YADKINVILLE — Directed by Dr. Ginger Holt, the Yadkin Community Chorus presented Handel’s Messiah Sunday at the Willingham Theater. The 32-member chorus was accompanied by an eight-person live orchestra.
“Our group consists of people from all over the county, and from Surry and Forsyth counties as well,” stated Holt, who is the music teacher at Boonville Elementary School, where the tradition was started by Principal Albert Martin under the direction of Carmin Richardson. The performance continues thanks to a trust fund initiated by Martin and support from the North Carolina Arts Council, the National Endowment for the Arts and the Yadkin Arts Council.
Through 13 years of performances, the Yadkin Community Chorus production of the Messiah has become part of a family tradition for many locals and their guests. The Briscoe family traveled from the Washington D.C. area to visit grandparents for the holidays. “We saw Handel’s Messiah at the Kennedy Center a few years ago and this is very like that,” claimed Olivia Briscoe. “It’s like having big city appeal in small town Yadkinville.”
As the final presentation of the fall series and the only free concert, according to the President of the Yadkin Arts Council John Willingham, “it’s like the arts council is giving a gift to the community.”
Several soloists performed throughout the concert while the audience was encouraged to participate in the finale, an encore of the popular Hallelujah Chorus. “I think for all of them being amateurs the local talent is exceptional,” stated Briscoe.
Holt described the tradition of standing during the Hallelujah Chorus initiated by King George II in London on March 23, 1743, at the Covent Garden Theatre, now the Royal Opera House at Covent Garden. “The King was so moved during the Hallelujah Chorus that he stood. It being the fashion of the time to do what the King did, everyone else stood beginning the long tradition,” explained Holt.
The concert was complemented by Costumed Adventures, a collection of Cosplay costumes from private collections all over North Carolina curated by theater manager Lindsay Craven, which is in its final days. “This is totally different from what we usually have on display,” explained Willingham, who appeared excited about the interest shown in the unusual display as well as the turnout for the performance.
Beanie Taylor can be reached at 336-258-4058 or on Twitter @TBeanieTaylor.