by Marie C. Senter
The heavens declare God’s glory in every language.
Ps 19:1-3 (NKJV)
Ever since Handel put pencil―er―quill to paper, people who can read those dots and squiggles hear the Messiah. Originally, the Messiah was performed by a small, intimate group of musicians, whether a member of the listening audience or part of the choir/chorus, they heard the “heavens declare the glory.”
My first encounter with the Messiah found our organist pumping madly on the antique pump organ, trying to bring enough volume to match the noise our twenty-eight voice choir made. My teenage voice added enthusiastic volume to the “Hallelujah Chorus.”
In college, the Messiah became a formal presentation by the Middle Border Chorus. There was a pipe organ, a grand piano, and a professional orchestra with volunteers filling in random orchestra chairs and most chorus seats. It was a regional version of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir. My name was taped on the first chair, alto section. I sang with that same enthusiasm plus a great deal more voice training.
In San Antonio, churches have Messiah presentations for their congregations with the All City Messiah Sing: a truly ecumenical occasion. Whatever the setting, the Messiah continues to provide opportunities to “declare the glory of God” simply, massively, gloriously.
Heavenly Father, we declare your glory with our vocal efforts. Bless our enthusiasm at this time of year as we share the message and the music of the Messiah.