Jeff Smith 6 p.m., Feb. 27
The Perfect Messiah
I went to the perfect Messiah performance the other night at the Neuroscience Institute.
The organization putting on the show was the Fan Faire Foundation: where science and music intersect.
I'd not heard of Fan Faire but I was impressed with the fresh, relaxed atmosphere of the concert.
For starters it was only about an hour of music. I've sang and heard The Messiah so many times that I'm thrilled when a program hits some of the highlights and calls it a night.
This was a sing along Messiah which means you show up, pay ten dollars and sing with the orchestra.
I knew I was in for a great night when I paid my ten dollars with eight dollar bills, two fifty cent pieces and four quarters.
I realized late in the game that they probably weren't going to accept credit cards so I had to scrape some cash together.
The ticket attendant treated my gravel-ish money with respect and dignity.
The orchestra was a community band and at times the intonation proved that.
However, the atmosphere was so informal and conversational that I didn't care about a few out of tune notes here and there.
There were five soloists of varying ability.
The alto had obvious health issues.
The two sopranos were both solid.
The bass had a voice of great potential but sang Handel a la Robert Goulet.
The tenor was terrifying. He made all the notes in the opening recitative and aria but from the get go I thought he was going to crash and burn. He did not.
I imagine the exhilaration I felt being similar to what one might feel while running with the bulls. Any second you're expecting to be gored but when you survive it you're happy to be alive and consider doing it again.
The program ended with The Hallelujah Chorus.
Before we started it, a few young girls joined the orchestra with their baby violins. If was very cute and increased the feeling of community.
In a setting like this, the end of the Hallelujah Chorus is booby trapped.
The text repeats, "Hallelujah, Hallelujah, Hallelujah."
Invariably someone gets carried away and adds a solo "Hallelu--" When nobody did this, several people in the audience cheered.
That is why I think this was a perfect Messiah performance.
We were allowed to experience the music and comment on it during the process of the concert and that is a rare, valuable experience.