Hallelujah! Handel’s Messiah still has special quality for choristers decades later

Michael Swan, The Catholic Register

When Susan Worthington gets home from “Messiah” rehearsals with the Toronto Mendelssohn Choir she’s hungry and tired, but her brain is still full of music.

“You can’t go to bed right away,” she said. “Rehearsals can be incredibly inspiring. We can work very hard. Working hard is good for you.”

An alto who takes pride in singing the difficult parts that fall between soaring sopranos with the tune and booming basses who lay down the foundation, Worthington has been singing “Messiah” with Toronto’s oldest and biggest concert choir since the 1980s.

She will be on stage at Roy Thomson Hall once again this Advent season for another performance of the iconic oratorio with Mozart’s orchestration. Performances are scheduled for Dec. 17-18-20-21-22.

“The experience can be different every single year, but it still has the same kernel of inspiration that speaks to our hearts and, for me personally, to my soul,” Worthington said.

Choral singing rewards those who fit in and do their bit. The good chorister is rewarded by being part of something much bigger than themselves.

“If you look on the choir as hard workers, there’s pride in doing the work well,” said baritone Daniel Parkinson, who has been singing Handel’s “Messiah” with the Toronto Mendelssohn Choir for 45 years.

It’s a piece of music that should amount to much more than just the notes on the page, according to Parkinson.

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Categories: 2019-2020 Season and Media Reviews.