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Defiance College to host 43rd annual performance of Handel’s ‘Messiah’

December 4, 2014


DEFIANCE, Ohio - The 43rd annual Defiance College community performance of Handel’s “Messiah” on Sunday, Dec. 14, at 7 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 than 80 singers. This is the fifth 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 Lindsay Kasmer, Medina, and Emily Wallace, Delphos; altos Mandie Heil, Napoleon; Megan Puehler, Defiance; Claire Turner, Medina; and bass Will Ploughe, Bryan.

Community chorus members also include sopranos Barbara Buchanan, Janice Cain, Jennifer Connor, Carissa Diller, Bonnie Eddy, Julie Fritz-Bergman, Margaret Hogan, Janice Johansen, Juli Kunesh, Janet Lyne, Melissa Maassel, Pat Maassel, Shellee Murcko, Linda Payne, Marian R. Plant, Katie Spangler and Anna Yoder.

Altos include Diana Bauer, Mary Born, Bridget Connor Oberlin, Ann Culver, Jan Craig, Cathy Frastaci, Anne Gordon, Deb Guilford, Tina Hiler, Mariah Hogan, Adriana Lopez, Viola Manz, Sally Myers, Christa Perry, Laura Rath Connor, Jenee Seibert, Ann Small, Robyn Small, Kristin Sorensen, Candace Stoffel and Kristin Wendell.

Tenors include Jerry Bergman, Lynn Bergman, Jeffrey Bischoff, Ken Jackman, Don Knueve, Garrett Leininger, Alton Myers, Randy Schroeder, David Stuckey and John Trautman.

Basses include Robert Barnett, David Connor, Floyd Culver, Andrew Drewes, Ron Jinks, John Mitchell, Dave Perkins, Eric Spiller and Bill Warren.

Orchestra members include Judy Dally and Nancy Gallahue, flute; Frank D’Ambrosia and Rose Dockery, clarinet; Jim Gallahue and Barbara Sedlock, bassoon; Carmen Martin, Rita Lammers and Virgil Lupu, violin I; Alice Petersen, Randy Workman and Heather Bixler, violin II; Philip Stoll and Susan Schreiber, viola; Damon Coleman and Jim Anderson, 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