Thursday November 29, 2012

BRATTLEBORO -- Friends of Music at Guilford invites singers and music lovers to its 42nd annual Community Messiah Sing, a benefit for the homeless, this Saturday at 1 p.m., at Centre Congregational Church, 193 Main St.

Clark Anderson does the conducting honors for a second year, and also for a second season Christian Huebner, the organist and choirmaster of Centre Church, will perform Handel’s full organ score for the Christmas portion of this masterwork, plus a few other sections.

Vocal soloists this year are a mix of the familiar and the new: tenor Michael Duffin is a two-year participant, while bass Larry Crockett is back for his 12th turn.

Newcomers include BUHS senior Aurora Phillips, who has been studying voice for six years, sings in several BUHS-connected groups, and starred as Eliza Doolittle in New England Youth Theatre’s production of "My Fair Lady" in 2011. The alto role is being sung by Friends of Music trustee Jessica Callahan Gelter, a writer, director, musician and actress who has taught and directed for many venues and is currently public relations coordinator for NEYT.

As many as 250 or more singers from the region bring a Messiah vocal score or borrow or buy one at the door. Copies are available in advance at Maple Leaf Music on Elliot Street. A number of others just come to enjoy the rich sound of such an enormous choir. Water is the only beverage allowed in the sanctuary; bottled water is available for sale.

All door donations are divided between the Brattleboro Area Drop In Center and Morningside Shelter, to support these agencies’ work with the homeless. Since 2007, more than $8,500 has been collected in donations. The Drop In Center van will be parked outside the church from about noon to 4 p.m. for donations of cash from passersby as well as bags of nonperishable food; winter clothing, outerwear and blankets; and new, unwrapped toys from downtown shoppers and Messiah Sing attendees.

This year’s sponsors include Richmond Auto Repair, Centre Church, Maple Leaf Music, Brattleboro Reformer, C&S Wholesale Grocers, Brattleboro Savings & Loan and Turn It Up! in addition to Friends of Music’s 47th season sponsor, Entergy Vermont Yankee.

The Friends of Music Holiday Boutique is stocked with 2013 calendars featuring Guilford through the seasons, as well as art cards by local artists whose images have appeared on concert posters, a selection of CDs and tote bags. Sales of these items are an important source of support for Friends of Music programs, many of which are offered on a donation basis to make them accessible to all.

For more information, contact the Friends of Music office at 802-254-3600, e-mail office@fomag.org or visit www.fomag.org.