Centre Choir and Orchestra presents Handel's Messiah

November 14, 2004

The Centre College Choir and Orchestra will present a full performance of Handel's Messiah at 8 p.m. Saturday in Newlin Hall at the Norton Center for the Arts.

Under the direction of Barbara L. Hall, Stodghill Professor of Music at Centre, the 55-member Centre College Choir will be joined by guest singers from the Centre College faculty and staff, and from the Danville community. Seven student instrumentalists will be joined by professional players from Lexington and Richmond.

Three student soloists - Katherine Foley, Catherine Naiser and Elizabeth Tammen - will join four professional soloists: Virginia Bowles (soprano), Bethany Stiles (mezzo soprano), Randall Black (tenor), and Corey Crider (bass).

Messiah, one of nearly 20 English oratorios written by Handel, has proven to be the most popular. In the 19th century it became almost a cult event itself, as performances involving literally thousands of musicians transformed the work into something Handel would have hardly recognized.


Hall says, "In the last several decades, study of Baroque performance traditions and styles have brought back the clarity of sound, dance-influenced rhythms, clear vocal colors, variety of choral textures, and clear relationship of text and music that make these works fresh, dramatic and appealing."

Black has won critical acclaim with orchestras and opera companies throughout the United States for his portrayals of roles and repertoire ranging from Monteverdi and Bach to Henze and Eaton. Black specializes in Baroque and 20th-century repertoire. Recent accomplishments include his European debut with a solo concert at St. Martin-in-the-Fields Church in London and the release of his first compact disc, An American Son: The Vocal Works of Joseph Baber, Vol. 1. Black is in his 19th year of teaching at Murray State University.

Bowles has toured throughout the United States and abroad, including a performance with the acclaimed John Oliver Chorale in Charles Ives' The Celestial Country. Bowles has sung with the Boston Symphony and in New York's Carnegie Hall under Seiji Ozawa, Colin Davis, Leonard Bernstein and Zubin Meta. Currently, Bowles performs as a soloist for the Lexington Chamber Chorale, and she is the vocal coordinator and an assistant professor of voice as Asbury College.

Corey Crider, a member of the artist diploma program in opera at the Cincinnati Conservatory of Music, has performed concert works varying from Beethoven to Handel and Brahms to Stravinsky. He has appeared with the Paducah Symphony Orchestra and the Aspen Music Festival Chamber Orchestra, as well as with several churches in the Central Kentucky area. In April 2002, Crider sang on the stage of the Metropolitan Opera as a national semi-finalist in the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions.

Stiles is a voice performance senior at the University of Kentucky. She has been active in opera theater at UK and recently was cast as Suzuki in Puccini's Madama Butterfly, which opens in February. She also has appeared as Marcellina in Le Nozze di Figaro. She has performed roles in Weill's Street Scene and Menotti's Amahl and the Night Visitors. Stiles appeared during the last four years in UK's Stars of Tomorrow Opera Gala.

Tickets can be purchased at the Norton Center box office or by calling (859) 236-4692.

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