Friday night I went to the Messiah Sing-in at the American Fork Tabernacle. This is my personal Christmas tradition. The years in Korea on our mission I would have my own personal "sing-in" by listening to the CD and singing along with the choruses. My "home court" for the Messiah Sing-in is the Provo Tabernacle, but I missed it when I was in New York last weekend. I've also been to the one in Abravanel Hall with the Utah Symphony, but I still prefer the Provo Tabernacle. It might be the gothic windows and the garland and wreaths decorating the hall. But I digress . . .
I LOVE Handel's Messiah, and that love is gift bestowed on me by several people. First, Mrs. Jay, my junior high chorus teacher. She taught us to sing the "Hallelujah Chorus" and I have loved it ever since. In fact, our audition choir sang it in a state festival and received an "excellent" rating.
When we lived in Seoul, Korea in the 80's, our Yongsan Branch was rife with musical talent. For Christmas and Easter Sunday sacrament meetings our ward choir sang numbers from the Messiah. The rehearsing and subsequent performances of choruses from the Messiah made the music "mine" as I learned and memorized the words and melodies. I specifically remember when Greg Hill was our choir director and he explained about the symbolism of the music matching the words in the chorus "All We Like Sheep." During that time there was also a Christmas sacrament meeting when Mark Peterson gave a talk about George Frederick Handel and the story of his life and the process that brought him to write "The Messiah."
I also am indebted to Michael McLean who wrote "The Forgotten Carols." One of his forgotten carols, "Handel's Dream" is a tribute to Handel and the music he has shared with the world. Handel also wrote the Christmas carol "Joy to the World."
I don't have a great voice, certainly not a solo voice, but I love to sing with a choir. At a Messiah Sing-in they have an orchestra and soloists, but the entire audience is invited to sing along with the choruses. And it doesn't matter what kind of voice you have because you feel like you're just part of this amazing choir singing praises to God.