It is that time of year again—a Guatemala City rehearsal hall fills with the sounds of celestial music as preparations begin for one of the Christmas season’s most-anticipated events in Guatemala: the annual performance of Handel’s Messiah.
For the sixth year in a row, the Guatemala Community Chorus will be joined by members of the National Symphony and soloists from Guatemala and the United States to perform Messiah and what has become as popular as the main portion of the production—a series of Christmas encores that always leaves the audience asking for more.
Rehearsals for this year’s production started in September under the baton of Director Debby Lyttle. One hundred volunteer choir members, many of whom have sung in all productions to date, join every Sunday afternoon for the rehearsals. “This is my favorite time of year,” said one choir member. “To sing Messiah is a sublime experience, regardless of one’s religious beliefs. It is some of the most beautiful music ever composed.”
The Christmas encore portion will include audience favorites O Holy Night, a hauntingly beautiful and rarely performed modern version of Ave María, Joy to the World and others.
The choir and orchestra will be joined by Guatemalan baritone Carlos Cardona and three professional soloists from the United States: soprano J.J. Hobbs, tenor Sam Lowry and mezzo-soprano Liz Cass.
This year the Messiah performances will benefit two charities aimed at educating children: Centro Vocacional San José, which works with teenagers in Guatemala City’s most dangerous neighborhoods, and Caridades de San Vicente de Paul, which works with children, women and seniors.
Messiah performances will be held December 1 at the National Theater in Guatemala City and on December 2 in the chapel of Hotel Casa Santo Domingo in La Antigua Guatemala.
Prices for tickets are Q150 for platea and Q50 for balcón in the National Theatre, and in Antigua Q200 for preferential seating and Q150 for general seating. Tickets can be purchased at Joyería del Ángel and Casa Santo Domingo in Antigua and in Chocolatería y Cafetería ZURICH, 6 av. 12-52, z. 10, Sophos Book Shop, 12 calle y 4 av, z. 10, and Instituto Guatemalteco-Americano, z. 4, Guatemala City. For additional information, tel: 2331-2336.