The Sunday afternoon MESSIAH concert provided a rare Festival Chorale “full-house,” every ticket sold, every seat occupied for the he second of the two concerts held at the Lander University Cultural Center. In this larger venue, over 750 packed the house for the second performance during the weekend. Both the Friday night concert in Clinton and the Greenwood concert brought an enthusiastic audience response and for many provided an early start for the Christmas season. The Palmetto Chambers Orchestra of 20 members provided rich Baroque sounds of harpsichord, violins, woodwinds and brass , symbolic of this Baroque era.
For this performance, part I was conducted by Dr. Chuck Neufeld; and parts II and III were conducted by Dr. Marion Smith. The local sponsoring choral organizations provided a total of 150 voices. The Lander University Singers, the Laurens County Chorale, the Greenwood Festival Chorale and the Chancel Choir of the First Baptist Church in Greenwood sponsored the productions. For a full list of participants and musicians, see the scanned program information. “The New Novello Choral Edition (Shaw)” provided the scores.
This concert was special in providing an extended version of the George Frederic Handel Oratorio normally performed in this area in an abbreviated format. This added several new choral offerings from the popular oratorio many regular performers and members of the audience may not have found as familiar. The stage was filled with instruments and singers reenacting sounds familiar to the Baroque period. It had been several years since a mass choir of this magnitude had performed Handel’s MESSIAH in this area. Many of the University Singers had not previously been exposed to this Oratorio. Their strong quality voices and accuracy of musical interpretation added much to the overall quality of the production.
Photos below show the large number of singers and orchestra members on the stage “making magic” for the attentive audience. (Photos below were provided by Butch Moore on a volunteer basis. His organization regularly captures the audio for all Greenwood Festival Chorale concerts and provides a CD audio record for participants. He did a quality double-duty in capturing these photos, as well, you are welcome to download and copy as you wish. The order form for the audio CD is available for participants and their families. Click here for more information.)