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The Lake Charles Messiah Chorus and Orchestra performs during a past presentation of Handel's

The Lake Charles Messiah Chorus and Orchestra performs during a past presentation of Handel's "Messiah." (American Press Archives)

Messiah Chorus performance returning after one-year hiatus

Last Modified: Tuesday, August 21, 2012 5:29 PM

By John Guidroz / American Press

The Lake Charles Messiah Chorus will perform George Frideric Handel’s “Messiah” this year after a one-year hiatus.

The performance was temporarily suspended last December because of “low attendance and financial hardships,” said Patricia Bulber, who has played with Messiah since 1954 and is helping organize this year’s event.

The 72nd performance is scheduled for 3 p.m. Dec. 2 in McNeese State University’s Bulber Auditorium.

Bulber said the board of directors decided last year to suspend the performance to see how the public would react.

“There was quite a reaction,” Bulber said.

That board was dissolved and replaced with a new 15-member board, Bulber said. She said the upcoming performance will not be a sing-a-long, which it has been since 2005. It will also include the chamber orchestra.

Bulber said McNeese University President Philip Williams supported bringing back the long-standing performance.

“He said this was too good of a tradition to just ignore,” she said. “I am elated. The ‘Messiah’ is such a standard. Once the ‘Messiah’ (performance) came, then we were in the Christmas spirit.”

The performance will include four soloists who are all McNeese students, she said. There will be two rehearsals in preparation for the show. The performance will feature limited selections, but Bulber said most of the familiar ones will be performed.

Bulber said show organizers have mailed 300 letters to people who sang in past performances, and that more letters will be sent to church and high school choir directors. Those interested in performing should fill out a registration form by Oct. 1.

Bulber said local businesses can buy advertising space, ranging in cost from $40 to $150, in the program. The board will also accept donations.

T-shirts can also be ordered for $20 each. Checks should be made payable to the McNeese Foundation, and the words “Messiah Fund” should be added to the memo line.

The Messiah Chorus was formed by Francis G. Bulber during the 1939-1940 McNeese school year. The first performance included choir singers from various organizations and churches. Bulber said the local performance is one of only four that are still taking place nationwide.

For more information, call Bulber at 477-0662, Poddy Champeaux at 439-1188 or Barbara Belew at 477-4545.

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