Singers invited to join Handel Oratorio Society at Augustana College

Staff Writer
Aledo Times Record

Area singers are invited to join the Handel Oratorio Society to participate in one of the Midwest's oldest choral traditions, the annual performance of Handel’s Messiah at Augustana College. Dr. Jon Hurty, director of choral activities at Augustana College, invites singers of all backgrounds to join the Society’s 250-voice chorus. Tenors and basses are especially encouraged to join.

Messiah rehearsals begin on Monday, October 3 from 7:30 – 9:30 p.m. in Centennial Hall. The society rehearses each Monday night and performances are on Saturday, December 10 at 8 p.m. and Sunday, December 11 at 2 p.m Those without scores will be asked to purchase one for $10 at the first rehearsal.

The Handel Oratorio Society’s history dates from 1879, when Augustana theology professor Olof Olsson – who would later serve as the college’s third president – attended a performance of Messiah while in London. Inspired by Georg Frederic Handel’s masterwork, Olsson established the Handel Oratorio Society upon his return to Rock Island. The Society’s first performance, a production of Messiah, was held April 12, 1881 at the First Congregational Church of Moline. In 1916, the Society began presenting Messiah each December, making it the oldest Christmas performance tradition in our region.