This year marks the first time in more than five decades that the Independence Messiah Choir won't perform Handel’s Messiah at the Community of Christ Auditorium in Independence, Missouri.
The challenge: how to transfer the sound of almost 250 voices —the combined Kansas City Symphony Chorus and the Independence Messiah Choir — from a cavernous hall to the more intimate Helzberg Hall at the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts in Kansas City.
For a series called “Artists in their Own Words,” KCUR’s Laura Spencer stopped by the first rehearsal in the space to check it out.
Kansas City Symphony Chorus, Charles Bruffy, chorus director
"Messiah is one of the highlights of the musical year...One of the biggest challenges of the piece is that it is hard. There's a lot of singing, and a lot of notes."
Kansas City Symphony Chorus, Tim Braselton, chorus member
"When you get it (Messiah) completely under your skin...and you've got 250 family members up there wailing away on the "Hallelujah" chorus, I can't think of anything any more thrilling, to lend your voice to a mighty choir like that."
Independence Messiah Choir, Phyllis Moore, chorus member
"I remembered Charles (Bruffy) saying it (Helzberg Hall) was quite intimate. And I could see what he means. After coming from the Community of Christ Auditorium, which seats 5800 people, and coming here (Helzberg Hall seats 1600), you're really close to people."
Kansas City Symphony, Steven Jarvi, associate conductor
"Messiah is always this incredible undertaking because you want to respect all of the history that comes with it, but also look at with fresh eyes. What if we finally got to explore this in a more intimate fashion because of the space we're going to be working in?"
Kansas City Symphony, Symphony Chorus, Independence Messiah Choir
Helzberg Hall in the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts
Tickets are sold out, but there's a waiting list. Call the box office for more information: (816) 471-0400.
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Funding for arts coverage on KCUR has been provided by the Missouri Arts Council, a state agency.