Ford directing ‘Messiah’, OCTC chorus concert

November 11, 2018 | 3:00 am

Updated November 10, 2018 | 7:38 pm

Dr. Connie Ford will direct two holiday season concerts this year. | Photo by AP Imagery

On the 200th anniversary of its inception, George Frideric Handel’s “Messiah” was performed by local musicians for the first time in Owensboro, Kentucky, on December 7, 1941. This year, The Messiah will be performed for its seventy-eighth year in Owensboro on Sunday, Dec. 2 at 2:30 p.m. at Third Baptist Church.

Dr. Connie Ford, professor of music at Owensboro Community and Technical College and director of the Owensboro Choral Society, has directed “Messiah” for the past seven years.

Because of the first local performance of Messiah in 1941, the Owensboro Choral Society formed and continued to practice and perform each year.

Sixty-five voices from across the county comprise the Owensboro Choral Society. Emily Malone, president of Encore Musicals, has performed in this ensemble for approximately fifteen years. This year, she is featured as the alto soloist.

“The first soprano soloist was my first voice teacher, Lesley (Wigginton) Ferguson,” Malone said. “Singing with her is my highlight of the event every year.”

“The group has different people every time, but there is a core group that seems to remain the same,” Malone shared. “There’s a reason people come back to sing, year after year. They love Connie!”

Ford studied music at the University of Kentucky as an undergraduate before going on to complete her graduate and doctoral work at Indiana University. She has been directing choirs across the state of Kentucky for over forty years, and in 1986, Ford began teaching music at Owensboro Community and Technical College and was responsible for creating the OCTC Chorus the same year.

Handel’s “Messiah” is one of Dr. Ford’s favorite pieces to direct.

“It is Handel’s most famous work and a glorious piece to perform whenever,” Ford said.

According to the Encyclopedia Britannica online, “Messiah” is comprised of three parts, each relating to specific parts of the Bible: Old Testament prophecies of the Messiah’s birth; New Testament stories of the birth of Christ, his death, and his resurrection; and verses related to Judgment Day and the book of Revelation.

In its entirety, there are fifty-three different movements within the full piece. While the Owensboro Choral Society does not perform the full oratorio, they select relevant and popular selections for each performance.

“We always do the Christmas portion, which includes the overture,” Ford said. “We pick pieces from the oratorio that keep with the advent of Christmas season. It’s a very fine work. You never tire of it because there’s always something new to find.”

Performance donations completely benefit the Goodfellows Club of Owensboro.

To support the Owensboro Choral Society, donations are accepted by the assistant treasurer, Bonnie Bittel at   Owensboro Choral Society 7490 Highway 56 Owensboro, KY 42301.

Can’t make it to “Messiah”? The thirty-second annual OCTC Chorus concert is the following evening, Monday, Dec. 3 at 7:30 p.m. at First Christian Church.

November 11, 2018 | 3:00 am

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