“We’ve always had this desire to add a choral component to the orchestra,” said Sue Haggerty, the orchestra’s executive director. “There are certain pieces of music that are kind of like cornerstones of great choral-orchestral collaborations, and Handel’s ‘Messiah’ is certainly one of them.”
Haggerty, along with music director J. Wayne Baughman, hopes to have a 60-member chorus for the performance. The chorus will collaborate with a harpsichordist, four professional vocal soloists and a 24-member orchestra.
“It’s more or less intended to be an authentic re-creation of the original [‘Messiah’ performance],” Baughman said.
Regarding the auditions, he said he is looking for good choral singers who can commit to the rehearsal and performance schedule. Rehearsals will be on select Saturday mornings and Tuesday evenings. There will also be a Dec. 19 dress rehearsal prior to the Dec. 21 performance.
“I’ve gotten all kinds of people signed up to audition already,” Baughman said. “Some have very recent choral experience and they’re singing in a church choir on a regular basis, and some people say they haven’t sung in 10 years but they’ve sung this music before and they’d love to do it again.”
The concert will take place at Johns Creek United Methodist Church.
“The acoustics are ideal for this,” Haggerty said.
Baughman said the chorus is being developed for the one performance, but Haggerty said “based on how that goes, we’ll continue.”
The orchestra has collaborated with guest singers in the past, and those performances have been successful, she said.
The orchestra will have auditions for the symphony chorus in August and September. Auditioners will have to demonstrate sight reading, scales and two excerpts from “Messiah,” which will be provided in advance.
To schedule an audition, interested singers should email Baughman at firstname.lastname@example.org with their name, age if under 21, address, phone number, voice part and brief description of their choral singing experience.