The Mercersburg Area Community Chorus will celebrate its 40th year anniversary in December by repeating its first program, the Christmas portion of Handel’s Messiah. Seasonal anthems and sing-a-long carols complete the program. Scheduled for Saturday, December 5, at 3:30 and 7:30, and Sunday, December 6, at 3:00, the concerts will be performed in the Irvine Memorial Chapel on the campus of Mercersburg Academy. The 145-voice choir will be joined by a 30-member professional orchestra directed by Richard Rotz. Admission is free, though a a free-will offering is taken. Seating is limited, so early arrival is recommended. For more information: 717-328-2324 or mercersburgchorus.org
Soloists include Elisabeth Turchi, soprano; Kathryn Honan-Carter, alto; Bois Van Druff, tenor; and Jesse Stock, bass. Turchi has performed with the Pittsburgh Opera, Opera Camerata of Washington, D.C., Atlantic Coast Opera Festival, Harrisburg Opera, New Opera Festival of Rome, and Gotham Chamber Opera. Her concert engagements include a European tour of Haydn’s Creation with two-time Grammy winner Robert Page and his Festival Singers, her Massachusetts’ Mechanics Hall debut with Handel’s Messiah, and the Mozart Mass in C Minor at Pennsylvania’s Luhrs Performing Arts Center. Honan-Carter has performed with the New York City Opera, San Francisco Opera’s touring Division, Washington Opera, Opera Delaware, Opera International, Wolf Trap Opera, and Mississippi Opera. Solo concert engagements include appearances with The Washington Concert Opera, The Paul Hill Chorale, The Washington Ballet, The National Chamber Orchestra, The Denver Symphony, and The National Symphony under the baton of Christopher Hogwood. Van Druff has performed with Knoxville Opera, the Knoxville Symphony, and recently performed Haydn’s Theresienmesse and Bach’s Ein feste Burg ist unser Gott, BWV 80 with the Western New York Chamber Orchestra. He has also performed a broad range of roles in the American musical theater. Stock been featured in the Knoxville Opera studio program as well as Des Moines Metro Opera’s apprentice program. He graduated with a Bachelor of Music from Simpson College (Iowa) and completed a Masters in Voice from The University of Tennessee.
The December concerts will repeat the music performed in the chorus’ first program, the Christmas portion of Handel’s Messiah. The 1975 program was sponsored by the Mercersburg Ministerium and directed by Wilson Kresge, who was then superintendent of schools
for the Tuscarora School District. Its success prompted a second concert in the spring of 1976 directed by Richard Rotz. The Chorus has grown and flourished since then, performing major choral-orchestra compositions each year in December and April.