The Alabama Civic Chorale plans 76th annual performance of Handel’s “Messiah”

Published 3:30 pm Tuesday, November 14, 2023

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By BARTON PERKINS | Staff Writer

HOOVER –  The Alabama Civic Chorale has announced that they will be putting on their 76th annual presentation of Handel’s “Messiah on Sunday, Nov. 19 at 3 p.m. at Riverchase United Methodist Church.

Handel’s “Messiah” was composed in 1741 by George Frideric Handel. “Messiah”’s structure is similar to that of an opera, however instead of relying on character and narrative structure like a traditional opera does “Messiah” is more a meditation on Jesus as the Messiah called Christ. 

Today, Handel’s “Messiah” is one of the most well-known and performed pieces of music in the Western world. 

The Alabama Civic Chorale has been putting on annual performances of “Messiah” since the 1950s at Riverchase United Methodist and has used the event as a way to both contribute to Birmingham’s music scene and to give back to the less fortunate.

The Chorale was founded by Earl and Frances Clark in 1951, following a trip with their high school and youth choirs to Ridgecrest Music Conference where they sang “Messiah.” Both Clarks were longtime musicians and churchgoers and were inspired to try and combine their group into a cohesive chorus.

Over the past decades, the Alabama Civic Chorale has expanded to include a hundred standing members and has performed all over the state.

The final rehearsal for the 76th annual “Messiah” performance took place on Monday, Nov. 13.

“We’ve worked hard and hope that you will come to fill the glorious sanctuary at Riverchase United Methodist Church this Sunday, November 19th, at 3 p.m.,” The Alabama Civic Chorale said on Facebook. “What a wonderful way for you to begin the holiday season by attending the performance.”

“Messiah” will be open to the public and childcare will be provided. Additionally, guests are encouraged to bring an item of non-perishable food to be placed in one of the BHN barrels located at Riverchase to provide food for Grace Klein’s distribution program.

“If you are bringing food to the concert then you can trust that food is going to be delivered to members of the community that really needs it,” said Grace Klein founder Jenny Waltman. “It’s especially helpful to families this year during Thanksgiving.”