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Defiance College to host 42nd annual performance of Handel’s ‘Messiah’

November 26, 2013


The 42nd annual Defiance College community performance of Handel’s “Messiah” on Sunday, Dec. 8, at 7:00 p.m. in St. John United Church of Christ, will once again provide an inspirational opportunity for area residents to begin their holiday season.

While the tradition is almost 90 years in age, 38 consecutive performances were led with the late Dr. Richard Stroede holding the baton. He revived the tradition in 1974, initially performing the Christmas section and singing from the balcony of the church with organist Carolyn Small.  Dr. Stroede’s final performance was in 2009, just months before his untimely death. From the original 30 singers, the group quickly grew and was moved to the front of the sanctuary and now includes more 80 singers. This is the fourth year that the performance will be conducted by Andrew Schultz, director of music programs at Defiance College.

“Messiah” is one of the most popular pieces in all of the world’s choral literature. The work was composed in the summer of 1741 and first performed in Dublin on April 13, 1742. It was first intended to be performed in a secular theater during Lent, though it is now usually performed during Advent. And the work is frequently done in churches, as is the case in the Defiance performance. In many cases only the Christmas section is performed, with the addition of “Hallelujah,” though full performances are frequently found. In the Defiance performance, the entire Christmas section is included prior to intermission, with the selections from the later section following.

The event is free and open to the public. A free-will offering will be taken at the end of the performance. Those wishing to make additional contributions to this performance may mail a check payable to Defiance College, to Andrew Schultz, director of music programs, Defiance College, 701 N. Clinton St., Defiance, OH 43512

Conducted by Schultz, the chorus includes DC student sopranos; Caitlin Ehrenberg, Atwater, Minn.; Lindsay Kasmer, Medina; Heidi Knight, Canal Fulton; Emily Wallace, Delphos; altos Elizabeth Daniel, Ney; Keira Grandey, Stryker; Megan Puehler and Michelle Puehler, Defiance; Alison Rifenburgh, Bronson, Mich.; tenor Lucas Parsell, Napoleon; and basses Justin Coressel, Defiance; Andrew Drewes, Napoleon; Alex Staup, Bryan; Alex Switz, New London.

Community chorus members also include sopranos Janice Cain, Jennifer Connor, Jan Craig, Bonnie Eddy, Jan Furnas, Anita Galbraith, Linda Jinks, Juli Kunesh, Shellee Murcko, Karen Oyer, Marian Plant, Kelsey Stoops, Megan Wright and Anna Yoder.

Altos includeDiana Bauer, Mary Born, Marie Bungard, Maureen Connor, Bridget Connor Oberlin, Ann Culver, Anne Gordon, Deb Guilford, Patricia Jencks, Marian Kauffman, Pam Lightle, Viola Manz, Susa Paulus, Jasmine Petty, Laura Rath Connor, Vickie Rhodes, Kate Smolik, Barbara Sprow Kieffer, Candace Stoffel, Kassi Waggle, Barb Welty, Kristin Wendell and Jayne Yoder.

Tenors include Jerry Bergman, Lynn Bergman, Don Knueve, Matt Mt.Castle, Alton Myers, Randy Schroeder, and John Trautman.

Basses include Robert Barnett, Ned Clark, Ron Jinks, Jerry Lugbill, John Mitchell, Dave Perkins, Fred Schultz, Adam Steider, Eric Spiller, William Warren and Ken Wetstein.

Orchestra members includeJudy Dally and Nancy Gallahue, flute; Frank D’Ambrosia and Rose Dockery, clarinet; Jim Gallahue and Barbara Sedlock, bassoon; Carmen Martin, Virgil Lupu and Lydia Dutciuc, violin I; Dana Mader, Randy Workman and Charlene Klugel, violin II; Philip Stoll and Ben Schantz, viola; Ethan Stoops and Any Favorito, cello; Aaron Keaster, bass; Lori Bitz, trumpet; and Carolyn Small, harpsichord.

Defiance College, chartered in 1850, is an independent, liberal arts institution in Northwest Ohio offering more than 40 undergraduate programs of study as well as graduate programs in education and business. Defiance College has received national recognition for its educational experience of service and engagement. The college website is