Nashville Symphony Chorus marks 50th anniversary with Handel’s Messiah

The Nashville Symphony Chorus will come full circle with its performances of Handel’s Messiah this month. The ensemble was originally formed in 1963 by Nashville Symphony conductor Willis Page to perform Messiah at War Memorial Auditorium. When the Chorus joins with the orchestra for Handel’s Messiah on December 11-13 at Schermerhorn Symphony Center, it will mark a full 50 years of performing for the Nashville community.

The 50th anniversary Messiah concerts are just one part of a full year’s worth of celebrations that also included an appearance at the Mayor’s Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony at Public Square December 6. The Chorus’ anniversary season continues in 2014 with the free Voices of Spring concert on March 23 and Brahms’ Requiem on May 29-31. In addition, the Chorus will perform with the Cincinnati Symphony at the Cincinnati May Festival on May 17.

“I am so proud to help the Nashville Symphony Chorus celebrate a half-century of making incredible music,” said Chorus Director Kelly Corcoran. “In a community rich with musical tradition, this remarkable ensemble provides local audiences with a unique opportunity to hear a full range of choral repertoire, from Baroque to contemporary, performed with a power and gracefulness that would rival any chorus in the country.

Of the 160 current members of the Nashville Symphony Chorus, 12 have performed with the Chorus for 25 years or more—and one member, Richard Hatfield, has sung in the ensemble all 50 years.

“Our Chorus has thrived largely on volunteer power throughout its existence,” Corcoran said. “These singers are your neighbors, your coworkers and your friends, and I hope that everyone in our community will come out to celebrate the amazing legacy they are all working so hard to uphold.”

The Nashville Symphony Orchestra and Chorus will continue to perform Handel’s Messiah at 8 pm, Friday, December 13. Tickets are available at 615-687-6400, NashvilleSymphony.org, or the Schermerhorn Symphony Center Box Office.