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‘Messiah’ rehearsal wows crowd

December 24, 2018

MICHIGAN CITY – “If this is how the rehearsal is going to sound, I can’t wait to see the real thing tomorrow night.”

That was the reaction of Donald Viewer of La Porte afterwatching Saturday morning’s dress rehearal of Handel’s “Messiah” at the First Presbyterian Church in Michigan City.

A third-time attendee, Viewer said the guest singers gave him goosebumps.

First-time attendee Trista Blankenship of Westville was similarly dazzled.

“I wish I’d have discovered this sooner,” he said. “Everything was so spot-on. It was a beautiful performance with deep meaning for Christians.”

He planned to bring her family to Sunday’s performance.

Philip J. Bauman conducted the 17th century oratorio, to be performed for the 54th time at First Presbyterian. Guest soloists are Sarah Gartshore, soprano; Kristin Gornstein, contralto; and Matthew Daniel, tenor. David Goversten was not present at rehersal, but will be singing bass.

Bauman opened the show with an enthusiastic welcome to the crowd.

“It is with great pride and exhilaration that I welcome you to the 54th presentation of our amazing gift to the community – Handel’s Messiah. It is our mission to bring the celebration of Christ’s life to the community through his great work of art and with the purposeful community of all involved,” the conductor said.

Daniel then stunned the crowd with his beautiful, clear voice, performing Part 1 of the Oratorio, “Prophecy,” accompanied by the Messiah Chorus and the Messiah Orchestra.

The orchestra consisted of 31 musicians, including Charles Steck, conductor of this year’s La Porte Symphony Holiday at the Pops concert.

The Messiah Chorus consisted of 76 singers from all over Northwest Indiana and Southwest Michigan. The chorus is open to any and all who enjoy sining. Rehearsals begin on the second Thursday of November for next year’s program.

“I was astonished how good they all were,” Charles Umbrick of Union Mills said. “It blended really well and the meaning behind it was great too. I’ll definitely be back next year and many years to come.”

He said it was his first time seeing the performance, but he’d heard good things from others who had seen it. “I had to come check it out,” he said.

The full performance was held at First Presbyterian Church, 121 W. 9th St., at 3 p.m. Sunday.

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