The Lydians salute Queen’s Hall with Handel’s Messiah at Christmas

The Lydians salute Queen’s Hall with Handel’s Messiah at Christmas

By a fortuitous alignment of calendars, three significant musical dates have come together this year, 2009: Queen’s Hall is fifty years old, George Frideric Handel died two hundred and fifty years ago and it is the thirtieth anniversary of the founding of the Lydians.

What better way to acknowledge this gift of fortune, than for the Lydians, under the musical direction of Pat Bishop, accompanied by Lydian Steel and renowned keyboardists Lindy-Ann Bodden-Ritch and Myrtle Cumberbatch, to perform Handel’s well-loved ‘Messiah’ in its entirety at Queen’s Hall?

While celebrating significant anniversaries, this concert is itself a landmark event. It is the World Premiere of Handel’s Messiah accompanied by steelband, keyboards and drums. Audiences at Lydian performances have long thrilled to their interpretation of the last chorus of the second part of this three-part work – the rousing ‘Hallelujah Chorus’ with steelpan, Indian and African drums. Additionally, many of the well-known choruses in this work have featured in past Lydian Christmas concerts; among them, ‘For Unto Us a Child is Born’ and ‘Glory to God’. Soloists Eddie Cumberbatch’s ‘Comfort ye my people’ and ‘Every valley shall be exalted’ as well as Benedict Rousseau’s ‘Thus saith the Lord’ and ‘But who shall abide the day of his coming?’ are already familiar to audiences. But this is the first time that the complete work from the Overture to the final choruses, ‘Worthy is the Lamb’ and ‘Amen’ will be heard with the unique Lydian sound of voices and steel.

The Messiah has long been a staple of Christmas concerts the world over. It is an oratorio of fifty-three pieces in three parts, comprising grouped sequences of recitatives, airs and choruses. This allows the impressive line-up of Lydian soloists great scope to showcase talent and skilful interpretation. Joining the stellar cast of seasoned performers which includes Edward Cumberbatch, Glenis Yearwood, Joanne Pyle, Jenny Archer, Langford Madray, Benedict Rousseau, Dirk Govia, Garnet Allen, Janine Charles-Farray, Noel Rawlins, Pat Whittle, is a host of exciting young Lydians who will entertain and excite in the true Lydian spirit.

The concert series runs from Thursday 10th to Saturday 12th at 8.15 pm and on Sunday 13th December at 6.30 pm.

Tickets at $125, are available from members of the Lydians, Signature 2000 at The Marketplace, Hotel Normandie, St Ann’s – Joanne 624 2958; La Tropicale Flower Shop, Patna St, St James – Bernard 628 0769; and at Queen’s Hall Box Office 624 1284


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