Not my body, but my voice. For the last eight weeks I’ve been rehearsing with the Axtell Oratorio Society. This is the 50th year this group has performed Handel’s complete Messiah, and that’s a pretty big deal for a town about about 700. The society now consists of more than just people from the town of Axtell, and quite a few people from surrounding towns such as Minden and Kearney make the trip to Axtell on Sunday for rehearsals. Kearney just built a new performing arts center(pictured below), so it seems fitting to move the performance from the Kearney high school to the new center, especially for the celebration. The performance is this weekend and I’m excited to see how it will all come together.
I haven’t been in a choir since college and worship leading is hardly conducive to keeping my high register in shape, so I was a bit rusty. But something in me still loves the stuffy ole’ traditional choral music. And there is also something all together separate about being part of a musical organization that’s as old as this one:arrogance, elitism, humilty and love of music all rolled into one place. It’s a lot for a newbie like me to take in. Music people are weird, my mother always says. And meeting all these new people proved her right. We are weird… in an entirely weird and different way.
In the end of this whole experience I will take with me a hatred of the runs in For Unto Us a Child is Born (seriously, was Handel a masochistic when he wrote that?) and a love for the significance of the word “Amen”. I’d forgotten the joy that comes with performing difficult classical music and as a kid, I’d always wanted to be part of it this event. I finally made time this year.
My favorite? Worthy is the Lamb/Amen Finale. It’s by far the most satisfying song to sing. Musically, though, my favorite moment is in O Thou That Tellest Good Tidings to Zion – the word painting on “Arise” and “Behold” is a stunning and wonderful to sing.
Enough gushing; I have rehearsing to do. I don’t want sloppy phrasing on the 50th anniversary of this thing!