'Messiah’ rings through Sussex County, courtesy of SDCS

Southern Delaware Choral Society returns to its roots with the classic Christmas show, Handel’s “Messiah.”

Conducted by John Ranney and accompanied by members of Newark Symphony Orchestra, the choral society formed nearly 30 years ago when a group of Delawareans decided to host “Messiah,” allowing people to sing along with professionals, just like in the big cities. The first successful performance inspired the choral society to continue.

Today, approximately 70 semi-professional singers perform together in Sussex County, with support from the Delaware Division of Arts and Sussex County Council.

“Messiah” was composed in English by George Frideric Handel in the 1600s and has become a staple of holiday music, featuring the famous Hallelujah chorus.

“If you’ve never heard the ‘Messiah,’ you need to go, and even if you have, welcome back,” said Clem Edgar, president of the Choral Society. “It’s a very professional sound coming from a seasoned group, and I think people will be satisfied.”

Two performances are scheduled. The traditional concert will be Saturday, Dec. 10, at Cape Henlopen High School in Lewes.

Audiences can sing along with the same professional musicians Sunday, Dec. 11 at Delaware Technical & Community College’s Arts and Sciences Center in Georgetown. Apart from the sing along, both shows will be the same. Performances begin at 3 p.m.

People may bring their own music or borrow or purchase copies at Del Tech before the show.

“I think if they’re looking for a sense of the season, of hope and peace, you couldn’t have a better thing to do,” said Edgar. “It’s just a wonderful uplifting concert.”

Tickets cost $20 for adults and $8 for students, and are available by calling (302) 644-1116 or through their Web site at www.SouthernDelawareChoralSociety.org. Seats are selling quickly, but there will be a will call list Sunday night, so any tickets not picked up by 6:45 p.m. will be sold.

A fundraiser dinner will be held at Del Tech following the concert. The choral society began this tradition a few years ago to raise money and offer audiences a venue to socialize and discuss the show.

Tickets cost $25 for adults, $12.50 for children ages 6 to 10 and free for children under 6. Contact Dan Tabler dantabler2@gmail.com for tickets or more information. Tickets will not be sold at the door.