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Holiday Music in Classic Handel Style

The NDSU Challey School of Music will be performing Handel’s Messiah for the 13th year under the direction of Jo Ann Miller, Baroque Festival music director.

Each year, the NDSU Concert Choir, the Madrigal Singers, the University Chamber Singers, Cantemus, The Statesmen of NDSU and The Baroque Festival Orchestra collaborate to perform Handel’s monumental piece. The groups have been rehearsing since mid-October for the annual performance.

In addition to the full emsemble, Miller said there are 10 student soloists and three faculty soloists. Throughout the show, the songs alternate between the full ensemble singing to solo performances.

“The exciting thing about it is that it changes quickly,” Miller said. ” … it’s all very fast-moving, so it keeps your interest.”

Although the group performs this annually, the performance differs year-to-year. Miller tailors the selections to the soloists and the voice distribution in each of the groups. She selects songs from each of the piece’s three movements.

“Sometimes I choose by what soloists there are … all about the pacing of the piece,” she said.

Miller also emphasized the popularity of Handel’s Messiah. She said the students always enjoy singing it. One of the graduate students will be performing it for the seventh time in his time here at NDSU.

“We don’t get tired of it,” she said. ” … It’s just beautiful music.”

As the biggest choral event of the year, members of the community are also involved. The orchestra is mainly composed of members of the Fargo-Moorhead Symphony Orchestra, as well as other community members. Miller said students occasionally join the wind sections as well.

The timeless work has been performed year after year all around the world since its premiere in Dublin, Ireland, in 1742.

“It really is a phenomenon in the choral world and in the classical music world. There’s really nothing like this piece that’s done over and over and over and over,” Miller said, “There’s nothing really like this.”

Last Saturday the group performed the show at St. Mark’s Episcopal Cathedral in Minneapolis, Minn. This is the first year they have performed in this venue. Miller said they chose to travel to Minneapolis because many of the students are from the Twin Cities area, as well as the large alumni population in the area.

For those unable to attend in person, there will be a live stream of the performance available online at


WHEN: 2 p.m. Sunday
WHERE: Festival Concert Hall
PRICE: Free for students
MORE INFO: 701-231-7969

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