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Getting a Handel
by Emily Gibson
12/17/08
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One small town
Containing more churches than banks,

A ninety year old choral society
With a Christmas tradition of singing Handel's Messiah,

Sixty-some enthusiastic singers recruited without auditions
Through church bulletin announcements

Farmers, store clerks, machinists, students
Middle schoolers to senior citizens

Gather in an unheated church for six weeks of rehearsal
To perform one man's great gift to sacred music.

Handel, given a libretto, commissioned to compose,
Isolated himself for 24 days, barely ate or slept

Believed himself confronted by all heaven itself
To see the face of God,

And so created overture, symphony, arias, oratorios
Soaring, interwoven themes repeating, resounding

With despair, mourning, anticipation
Renewal, redemption, restoration, triumph.

Delicate appoggiaturas and melismata
Of astounding complexity and intricacy.

A tapestry of sound and sensation unparalleled
To be shouted from the soul, wrung from the heart.

This group of rural people gathers to join voices
Honoring faith foretold, realized, proclaimed.

Ably led by a forgiving director with a sense of humor
And a nimble organist with flying feet and fingers.

The sopranos lilt with angel song,
The altos provide steadfast support,

The tenors echo plaintive prophecy
The base voices full and resonant.

A violinist paints heaven-sent refrain
In parallel duet of counterpoint melody.

The audience sits, eyes closed
As if in oft repeated familiar prayer.

The sanctuary overflows
With thankfulness:

Glory to God! For unto us a Child is born
And all the people, whether singers or listeners, will be comforted.

If you died today, are you absolutely certain that you would go to heaven? You can be! TRUST JESUS NOW

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Member Comments
Member Date
LauraLee Shaw 26 Dec 2008
This article was chosen to be highlighted in the “Cheering Section” of the Faithwriters’ Message Boards. Congratulations! Click here to see yours and the others that were selected this week: General Submissions JEWEL CHEST
Verna Cole Mitchell  21 Dec 2008
beautiful!
Catrina Bradley  17 Dec 2008
Lovely! I especially like this line: A tapestry of sound and sensation unparalleled To be shouted from the soul, wrung from the heart. What a perfect description of Handel's Christmas masterpiece.
Lesley-Anne Evans 17 Dec 2008
Wow! This takes my breath away, both in the reading and in the considering of this awesome 'performance' of one of my most loved pieces of classical music. Were you part of this ensemble of interesting peopleÉ did you observe thisÉ did you imagine thisÉ whatever your part, the words you use to describe it draw me in and leave me - breathless! Thank you for your gift and for sharing it. Merry Christmas every one, Lesley-Anne




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