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Community Messiah Sing


West Plains Council on the Arts, revitalizing a tradition, invites everyone to a Community Messiah Sing, directed by Larry Dame, early each November in West Plains, Missouri.  This year’s Sing has been canceled due to illnesses. We are hopeful for our next event which will be 2:00 PM, Sunday, November 3, 2024, in West Plains.

The Christmas portion of “Messiah”, using the G. Schirmer score, is performed.   The community is invited to come to sing or come to listen!  Score copies are available.  The audience is invited to sing along in these favorite Messiah choruses: Glory of the Lord, And He Shall Purify, Thou that Tellest Good Tidings, For Unto Us a Child is Born, Glory to God in the Highest, and of course, the Hallelujah Chorus!

G. F. Handel was born in Halle, Germany, February 23, 1685; a vintage year for Baroque composers as this was the same year J. S. Bach was born. Handel became a prominent German-British Baroque composer, famous for his operas, oratorios, anthems and organ concertos. Handel received musical training in Halle and Ham-burg Germany and in Italy before settling in London in 1712. He became a naturalized British subject in 1727.

The people of England were getting tired of music in foreign languages and wanted works they could understand. In the summer of 1741, Handel received an invitation from the Lord Lieutenant in Dublin to compose a new sacred oratorio which would crown a series of performances. In July of 1741, Charles Jennens, a wealthy landowner with musical and literary interests sent Handel a new libretto for an oratorio and in a letter to a friend, dated July 10, 1741, Jennens wrote: “I hope Handel will lay out his whole Genius and Skill upon it, that the Composition may excell all his former Compositions, as the Subject excells every other subject; the subject is Messiah.” Handel began to compose the music on August 22, 1741 and September14, 1741 the entire oratorio was finished. At the end of the oratorio he penned the letters “SDG”, Soli Deo Gloria, “To God alone the glory”.

Rehearsals began for Messiah in March of 1742 and on April 13, 1742 Messiah was performed as a charitable performance in Dublin, Ireland. Word had spread about the music; therefore, expecting a large audience, the men were told not to wear their swords as was the custom at formal gatherings and the women were told to not wear the hoops in their dresses. Over 700 filled the hall for the first performance. Today, one can hear a performance of Messiah every year, not only at Christmas, but also around Easter. Handel died April 14, 1759 and is buried in Westminster Abbey, London, UK.

Chorus participation is encouraged and needed. Practice CD’s and scores are available. For further information, email

2017’s Sing was recorded by Isaac Protiva. Here’s a link to view the video.

2016’s Sing was recorded by Joshua Shirley, and is available here.

Sponsored by West Plains Council on the Arts, with partial funding provided by Missouri Arts Council, a state agency.