Enjoy a free holiday classic performance of 'Messiah'

  • Friday, December 14, 2012

The sacred oratorio, Messiah, by George Frideric Handel will be presented this weekend, in the Winyah Auditorium by The Elsie Blackwell Pollock Festival Choir.
Bring family and friends to enjoy this very special community presentation to hear again the familiar and classic work honoring Elsie Blackwell Pollock for her long-time commitment to the arts in Georgetown County.
The performance will be at 4 p.m. on Sunday, Dec. 16, at Winyah Auditorium in Georgetown.
It is free and open to the public.
The well-known oratorio was composed in 1741 by Handel with the libretto, solely based on Scripture, by Charles Jennens.
It was first performed in Dublin on April 13, 1742, and received its London premiere nearly a year later. After an initially modest public reception, the oratorio gained in popularity, eventually becoming one of the best-known and most frequently performed choral works in Western music.
Georgetown has an interesting connection to Messiah. Tradition has it that King George II, for whom Georgetown County is named, attended the London premiere of Messiah in March of 1743.
He was so moved by the “Hallelujah’’ Chorus that he stood up — and if the king stands, everybody stands.
So, when we stand for the Hallelujah Chorus in Georgetown County, we are honoring the majesty of the music but also honoring the tradition begun by the monarch for whom our county was named.
Georgetown County’s annual presentation of Messiah was begun at Prince George Winyah Episcopal Church in 1965 by then Organist/Choirmaster Elsie Blackwell Pollock.
There was a brief hiatus of the performance in the late 1980’s when the Pollocks left Georgetown for New Bern, North Carolina for a brief time.
After returning to Georgetown in the early 1990s, the annual performance of Messiah resumed.
After Pollock retired from her position at Prince George in 2005, she became director of the choirs at Holy Cross Faith Memorial Episcopal Church in Pawleys Island. Messiah was again part of her annual gift to the community.
Mrs. Pollock decided that the 2011 performance Messiah would be her last.
She asked her former student and colleague, Thom Martin, director of music at Georgetown Presbyterian Church and Artistic Director of Indigo Choral Society, to take the responsibility of continuing Messiah in Georgetown County.
Martin’s solution was to form The Elsie Blackwell Pollock Festival Choir.
The choir’s purpose is to continue the annual performance of Messiah in Georgetown County which was begun by Mrs. Pollock and to perpetuate her legacy of enriching the cultural life of the community.
A committee, made up of Dr. and Mrs. Jerry Crosby, Brian Monroe, Michael Guiliani and Martin was formed to take up the task, with Martin and Guiliani acting as co-artistic directors.
The result is this years presentation of Messiah at the Winyah Auditorium this Sunday.
The Festival Choir is formed by Prince George Church, Georgetown Presbyterian Church, and Holy Cross Faith Memorial Episcopal Church and will be under the direction of Mr. Michael Scott Giuliani, director of music at Prince George Church.
Mr. Giuliani and his family moved to Georgetown from the “windy city” of Chicago in August of this year.  
He holds a degree in piano performance from North Park University where he studied with Chicago Symphony Orchestra and Chorus pianist, Dr. Terree Shofner-Emrich, as well as choral composer and clinician, Dr. Rollo Dilworth.  
His wife, Agnes (B.M. Violin Performance, Belmont University), will also be involved in this performance as concertmaster of the accompanying chamber orchestra.
The Chamber Orchestra will be made up of string players from Charlottesville, Va., Asheville, N.C., and the South Carolina Governor’s School for the Arts and Humanities.
The soprano soloist is Dr. Patti Edwards, professor of voice at Coastal Carolina University.
The alto soloist is Annette Medlin, former Georgetown County Chamber of Commerce director.  Jeremy Vause, a prominent local musician will be the tenor soloist.
Brian Monroe, organist/choirmaster at Holy Cross Faith Memorial, is the bass soloist.

— Submitted by The Elsie Blackwell

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