The “Messiah” is performed last year. (Diane Urbani de la Paz)

The “Messiah” is performed last year. (Diane Urbani de la Paz)

Entertainment: Singalong ‘Messiah’ planned for New Year’s Eve; community encourage to participate

SEQUIM — The Singalong “Messiah” has been a holiday tradition in Sequim for years, attracting singers and instrumentalists from all over the North Olympic Peninsula to perform the well-known oratorio, as do thousands of other communities all over the world.

This year the usual sponsoring organization was unable to put on the performance and community members, unwilling to end the tradition and forego their annual opportunity to sing the beloved work, have decided to do it themselves.

Jerry Wright, choir director of the Trinity United Methodist Church in Sequim, will conduct the orchestra and singers from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday.

There aren’t really any ties to the original performances, other than that people will likely see many of the same faces, said Joel Yelland, one of this year’s organizers.

“It just makes a lot of sense to do it ourselves,” he said. “When I heard it wasn’t going to happen this year, I just said no, forget that, we’re going to put this on.

“A lot of people had felt the same way.”

This performance is fairly unique in that ammature instrumentalists and vocalists are getting together to create beautiful music.

Yelland, a singer, found it dificult finding words to describe the feeling of being in a large enssemble performing a piece that, for many, signifies the holidays.

Vocalists of any skill level are welcome to join in, even those who don’t believe they can sing, he said.

“We aren’t looking for perfection, but just to enjoy it, enjoy making music,” he said. “It’s a different kind of experience.”

Instrumentalists in the orchestra will need to be able read the sheet music the day of and do their best to perform the piece, he said.

Arrival times

Instrumentalists will arrive at Trinity United Methodist Church in Sequim at 8:30 a.m. to sign in and get their music.

Rehearsal for the orchestra will be from 9 a.m. to noon, with soloists requested to arrive at 9:30 a.m. to rehearse with the orchestra.

Chorus members should arrive at 12:30 p.m. to sign in, get scores and find their sections, which will be marked.

Yelland encouraged people who already have scores to the piece to bring their own copy.

A basket for donations will be at the door, with the recipient after expenses yet to be determined, but no payment will be required to participate.

“It will go to a worthy cause,” Yelland said, referring to a movement from Messiah.

The orchestra will be directed by Wright, who has an advanced degree in conducting and was the internationally-respected director of the Seattle Girls’ Choir and the Seattle Oratorio Society and Orchestra before retiring to Sequim.

The emphasis of this year’s event will be on singing as many of the better-known choruses as can be fit into the two-hour interval, and soloists, who already have been selected, will perform many of the important recitatives and arias.

Those who do not wish to sing are welcome to just listen.

There will be an intermission and participants are asked to bring finger food to share with their fellow musicians and audience members. Dress will be informal.

Group limitations

While the group would love for as many to play as possible, it will have to limit the orchestra to the first six string players of each section and the first four of each non-string instrument.

The goal of this event is to allow as many musicians and music lovers as possible to participate in bringing some of the most beautiful music ever written back to the Sequim community and to continue this annual tradition for as long as the passion for making music endures, organizers said.

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