On Sunday, Dec. 8 at 2:30, the Owensboro Choral Society will present the 79th annual performance locally of Handel’s Messiah at Third Baptist Church. The first Owensboro performance was Dec. 7, 1941, the day Pearl Harbor was bombed. Since then, Messiah has become a tradition and is performed on a Sunday near the anniversary date of the bombing.
Directed by Dr. Connie Ford, Professor of Music at Owensboro Community and Technical College, the chorus is comprised of community members, some of which have been singing in this event since the 1960s.
The soprano soloist is Lesley Ferguson, an Owensboro native now living in Cincinnati. She holds a Bachelors in Vocal Performance from the University of Kentucky and a Masters in Vocal Performance from the University of Cincinnati-College Conservatory of Music. She has been an active soloist in theater productions and the concert stage.
The alto soloist is Emily Malone, also an Owensboro native. Emily is a graduate of Kentucky Wesleyan College with a Bachelors in Vocal Performance. She sings in the Owensboro Symphony Chorus and is currently President of Encore Musicals.
The tenor soloist is Jonathan Poland who earned a Bachelor of Music in Music Performance from Kentucky Wesleyan College and serves as Worship Leader at Heritage Baptist Church.
The bass soloist is Aaron Eaves who recently graduated from Westminster Choir College where he received a Master of Music in vocal performance and pedagogy. He earned an undergraduate degree from Kentucky Wesleyan College in Music Education. As a performer, he has sung principal opera roles in New Jersey, Croatia, Salzburg, and Prague. Most recently he performed the role of Il Conte from Le Nozze di Figaro with Prague Summer Nights. He continues to perform and audition for professional and educational engagements as well as teach voice to students.
The organist is James Wells, Director of Music at St. Stephen Cathedral, and the harpsichordist is local piano instructor Joyce Goodwin who is organist/pianist at First Baptist Church and accompanist for the Kentucky Youth Chorale. The chorus will also be accompanied by a thirteen piece orchestra.
The Messiah performance has maintained a long relationship with the Goodfellows of Owensboro and a free-will offering will be taken during the performance for their work in the community. Donations, also, to the Owensboro Choral Society will help ensure the continued performance of Handel’s Messiah in the Owensboro community.