Friday, December 11, 2009

Christmas Memory: Handel's Messiah

At the age of fifteen, I was blessed to learn Handel's Messiah in my high school choir class. Our school choir led the choruses at a community sing-along Messiah every year. I got to sing in that choir for three years, and each September we were greeted with one or another motif of Handel's great work.

As far as Scripture is concerned, some of my most solid memory work ever was done in that high school choir class.

For unto us a child is born,
Unto us a Son is given!
And the government shall be upon His shoulders
And His name shall be called
The Mighty God!
The Everlasting Father!
The Prince of Peace!

I haven't been able to secure much in the way of choral opportunities for my own kids (although we have ample opportunities for a capella hymnsinging-- an embarrassment of riches there, really!) so this year I determined to teach the kids to follow the sheet music as we sang the Messiah with a CD. We worked on "For Unto Us a Child is Born" this week. Last week we did "And the Glory of the Lord". Next week is "Hallelujah Chorus", and the week after Christmas break we will practice, "Surely He Hath Borne Our Griefs and Carried Our Sorrows". It is going very well. If it continues to go well, who knows? We may be singing with the CD into spring!

I relish the opportunity to help the kids deal with some choral technique. This past week, we concentrated on not scooping. It is so tempting to sing, "For unto-WUHS a child is born" instead of being more distinct and centered.

So Mariel helped us out with this sign:

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