Masterworks Choral to perform 'Messiah'

Charmain Z. Brackett/Correspondent
Dr. Joel Scraper, director of the Masterworks Chorale, conducts a rehearsal at the University of South Carolina Aiken. The chorale will perform Handel's Messiah on Saturday.

Although Mary Lou Moorehead has sung Handel's Messiah with the Masterworks Chorale at the University of South Carolina Aiken twice before, she's learning parts of it she has never sung before.

"I've never done the complete work before," said Ms. Moorehead, one of the original members of the group, which is celebrating its 10th anniversary this season.

Handel's Messiah consists of three parts. Most people are familiar with the first one, which is based on the Christmas story. The second part focuses on Christ's passion, resurrection and ascension, and the third is based on events in the biblical book of Revelation.

Written in 1741, it was first performed on April 13, 1742. Next year marks the 250th anniversary of Handel's death.

Dr. Joel Scraper said there are other elements that set the anniversary concert apart from others the chorale has performed.

"We have professional string players from Augusta and Columbia, and there are four soloists who have come from across the country," he said. "I'm very excited about this."

USC Aiken faculty member Isaac Holmes will be one of the featured soloists.

The concert will be at 7:30 p.m. Saturday at St. John's Untied Methodist Church in Aiken.

"This is a very special event. It won't happen again for a while," he said. "It's taken a lot of coordination."

For more information, call the USC Aiken box office at (803) 641-3305.

Reach Charmain Brackett at czbrackett@hotmail.com.