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Oratorio Society kicks off season with 'The Messiah'
74th annual performance set for Friday in Yuba City
Handel's 'The Messiah'
TIME: 7 p.m. Friday
WHERE: St. Isidore Catholic Church, 222 Clark Ave., Yuba City
COST: Free admission; donations accepted
The Yuba-Sutter Oratorio Society will present its 74th annual performance of Handel's "The Messiah" on Friday. "For a lot of people in our community, this is a nice way to kick off the Christmas season," said conductor Corey Kersting.
The society was established in 1939 by Ralph B. van Courtright to continue the performance of "The Messiah" in our community, "and it has been successful in doing that over those 74 years," Kersting said.
"A lot of people make it their tradition to come, but if people haven't come before, I think they will recognize a lot of the music from it, especially the 'Hallelujah Chorus,'" he added.
"It's a good way to start your Christmas season, to listen to some really great music and hear the story of Christmas at the same time."
"The Messiah" tells the story of Jesus Christ, Kersting said. "There are three sections to it: a Christmas section, a Lent section and an Easter section.
"We do all of the Christmas section, so you will hear a lot of words that come straight from Scripture that talk about the birth of Christ and angels coming to the shepherds and telling about the birth of Christ," Kersting said.
"Then we do a few sections from the Lent portion and the Easter portion as well. The 'Hallelujah Chorus' is from the Easter portion of 'The Messiah,' he said.
Kersting said the audience is invited to sing along during the "Hallelujah Chorus." "It's neat for me, as the conductor, because I hear the choir singing at me and also hear from behind the audience singing, too.
"It's neat to be in the middle and hearing everybody singing that. It's a very nice ending to the program," he said.
The Yuba-Sutter Oratorio Chorus has about 65 members, Kersting said, and about 25 members of the Yuba-Sutter Symphony Orchestra provide accompaniment for "The Messiah."
"It's all strings with a few wind players and a couple of trumpets — so it's not the full orchestra, but that's how the music is written. It's a smaller orchestra than people would see at our other performances during the year," Kersting said.
"All the rehearsals have been going well. We are really excited about it, and we are looking forward to a great performance," he added.
Vocal soloists include Brant Bordsen, bass; Joyce Campbell, alto; Beth Hastey, soprano; Beckie Kersting, alto; Stephanie McClain-Bollinger, alto; and Sally Spatafore, soprano. Other soloists include Ryan Nason, trumpet.
"We always encourage new people to come join us. And we are looking forward to next year, with it being our 75th performance. We are trying to see if we can have 100 people in our choir — that is one of our goals, set by the president of our board," Corey Kersting said.
For more information about how to join the choir or the symphony, go online to ysos.org.
"I think this time of year is special to people for lots of different reasons, and it's a special time in our community," Kersting said. "There are lots of exciting things happening in the next few weeks, and this is just one of those things that is a great community event, and I think it's a great way to kick off your holiday season."