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'Hallelujah, Hallelujah ...'

The Jamestown High School Choir and Orchestra, along with community members, will perform Handel’s “Messiah” at 7:30 p.m. today.

If you go

What: Handel's "Messiah," featuring Jamestown High School Choir and Orchestra, University of Jamestown students and community members

When: 7:30 p.m. Monday, Dec. 18

Where: Jamestown High School Auditorium, 1509 10th St. NE

Admission: Free

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Brittany Heim has been on both sides of the effort that makes the once-every-two-years performance of Handel's "Messiah" a success in Jamestown.

Heim played piano when she was a student at Jamestown High School with the high school orchestra. She performed with the orchestra twice when it took part in Handel's "Messiah."

Now she is out of high school and is singing as a community when the community recital takes place starting at 7:30 p.m. today at Jamestown High School.

"I was in one of the first classes in high school to be part of the community performance of the 'Messiah,'" she said.

Heim said one of the things that keeps bringing her back to perform the Christmas favorite every two years is the chance to be part of a community event that celebrates the level of musical talent that exists in the Jamestown area.

"There is strong support for music in the community," she said. "I also get to meet new people and it's fun being part of this performance."

Mark Sherfy is one of the community members who sings the bass part of the "Messiah." He said this will be his fourth or fifth time being part of the community performance. He first performed the classical work when he was in high school.

"You know, decades and decades ago," he said, laughing.

Sherfy said he is a member of the Jamestown Choralaires and he looks forward to the community performance of Handel's "Messiah" every two years.

"It's great music," he said. "It's something you associate with the Christmas season and it's fun to participate in a community choir."

Sherfy said he, like Heim, feels fortunate to be part of a community that can put together a group capable of performing music as challenging as the "Messiah."

"It's very difficult music," he said. "It is challenging, it's not something you can just pick up and learn quickly. It takes some practice, it takes some time."

Sherfy said he also enjoys performing with his fellow singers and musicians from the community.

"One of the things I really enjoy about this is singing in a group of mixed voices," he said. "It's great having the opportunity to sing in a choir with men and women, young and old, and singing with an orchestra."

Michelle Weatherly was also part of the Jamestown High School Choir when the first combined community-high school performance of the "Messiah" was performed sometime in the 1990s. This will be her first time singing the "Messiah" as a member of the community chorus.

"I have the advantage of having the soprano part, which is the part that everyone hears," she said. "It's like riding a bike, it comes back to you."

Cheryl McIntyre, JHS director of choir, and Jennifer Michalenko, JHS orchestra director, will lead about 200 performers for the Handel's "Messiah" part of the concert. There will be 120 high school students, about 20 University of Jamestown students and 60 or so community members on stage for the performance Monday. Soloists for the "Messiah" are Jace Erickson, a JHS alumnus, along with JHS students Emma Bennett, Sarah Azure, Ashlyn Wells, Alivia Hoke and Samara McDermid. The JHS Choir and JHS Orchestra will each perform music before the "Messiah" performance.

Chris Olson

Hometown: Traverse City, MI College: Northwestern Michigan College and Michigan State University

(701) 952-8454
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