“Winter Wonderland” and “Feliz Navidad” aren’t the only songs students will be singing this season. The Handel’s Messiah sing-along is a free event for all in the JSB Auditorium on Dec. 10 from 7 to 8 p.m.
Lowell Smith, a second-year MBA students who is the event organizer and manager, explains that “Messiah” sing-alongs are a tradition in many communities around this time of year and that this opportunity is meant to help students relax before finals.
“We want to help students unwind before finals while enjoying an activity they may not normally have access to at BYU,” Smith said. “We will sing through almost all the choral numbers from Handel’s ‘Messiah’ in one hour. … We hope that singers and non-singers alike will be feel the Christmas spirit and that it will be a great start to their holiday season.”
Students, family and faculty are invited to attend no matter what their familiarity to the Baroque composer’s masterpiece is.
“You do not have to be familiar with the music to attend, although it will help,” Smith said. “Sing-alongs typically ask people to bring their own music, or they provide copies. We want to try something different and innovative. The music and lyrics will be scrolling along on the large auditorium screen for everybody to view. Because we are all busy students, this year we are singing along to a pre-recorded version. Interspersed with a few songs will be video clips from the Savior’s life.”
The MBA Student Association and the MBA Spouse Association are sponsoring this event, which is being held for the second year in a row.
“I imagine that some people are surprised to see MBA students interested in creating a community ‘Messiah’ sing-along,” Smith said. “We love BYU and hope this is a great evening for the community.”
Olivia Hutchinson, professional opera singer from Novato, Calif., and graduate of the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, says that singing pieces from “The Messiah” can be quite emotional. Prior familiarity with the oratorio can contribute to the singer’s experience but is not crucial at a sing-along, according to Hutchinson.
“Whether it’s from the stage or the audience, singing ‘The Messiah’ is an overwhelmingly beautiful experience for me,” Hutchinson said. “Handel chose inspired verses about the Savior and set them masterfully. I can’t sing this piece without getting goosebumps and feeling the Spirit intensely. Any amount of preparation you do beforehand will add to the experience (including) listening to the music at home, buying the score and picking out your notes at home, taking a ‘Messiah’ prep class. But frankly if all you do is show up, soak it all in and belt out the “Hallelujah Chorus” with everybody at the end you’ll still have an amazing time.”