IN CHARGE: Richard Gill AOM, music educator and conductor.
IN CHARGE: Richard Gill AOM, music educator and conductor.

Choir of 150 people will perform The Messiah

MESSIAH, the English-language oratorio composed in 1741 by George Frideric Handel, will be performed in a two-hour event in Lismore in early December.

Eight choirs from Casino, Kyogle, Lismore, Mullumbimby, Sawtell and Canberra will meet up for a 150 strong vocal group to perform at the event.

Local choirs participating in the event will be Amatori from Mullumbimby, Semitones from Kyogle, One Voice Richmond Valley Community Choir from Casino, and Vox Caldera from Lismore.

The show will be directed by Australian conductor Richard James Gill AO, heading a line up that includes international singers Gaynor Morgan (soprano) and Hartley Newnham (countertenor) as soloists, plus the Lismore Symphony Orchestra.

With an orchestra of around 35 musicians, plus soloists, the final number of performers for this show will be close to 200.

Byron Music Society president, Nicholas Routley, said this will be one of the biggest music events in the Northern Rivers this year.

"It's not only the biggest event of the year for the Society. It will be the biggest classical music event of the year for the region, apart possibly for the Bangalow Music Festival, which is a chamber music festival," he said.

"The Bangalow Music Festival is possibly the highlight of the year, but this is the event with the biggest number of participants".

Mr Routley said the society has never attempted anything so big before.

"I thought that the region needs something very high profile about classical music," he said.

"I'm aware of the musical richness of this area, but mostly what is visible is rock, jazz, plus different strands of pop, Folk and indie music.

"People are less aware of the classical music that goes on here, which is actually quite a lot. With this event we are also trying to get people involved with classical music," he said.

Mr Routley said Lismore Symphony Orchestra will not be using Handel's original score of The Messiah.

"They will be using Mozart's score, which isn't played often, and we are doing that because Mozart added wind instruments, and the LSO has some very good wind instrument players. But also, with 150 singers, you need a stronger sound," he said.

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