Defiance College to host 41st annual performance of Handel’s ‘Messiah’

November 29, 2012


DEFIANCE, Ohio – The 41st annual Defiance College community performance of Handel’s “Messiah” on Sunday, Dec. 9, at 7:30 p.m. in St. John United Church of Christ, will once again provide an inspirational opportunity for area residents to begin their holiday season.

While the tradition is almost 90 years in age, 38 consecutive performances were led with the late Dr. Richard Stroede holding the baton. He revived the tradition in 1974, initially performing the Christmas section and singing from the balcony of the church with organist Carolyn Small.  Dr. Stroede’s final performance was in 2009, just months before his untimely death. From the original 30 singers, the group quickly grew and was moved to the front of the sanctuary and now includes more 80 singers. This is the third year that the performance will be conducted by Andrew Schultz, director of music programs at Defiance College.

“Messiah” is one of the most popular pieces in all of the world’s choral literature. The work was composed in the summer of 1741 and first performed in Dublin on April 13, 1742. It was first intended to be performed in a secular theater during Lent, though it is now usually performed during Advent. And the work is frequently done in churches, as is the case in the Defiance performance. In many cases only the Christmas section is performed, with the addition of “Hallelujah,” though full performances are frequently found. In the Defiance performance, the entire Christmas section is included prior to intermission, with the selections from the later section following.

The event is free and open to the public. A free-will offering will be taken at the end of the performance. Those wishing to make additional contributions to this performance may mail a check payable to Defiance College, to Andrew Schultz, director of music programs, Defiance College, 701 N. Clinton St., Defiance, OH 43512

Conducted by Schultz, the chorus includes DC student sopranos; Michelle Bulriss, Tempe, Ariz.; Bria Double, Lyons; Lindsay Kasmer , Medina; Emily Wallace, Delphos; altos Sara Culler, Farmer; Megan Puehler and Michelle Puehler, Defiance; Alison Rifenburgh, Bronson, Mich.; Kayla Uscilowski, Maumee; and basses David Brown, Columbus, and George Roth, Defiance.

Community chorus members also include sopranos Janice Cain, Anne Clark, Jennifer Connor, Bonnie Eddy, Cheryl Farley, Rebekah Font, Julie Fritz-Bergman, Anita Galbraith, Janice Johansen, Juli Kunesh, Janet Lyne, Nickola Maccubbin, Shellee Murcko, Marian Plant, Nina Rivera, and Anna Yoder.

Altos includeJan Bechtel, Marie Bungard, Jan Cromly, Anne Gordon, Marian Kauffman, Pam Lightle, Sandra Lugbill, Cindy Mack, Viola Manz, Laura Rath Connor, Alison Rifenburgh, Kjene Seibert, Barbara Sprow Kieffer, Candace Stoffel, Katharine Stottlemyer, Rebekah Stottlemyer, and Sarah Stottlemyer

Tenors include Jerry Bergman, Lynn Bergman, Don Knueve, Alton Myers, Mike Nix, Tim Rettig, Randy Schroeder, Karen Stevenson, David Stuckey, and John Trautman.

Basses include Robert Barnett, Ned Clark, Dave Connor, DeVante Draine, Ron Jinks, Jeff Hahn, Jerry Lugbill, Jeff Mack, John Mitchell, Dan Nutter, Dave Perkins, Randy Ridley, Petter Rupp, Fred Schultz, Eric Spiller and William Warren

Orchestra members includeJudy Dally and Nancy Gallahue, flute; Frank D’Ambrosia, clarinet; Jim Gallahue and Barbara Sedlock, bassoon; Tom Sieberg, Virgil Lupu and Dana Mader, violin I; Alice Petersen, Randy Workman and Diane Kent, violin II; Philip Stoll and Susan Schreiber, viola; Jim Anderson and Elizabeth Hamaker, cello; Aaron Keaster, bass; Lori Bitz, trumpet; and Carolyn Small, harpsichord.

Defiance College, chartered in 1850, is an independent, liberal arts institution in Northwest Ohio offering more than 40 undergraduate programs of study as well as graduate programs in education and business. Defiance College has received national recognition for its educational experience of service and engagement. The college website is