Masterworks Chorale Performs Handel's Messiah

The Masterworks Chorale, the Eastern Panhandle's premiere vocal ensemble, under the direction of Dr. Erik Reid Jones, will present Georg Frideric Handel's Messiah, with full orchestra and soloists, on Saturday, November 6 at 8:00 p.m. at St. James Catholic Church in Charles Town, and on Sunday, November 7 at 7:00 p.m. at the Frank Arts Center Theater in Shepherdstown as part of the Friends of Music Concert Series.

Messiah is not only one of the most popular works in the entire Western choral literature, it is considered to be one of the greatest works in music history-the very fruit of Handel's genius. Its story is taken entirely from the King James and Great Bibles, and today a Messiah performance is a not-to-be-missed Christmastime tradition around the world.

Featured soloists in this Masterworks production of Messiah are sopranos VanChessca Allen, Christine Boudreaux, Jaely Chamberlain and Lawren Hill, mezzo-soprano Alisa Mills, altos Lauren Frick and Naomi Lockley, tenors David Miranda and Austin Showen, baritone Matthew Lincoln-Bugg, and bass Scott Donaldson. All are outstanding Shepherd University music majors.

Music director, Dr. Erik Reid Jones, is the Director of Choral and Vocal Activities at Shepherd University in Shepherdstown, West Virginia, and founder and artistic director of the Master Singers of Virginia. He received his Bachelor of Music degree summa cum laude in vocal music education at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, his Master of Music degree in choral conducting at the University of Cincinnati, and his doctoral degree in choral conducting at the University of Maryland at College Park. Locally, he has taught at Shenandoah Conservatory, Harford Community College, and the University of Maryland. While his conducting takes him all over the Washington, DC region performing music from medieval times onward, he has a particular love for a cappella choral music of the 20th and 21st centuries. Dr. Jones is a published author and an avid choral composer, with over twenty works to his credit, most of which have been premiered by the Master Singers.

The Masterworks Chorale, a vocal ensemble with over 100 singers, comprised of Shepherd University vocal students and members from the surrounding community, presents two full-length productions per year of great masterpieces from the choral literature as well as appearances at the Annual Holiday Gala Concert.

General admission for the Handel's Messiah is $22 for tickets purchased in advance, $27 at the door. For more information or to purchase tickets call 304-876-5765 or visit www.sufom.org.