BRATTLEBORO -- Friends of Music at Guilford, for a 43rd year, invites singers and music lovers to its annual Community Messiah Sing this Saturday at 1 p.m., at Centre Congregational Church, 193 Main St., the event’s home since 1982. The event is a benefit for agencies serving the area’s homeless.
Clark Anderson is at the helm as conductor for a third season. William McKim is organist. Anderson and McKim will lead the assembled singers through the Christmas portion of Handel’s masterwork, plus a few other favorite sections from Parts II and III.
Alto solos will be performed this year by mezzo-soprano Justina Golden, of Florence, Mass., who performed at the Sing in 2005 and 2006; she is a choral conductor and voice teacher who performs often as a soloist in the region and farther afield.
The other featured soloists on the 2013 roster are new to the Sing. Soprano Elizabeth Wohl, a health-care attorney with Downs Rachlin Martin LLC, studied vocal performance and opera as an undergrad; she now studies at the BMC and appears as a soloist at All Souls Church Unitarian-Universalist.
Tenor Justin Kenney, who has appeared in solo roles with the Windham Orchestra and Blanche Moyse Chorale, is completing his final year of studies in music and political science at Boston University, where he has been featured in opera and choral productions.
Bass Tony Grobe may be better known for his roles in Vermont Theatre Company productions, but his past musical credits include performances as Father in the BUHS production of "Children of Eden" and as the Narrator in Zeke Hecker’s "The Lift."
All door donations will be divided between the Brattleboro Area Drop In Center and Morningside Shelter, to support these agencies’ important work with the homeless at holiday time. From 2007 through 2012, nearly $10,500 in donations has been raised for the cause.
The Drop In Center van will be parked outside Centre Church again this year for a collection of nonperishable food, winter clothing, outerwear and blankets, and new, unwrapped toys provided by downtown shoppers and Sing attendees.
As many as 250 or more singers from the region bring a vocal score or may borrow/buy one at the Sing. A number of other folks come just to experience the sound of such an enormous choir performing the grand choruses of The Messiah. Water is the only beverage allowed in the sanctuary; bottled water is for sale at the door.
The Friends of Music holiday boutique is stocked with 2014 art calendars featuring paintings and prints of Guilford and nearby locales that have appeared on recent program books and posters, as well as card series, assorted CDs and tote bags and sweatshirts. Signed copies of "Sparks: The Collected Writing of Jean Stewart McLean," edited by Don McLean, will also be available. Sales of these items help support Friends of Music’s programs, which are offered on a donation basis, as well as free community outreach programs for students and elders.
Messiah Sing sponsors include Richmond Auto Repair, Centre Church, Brown Computer Solutions, Newton Business, the Brattleboro Reformer, C&S Wholesale Grocers and Brattleboro Savings & Loan, in addition to 48th season sponsor Entergy Vermont Yankee.