Keeping a 300-year-old tradition, the audience rises as director Dennis Roberts, the orchestra and the choir perform the Hallelujah Chorus section of Handel’s “Messiah” at the United Methodist Church in 2007. While no one is sure exactly how this tradition began, King George II reportedly attended the London premiere of “Messiah’’ in March 1743 and was so moved by the “Hallelujah Chorus’’ that he stood up — and if the king stands, well, everybody else stands, too. File photo
For many years, Dennis Roberts conducted George Frideric Handel’s “Messiah” during the holidays at the United Methodist Church in Susanville — the last time was nearly a decade ago.
Now, Roberts is seeking at least 60 singers for a production of one of the holiday’s most moving and beloved musical offerings at this year’s Susanville Symphony’s Christmas concert held Dec. 14 and Dec. 15 at the Assembly of God Church.
“I’m trying to see how much interest there is among singers in the community,” Roberts said.
Roberts said the production would feature Mozart’s score, which many classical music affeciandos believe is more interesting than Handel’s original score.
The “Messiah” is an English-language oratorio composed by Handel in 1741. It received a modest response at the time, but over the centuries has become a standard offering during the holidays.
Roberts plans to schedule about five rehearsals for community members who have performed the “Messiah” before, and about 10 rehearsals for first-time performers.