduled for early December

By: Lori Dugan

THATCHER, AZ—Eastern Arizona College will be presenting its two traditional holiday favorites once again this season with a Dec. 6 performance of the Festival of Carols and its 69th annual singing of Handel’s Messiah on Dec. 11. Both performances are scheduled for 7:30 p.m. in the Fine Arts Auditorium and as their musical gift to the community, both performances are free to the public.

“The Festival of Carols is designed for family entertainment with the lighter side of Christmas season music,” says interim Choral Music Director, Dr. David Lunt, “and we want to invite everyone to come and enjoy the heart-warming entertainment.”

Some of the selections that will be performed at Festival of Carols include: Masters in this House, Silent Night, O Holy Night, Dashing Through the Slush, Grandma’s Killer Fruitcake, My Son My King, and many, many more.

On Sunday, December 11, the EAC and Community Choirs and Orchestras will come together for their 69th annual singing of Handel’s Messiah . In the words of Dr. Charles Burney, 18th century music historian, Messiah “has fed the hungry and clothed the naked, fostered the orphan, and enriched succeeding managers of Oratories more than any single musical production in this or any other country.” For more than 250 years, this great and most popular of oratorios has survived and endured numerous revisions and re-orchestrations in performances ranging from “cast of thousands” to today’s emphasis on “authentic” performance practice employing period instruments and small all-male choral ensembles.

What Handel achieved in Messiah was a wonderful blend of elegant, Italianate melody alternating with virtuosic vocalism for the soloists and, for the chorus, unmatched choral sonorities ranging from madrigalesque lightness to the composer’s characteristic ceremonial style which endeared him to the British public. Across the span of 250 years, Messiah still holds its extraordinary grip on musician and audience member alike. It reaches us with its directness of expression and its infinite capacity for self-renewal. It bestows on us the special gift of aesthetic and spiritual grace.

“This is our annual presentation of Handel’s Messiah ,” said Lunt, “and will feature the EAC/Gila Valley Orchestra, EAC A Cappella Choir/Gila Valley Chorale, with community members and singers from EAC Women’s Chorale and Men’s Chorus.”

For more information on either of the free Christmas events, call Dr. Lunt at 428-8464.