Annual performance of 'Messiah' Dec. 10

Annual performance of 'Messiah' Dec. 10



By Chris Deback



Annual performance of ‘Messiah’ Dec. 10 


Chris DeBack


The 76th annual local performance of George Handel's “Messiah” will be presented at 7 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 10, at United Methodist Church in West Union. 

Since the beginning of November, local performers from around the area have been gathering at the church on the weekend to practice for the performance. 

This year, the performance will have a number of newcomers, including Doris Pfister Thompson, Margaret Yackel-Juleen, Mark Pittman, Kara Bushman, Lisa Leuth, Steve Carlson, Tom Strauss, Jeremiah Bicknese, and Jon Thompson, among others. 

A family tradition for Aaron and Karla Bicknese of Elgin, Jeremiah is excited to help carry on that tradition as the third child in the family to sing in “Messiah.” Aaron’s father, Wayne Bicknese, and two older children have also performed in the local production. 

“I have listened to [‘Messiah’] a lot while growing up, which has made it easier to sing,” Jeremiah said. “It is an excellent piece of music, and with the unity of the four [musical] sections, it’s really beautiful. 

Another newcomer, Tom Strauss of Elkader, attended last year’s performance and wanted to be a part of this special tradition. 

“I remember in 1964 when I was in high school, I was in an honor choir that sang some of the songs, and in college I was able to sing more of them,” he explained. “Last year, I came to listen, and my heart just said, ‘I want to be up there.’ So I said, ‘Okay, I am going to make the commitment.’ For me, Mr. Handel wrote this whole thing in a matter of 18 days, and it had to be inspired by God. It’s so beautiful and harmonically intertwined. The beauty of it is a glimpse of what heaven will be like. I just want to sing to the best of my ability and to give God honor and credit.”

Soloists for this year include Isaiah Stansbery, Douglas Poppen, Leslie Poppen, Sam Poppen, Lily Poppen, Craig Moss, Carol Jensen, Benjamin Friedrich, Jon Thompson, Kimberly Pont, Zoey Frey, Faith Johnston, Barbara Bowers, Mallory Hanson, and John Falb. 

This will be the first time that all four members of the Poppen family will be soloists in the same production of the annual event. 

Participants in “Messiah” have their dress rehearsal on Saturday, Dec. 10. Soloists will perform at 9 a.m., and the chorus will perform at 10 a.m.

Those who attend the annual performance will be invited to join the chorus and orchestra in the Fellowship Hall for refreshments following the performance.

This year’s performance will be available for viewing on West Union’s local access channel at the following times: 10 a.m. Thursday, Dec. 14, and 1 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 21 and Dec. 26.

For more information on the final rehearsal, please contact Barb Bowers at (563) 380-0095.



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