GREENVILLE - COVID-19 could not stop the majesty of Handel’s Messiah oratorio and the well-honored tradition of its annual December performance. Alumni and friends of Greenville University can view the 90th performance of George Frideric Handel’s Messiah presented online this year by the Greenville Choral Union and Orchestra.

The performance link will be available for access on Greenville University’s website. Directing Messiah is GU’s new interim choral director, Dr. Don Frazure. The reduced orchestra and small but mighty choir is joined by Greenville University’s accompanist Rebecca Koebe. Featured soloists include GU Sophomore Marissa Horning, Vocal Music Instructor Grace Denton, Dr. Don Frazure, and regional soloist Kyle Montgomery.

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Out of concern for the potential concert attendees, the decision to do an online performance was made by Frazure, in consultation with Dr. Terrell Carter, who manages facilities and COVID-19 protocols for hosting people on the Greenville University campus. COVID-19 forced choral conductors all over the country to explore unfamiliar rehearsal methods.

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“None of us knew how to do this before the pandemic,” Frazure says. Open minds and willingness to learn brought new possibilities. Choral Union members learned their parts online to keep group rehearsals to a minimum. Dr. Frazure researched ways to safely rehearse as a group and purchased a mask for all choral union members that is especially designed for singers.

The December 6th concert will open with O Come, All Ye Faithful arranged by David Willcocks, followed by the Randol Bass Gloria, In dulci jubilo arranged by R.L. Pearsall, Willcock’s arrangement of Hark! The Herald Angels Sing, Part I - Prophecy and Promise of the Redeeming Messiah from Messiah: An Oratorio by George F. Handel and close with Warrell’s arrangement of A Merry Christmas.

“Music is meant to be shared among people,” Frazure says. “That’s the intangible part about making music that I think we all took for granted pre-COVID.” The Choral Union hopes to invite guests to an in-person performance next year. Until then, they welcome the public to enjoy an online performance of Messiah and other Christmas selections this coming Sunday, December 6th at 4 p.m.

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