More than 400 take in 'Messiah' Monday

Tuesday, March 30, 2010
Baritone Jacob Alexander sings solo Monday as the Southeast Symphony Orchestra opens with "Avante de quitter ces lieux" from the opera "Faust" during its opening night performance of Handel's "Messiah: Easter Portion" in the Bedell Performance Hall at Southeast Missouri State University's River Campus. The orchestra will have an encore performance at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday. (LAURA SIMON)

Monday night, the Southeast Missouri Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Sara Edgerton, shared the stage with Southeast's University Choir and Choral Union, conducted by Steve Hendricks, as they performed Handel's "Messiah: Easter Portion." This timely performance also featured the winners of Southeast's Concerto and Aria competition.

The evening began with the featured performances, starting with Concerto in E Flat Major for Trumpet and String Orchestra performed by Southeast graduate student Brooke Privett of Kennett, Mo.

Southeast junior and baritone Jacon Alexander took the stage performing "Avant de quitter ces lieux" from the opera "Faust." Peformed in French, this piece relates the thoughts of a man as he prepares for battle, thinking of his sister and praying for bravery in combat.

The final student performance was from Cory Simonavice, also a junior at Southeast. His marimba performance of Concertino for Marimba and Orchestra was an addition to the traditional string sound of an orchestra performance, and was blended with the woodwinds, flutes and French horns to create a nice transition.

After a 10-minute intermission for the crowd of more than 400 people, the orchestra and chorus took the stage.

The "Messiah" is enjoyed not only as a great composition but also as part of the celebration of Easter. With the combination of the chorus and the orchestra, the performance becomes a story. Soloists performed throughout the piece, and there was a brief pause between two parts. "The Handel 'Messiah' lasts for, maybe, around 50 minutes, so it's a long stretch," said Edgerton during the first intermission. The brief pause, she explained, allows the audience members time to stretch their legs.

Soloists throughout the "Messiah" performance included contralto Leslie Jones, tenor Christopher Goeke, bass-baritone Timothy Schmidt and soprano Lori Schaffer.

After the Christmas performance of "Messiah" nearly sold out, it was decided that the spring concert would be held over two nights to accommodate everyone who wanted to attend.

Those who missed Monday night's performance can see the program performed again tonight at the Bedell Performance Hall on Southeast Missouri State University's River Campus. Tickets are available at the River Campus box office from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., or call 651-2265. Tickets are also available for purchase until the start of the performance.

Pertinent address

518 S. Fountain St., Cape Girardeau, MO

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