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'A Fall Arts Celebration Holiday Gift'

Posted on November 29, 2010

The final performance of Grand Valley State University's Fall Arts Celebration 2010 will be a special performance in downtown Grand Rapids, where the community can come together to celebrate Grand Valley's 50th anniversary.

A Fall Arts Celebration Holiday Gift: George Frideric Handel's "Messiah" 
Monday, December 6, 8 p.m.,
Fountain Street Church, 24 Fountain Street NE, Grand Rapids.
The performance is free and open to the public.

Members of at least one organization have already made plans to attend. A group of 40-45 people from Visually Impaired Persons for Progress, the Grand Rapids Chapter of the Michigan Council for the Blind and Visually Impaired, has chosen the performance for their special holiday event. Organizer Mary Sibley said the event will be a special outing for many of their members, whose ages range from 20-60 years old.

The 80-minute performance of the first part of Handel's popular oratorio will bring together the University Arts Chorale, alumni members of that ensemble, and an orchestra consisting of faculty and students. Concluding with the always uplifting "Hallelujah" chorus, the piece is a fitting vehicle for celebration.

Performing the memorable solo arias will be Department of Music faculty members Kathryn Stieler, soprano; Dale Schriemer, baritone; Sandra Maytan, mezzo-soprano; and Min Jin, tenor. Last performed at Grand Valley in 1994, this rendition of "Messiah" will feature a 70-member chorus directed by Ellen Pool, associate professor of music. The orchestra and chorus will be conducted in performance by Henry E. Duitman, assistant professor of music. 

"Conceived for the concert hall, 'Messiah' was not performed in a church until eight years after its first performance in Dublin in 1742," said Danny Phipps, chair of Grand Valley’s Department of Music. "Grand Valley selected Fountain Street Church for the performance because it is an historic venue noted for beautiful acoustics, perfect for hearing this choral masterwork."

For more information about Grand Valley’s Fall Arts Celebration, call (616) 331-2180, or visit

Learn about Grand Valley’s 50 Anniversary at


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