Handel’s MESSIAH Sing-Along Concert Features Holiday Classic amid Tiffany Stained Glass, Sun., Dec. 16, 4 pm

After a near-capacity audience enjoyed the first major chorale work sung at the landmark Calvary United Methodist Church in Pittsburgh’s Allegheny West neighborhood in 2011, audience and choir members immediately asked “Will you present Messiah next year?”

George Frideric Handel’s beloved oratorio returns for a second Messiah Sing-Along Concert, a program of Calvary Music and Poets Corner Arts, set in the stunning restored sanctuary featuring some of Louis Comfort Tiffany’s most magnificent stained-glass windows, Sunday, December 16 at 4 pm, Calvary United Methodist Church, 971 Beech Ave. at Allegheny, just a few blocks from Heinz Field (Allegheny West, Pittsburgh 15233). Doors open at 3:15 pm.

Concertgoers may view the Tiffany windows in the 45 minutes prior to the program at the 1895 landmark house of worship, acclaimed for its exterior French Gothic architecture and stained glass and interior design by Louis Comfort Tiffany.

Renewal is indeed a theme as the choir presents its first major chorale work since the 1960’s with a concert of favorite selections from the masterwork celebrating the prophecy and arrival of Christ on earth. The program is designed to both introduce music lovers of all ages to pieces from the first two parts of the sacred chorale work while invited those who know and love the piece to join in on four of the beloved choruses, including the timeless “Hallelujah!”

The concert features the Calvary Festival Choir, comprised of voices from the church’s own Renewal Choir and guest choir members from throughout the region. Music director Brian Burns is featured at both the parlor and sanctuary’s historic Farrand & Votey organ.

David P. Bridge conducts a 12-piece chamber orchestra, a chorus of more than and singers including four soloists: Anna Singer, soprano; Paula Signorino-Richter, mezzo-soprano, and Daniel Teadt, baritone, all from the Pittsburgh area, and Christopher Quigley, tenor, of York, PA.

The concert is for all ages; kids 12 and under are admitted at no charge and children will receive an activity packet with information on music and the program.

Audience members are asked to bring non-perishable food items.  in the 1 pound size range for the Northside Common Ministries Pantry.

Tickets are $10 for general admission, $20 for ticket and score. Students and seniors 62 and over, $5. Military service members and children 12 and under admitted at no charge at the door.

Tickets are on sale at SHOWCLIX.comor call 1-888-71-TICKETS.

Available tickets will be on sale at the door. Visit the church Web site at www.calvarypgh.com

For details or questions, e-mail CalvaryUMChurchPittsburgh@gmail.com or call 412-512-0589.

Calvary is on Facebook and Twitter (@CalvaryPgh)

Calvary United Methodist Church is restoring its rare 1895 Farrand & Votey pipe organ, featured in MESSIAH. New pipes have been added to blend smoothly with the original pipes while music director Brian Burns continues extensive hands-on repairs and improvement. The organ is only one of two such instruments still in use in the US and is in restoration under Burns’ care.

The church interior and exterior have undergone extensive restoration—from the repaired and cleaned stained glass windows by Stained Glass Resources and the sanctuary also designed by Louis Comfort Tiffany’s studios. The most recent enhancements include a handicap accessible ramp, entrance and elevator. Much of restoration over the past 12 years has been led by Allegheny Historic Preservation Society. Calvary’s spaces and systems have been revived so that the building serves not only as an awe-inspiring setting for worship, weddings, and community events, but is a hub for dinners, meetings, arts events, and more. The church held its first service on Dec. 24, 1893 when the building’s chapel was completed. Today, public events include the annual Candlelight Christmas Eve service (music at 7 pm. service at 7:30 pm), the annual Allegheny West Victorian House Tour, First Day of Summer Tiffany celebration, and the Poetry of Peace concert for September 11.

On his composition, German-British composer George Frideric Handel exclaimed, “I did think I did see all Heaven before me, and the great God Himself.” Handel composed MESSIAH in 24 days in 1741 after friend Charles Jensen gave him text drawn from the King James Bible. Handel personally conducted more than 30 of the performances himself, many of them given as charitable benefits.

Handel’s MESSIAH has come to be a prominent representation of the Advent and Christmas season as well as Lent and Easter. Incorporating scriptural text from the Bible and the Book of Common Prayer, the full work takes audiences on a three part spiritual journey from God’s prophecy, to the sacrifice of Christ, and finally to his glorification into Heaven. The Nativity, Passion, Resurrection and Ascension are depicted through the dramatic music and scriptural text. At Calvary, two of the sanctuary windows depict the Acension and Resurrection.

Brian Burns, music director and organist, is a long-time Pittsburgh resident and a native of Armstrong county where he began playing the Hammond organ in church at age 12. While a piano major at Indiana University of Pennsylvania, he was introduced to the pipe organ and changed his major to organ performance under the direction of the late Dr. Carol Teti. He was one of the first recipients of the Carol Teti Memorial Scholarship. His undergraduate work was completed with Dr. Christine Clewell in 2001. He served at several churches including St. Bernard’s (Indiana, Pa.) and Ford Memorial United Methodist Church (Ford City, Pa.). Brian worked for three years with local organ builder Harry Ebert before discovering Calvary United Methodist Church. Brian currently directs the Sunday Renewal Choir, the Festival Choir and plays for all of Calvary’s services. Brian continues to guide the restoration of Calvary’s historic 1894 Farrand & Votey organ.

David P. Bridge, conductor, is an organist at Bethany United Methodist Church, Latrobe, PA. He has served churches in Westmoreland, Allegheny and Beaver Counties in Western Pennsylvania and in Gastonia, North Carolina. While in North Carolina, the St. Vincent College music education alumna served as primary musician for the 2006 Synod Assembly of the North Carolina Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.

Anna Singer, who serves as WQED FM’s music programming and mid-day host, is a world-class soprano, having sung leads in such operas as Tosca, Salome, Aida, Madama Butterfly, Susannah, Il Trovatore, La Boheme, La Divina, Le Nozze di Figaro, Lohengrin, Die Fledermause, and The Merry Widow, among others, for such opera companies as Los Angeles, Palm Beach, and Cleveland, in addition to Pittsburgh Opera, Microscopic Opera, and Opera Theater of Pittsburgh, including her acclaimed OTP performance as Sieglinde in The Ring and, most recently, in SummerFest 2012. She made her Carnegie Hall main stage debut with Manhattan Philharmonic. She was soprano soloist in Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9 throughout Europe, most recently in Lisbon with the Orquestra Sinfonica Portugesa.

Paula Signorino-Richter, mezzo-soprano, has been hailed for her “beautiful, polished sound” as well as “musicality and sensitivity.” She made her operatic debut at age 23, singing Rosina in The Barber of Seville with Opera Theater of Pittsburgh. Subsequent operatic performances include the title role in Carmen,  Dorabella in Così Fan Tutte, and Suzuki in Madama Butterfly among other roles. Paula debuted in Europe singing Lauretta in Il Maestro di Musica and Clorinda in Il Combattimento di Tancredi e Clorinda  for Spanish Chamber Opera Festival. A Metropolitan Opera District and Regional Winner, Ms. Signorino-Richter has also performed with Pittsburgh Opera, Cincinnati Opera, and Ohio Light Opera.

Christopher Quigley has performed with the Pittsburgh Opera, Pittsburgh Civic Light Opera, Ohio Light Opera, Village Light Opera, and York Symphony. He is a veteran actor/director and his most recent role was this past summer as Corny Collins in Hairspray with the Act of Kindness Theatre Co. in New Oxford, PA. His other recent roles include Harold Hill in The Music Man, Captain Von Trapp in The Sound of Music, the Beast in Beauty and the Beast, Phantom in The Phantom of the Opera, as well as his participation in the 1990 National Tour of Oklahoma starring John Davidson. Christopher, a resident of York, PA, attended Carnegie Mellon University and studied with the late Dr. Lee Cass. He returns as a Messiah soloist after singing in 2011.

Daniel Teadt, baritone, made his New York City Opera debut in the title role of Telemann’s Orpheus. He appeared in two Pittsburgh premieres as Charlie in Jake Heggie’s Three Decembers and the title role in Tobias Picker’s Fantastic Mr. Fox for Microscopic Opera. Teadt was seen in Opera Theater of Pittsburgh’s inaugural SummerFest as Escamillo in Carmen-The Gypsy and the title role in Candide. Other notable highlights: Grammy Award-winning performances of Billy Budd, London Symphony Orchestra; appearances with Metropolitan Opera, Pittsburgh Opera, Aix-en-provence Festival, Central City Opera, Los Angeles Philharmonic,.among others. Teadt received bachelor’s and master’s degrees at University of Illinois. Recently named Pittsburgh Magazine’s Best Local Artist, Teadt is an artist-lecturer in voice at both Washington & Jefferson College, Carnegie Mellon University, and Daniel Teadt Studios.


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