Messiah Project will present Scripture elaborated in song at the 8th annual "Heritage of Hymns" concert Saturday Oct. 17 at 7:00pm (with an organ prelude at 6:15) in the Robert H. Spence Chapel Auditorium at Evangel University. The Messiah Project Community Choir directed by Sharon Wilkins will be joined by pianist Dino Kartsonakis and the Springfield Symphony Orchestra led by their Music Director Kyle Wiley Pickett.
Messiah Project President Lindsay Robison says the inspiration for Heritage of Hymns came from Nashville. "They had an annual event where they put together a large community choir and the local Symphony orchestra and some featured artists, and saw great gatherings result as their whole city came together to honor the great music of the church and their heritage. It was quite successful there, and has actually been quite successful here in Springfield with Messiah Project, as we've teamed almost every year with the Springfield Symphony."
The 110-voice Messiah Project Choir contains members of more than 25 area churches, and Lindsay says "it's one of the strongest choirs that we've ever put together. We just opened it up to the community, and if people sing in a choir, they could come."
This is Maestro Pickett's second time conducting Heritage of Hymns. "One of the things, if you look at the history of classical music or 'art music' throughout the centuries, there's been an awful lot of sacred music related to the church." So in addition to classic and contemporary hymns, Maestro Pickett also suggested they do "The Heavens are Telling" from Haydn's Creation. "So there's a great deal of stylistic diversity in the concert." And he praised the Springfield Symphony's "sheer versatility" in the amount and range of music they are able to perform. "You know, that's what professional musicians do."
Dino Kartsonakis has been a frequent collaborator with Messiah Project--of course, Dino and Messiah Project Choir Director Sharon Wilkins's husband were in the military together in Germany during the Vietnam era, "so there's a lot of history here," says Lindsay Robison.
Admission to "Heritage of Hymns" is free and open to the public, but donations will be appreciated. In addition, there are special reserved "preferred" ($10) and "premiere" ($25) seats available at www.messiahproject.org. For more information, call 883-5274.