The Palouse Choral Society Chamber Choir will perform Handel’s Messiah at 2 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 12, in the Monastery of St. Gertrude chapel. The concert will include a live orchestra ensemble and four soloists.

George Frideric Handel (1685-1759) composed Messiah during a short period between August 22 and September 14, 1741. The work is an oratorio in English. Prior to this time he focused mainly on composing Italian operas. Handel wrote Messiah for modest vocal and instrumental ensembles; it was not until much later the work was adapted for performance on a much larger scale, with giant orchestras and choirs.

Stephen Martin, a Professor Emeritus of Music at Portland State University, writes, “Though Messiah shares many common characteristics with Handel’s other twenty or so oratorios, it is the least typical in several respects: it has more choruses and does not have a newly written libretto but one compiled from existing short passages from the Bible; and it has no named characters or overall narrative, presenting instead a series of contemplations on the life of Christ and Christian redemption.”

The Monastery of St. Gertrude holds concerts in the chapel throughout the year. The chapel acoustic is celebrated by conductors throughout the region. “We have dreamed for years of having Handel’s Messiah performed at St. Gertrude’s,” said Theresa Henson of the Monastery’s arts committee.

Tickets are $10 general admission and available at Youth will be admitted free. For more information call 208-962-5065 or email The Monastery of St. Gertrude is located at 465 Keuterville Road, Cottonwood, Idaho.

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