— On Dec. 11, the community is invited to New Creation Church of God, G-3472 Lennon Rd., for a presentation of Handel’s Messiah
at 7:30 p.m.
The performance, which is comprised of more than 100 people, includes performances by four soloists: coloratura soprano Alaina Brown from the Metropolitan Church of God in Detroit; mezzo soprano Leah Downs of Madison Heights; tenor Carl Montrosse from the University of Michigan-Flint; and bass soloist David Arrowood of Flint Township. The production also features harpsichord, chamber orchestra and full chorus.
The church’s production of Messiah
is conducted by Linden resident Ellsworth Jackson, director of music at New Creation Church of God. Jackson has a long history with Handel’s masterpiece. He has been conducting Messiah
since 1978, and has taken the piece with him as he has traveled to different churches in Genesee County.
“As a college project, I fell in love with Messiah
and I’ve just taken it with me from church to church,” Jackson said. “It’s a very good training tool because the voice is properly prepared for other works. It’s not an easy work to do.”
The history of Handel’s Messiah
dates back to its first performance in 1742 in Dublin, Ireland. Since then, the piece “has been done annually somewhere in the world,” said Arrowood, who has been the bass soloist since the mid-90s and serves on the Messiah
committee. “It’s been embraced by both academic and religious sides. It’s a tradition we’ve adhered to at New Creation.”
Although it is held at the church, members of the performance come from all over Genesee County and beyond.
Downs, a native of Swartz Creek, has been singing for all her life, including in the choir at Swartz Creek High School. She has been singing in the Messiah performance since she was 12.
“It’s a tradition,” Downs said. “My grandparents sang in it, my parents sang in it. It’s a good way for my family and church family to reconnect for the holiday season and remember what Christmas is all about.”
For her solo, Downs was handpicked, and took piano and voice lessons from Jackson since she was seven. “He’s part of the family,” she said of Jackson, who still teaches piano, organ and voice.
When it comes to her upcoming performance, Downs expressed her gratitude to Jared Leuck, her former choir director at Swartz Creek High School.
“He gave me a great foundation to do all of this,” she said.
There is no charge to attend the performance, but an offering will be taken. Details: Call the church at 810-732-0500.