One of the choirs in Newcastle is extending a warm invitation to local vocalists, inviting them to participate in a workshop centred on the first part of one of the most renowned choral compositions in history.

Handel’s “Messiah,” a masterpiece that vividly portrays the life events of Jesus Christ, encompassing his birth, crucifixion, and resurrection, is a composition nearly universally recognized. Its memorable “Hallelujah” chorus and exquisite arias, some of which have achieved independent fame, make this work an iconic musical treasure.

With the piece’s popularity over the Christmas period, the event promises to be a great way to kick off the festive season and meet other enthusiastic singers in the area.

Simon Lee, Cappella’s conductor, will lead this session, accompanied by Drew Cantrill-Fenwick. The workshop will take place on Saturday 2 December from 11 am, where participants will join the choir for guidance on vocal technique and stamina, as well as fascinating insight on the historical and cultural context of Handel’s masterpiece. The day will culminate in an informal performance, featuring young, local soloists at 4 pm which anyone is welcome to watch.

“With its fast melismatic runs, Messiah is as much a workout for the chorus as the soloists. All four voice parts get the chance to fly up and down runs and sequences. There must have been a certain tongue-in-cheek smile on Handel’s face as he wrote, “his yoke is easy”, and yet this oratorio remains a firm favourite for over 280 years since its first performances in Dublin. The reason for this, I am sure, is because, with work, great enjoyment can be found in performing these technically challenging passages as part of a choir. A choir whose membership is as friendly and supportive as Cappella is a great place for this.”

Simon Lee, Musical Director of Cappella Newcastle

“I’m thrilled that we are able to throw open the doors of Cappella and share the experience of singing Handel’s masterwork with singers in the Newcastle area. Members of Cappella are all ordinary people who foster a love of music, especially singing with others, and we are always pleased to meet other people who share our passion for choral music. Under the supportive tutelage of our fantastic Musical Director, Simon Lee, this is bound to be a revelatory and fun singing experience for all who take part. I for one can’t wait!”

Sarah Lawrance, Chair of Cappella Newcastle

Cappella Workshop: Come and Sing Messiah

Saturday 2 December 2023, 11 am

St James’s URC, Northumberland Road, Newcastle upon Tyne, NE1 8JF

£20 Booking:

Handel’s Messiah is one of the all-time great choral works – known to everyone. Cappella Newcastle are delighted to be presenting the work in its entirety in the spring of 2024. However, before then and as a first foray into its pages you are invited to join us for a workshop on Part I. With its focus on Christmas, this is a great way to get into the festive spirit and meet other enthusiastic singers.

Simon Lee, Cappella’s conductor will lead this session, accompanied by Drew Cantrill-Fenwick. There will be a focus on vocal technique and stamina as well as explanations of the historical and cultural context of Handel’s masterpiece.

The workshop will take place on Saturday 2nd December, beginning with registration at 11 am and culminating in an informal performance, featuring young, local soloists at 4 pm to which anyone is welcome to join. Some scores will be available for hire, but participants are very welcome to use their own (the preferred edition is the Watkins Shaw – new orange and white Novello).

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