TRAVERSE CITY – David MacDougall considers himself the kind of singer who sounds better singing with a crowd than on his own.
That’s one reason the Traverse City internist has sung in the chorus of every annual Messiah Sing at Central United Methodist Church for the past six years. He thinks George Händel’s 242-year-old Baroque oratorio is one of the German-born composer’s most beautiful creations. He enjoys singing with strong tenors who hit all the right notes.
“When I sit next to them, I sing better than I ever would expect to sing,” MacDougall said. “The ‘Messiah’ truly is for me one of the highlights for the year. To be able to participate in that masterpiece is a beautiful way to start the holiday season.”
Now in its 35th year, Traverse City’s “Messiah Sing” draws about 300 singers and musicians annually into the domed century-old Cass Street church to perform the classic. The audience essentially can opt to become part of the chorus, or just sit and enjoy the concert, said conductor Byron Hanson.
Ann Schoelles, a violinist in the orchestra, likes that and it’s one of the reasons she likes to participate.
“We don’t have a dividing line between audience and performers,” she said. “Everyone is a performer.”
She also enjoys the exuberant Baroque music era (1600-1750), especially Händel’s “Messiah.”
“It rouses your soul, I think,” she said. “And that presents a certain mystery of music, which is ‘Why does it do that?’ “
The performance starts at 4 p.m. Admission is free, but a good-will offering will be taken.
People who want to join the chorus are asked to come at 2:30 p.m. to give them time to get their music before a 2:45 p.m. rehearsal with the orchestra, Hanson said.