To produce inspiring community-based performing arts events
featuring skilled non-professional performers who love their
community as much as they love their art."
A Bit of History;
The First Messiah, Handel's operatic career, was in a lull when
Charles Jennens approached him with the idea of composing an
oratorio based on the Scriptural prophecies concern the coming of
the Christ, the Messiah. Jennens himself culled those prophetic
Scriptures from the Bible and took them to Handel himself. Using
text from the Authorized (King James) Version of the Bible, Handel
gained inspiration from these Scriptures and set to work in August
1741 to compose this magnificent oratorio, obviously subject to
intense divine inspiration. He completed the whole work in
twenty-two days and remarked “I did think I did see all Heaven
before me, and the Great God Himself."
Messiah was met with eager ears at its debut on April 13, 1742 in
Dublin Ireland. He had staged a public rehearsal the day before its
premier, creating quite a buzz. It is said that hundreds of people
were turned away due to lack of space. At its debut, Messiah was
actually titled A Sacred Oratorio and all its proceeds were donated
to local charities and hospitals for the mentally ill at the request
of Jonathan Swift, Dean of St. Patrick's Cathedral.
During the first performance of Messiah in London, upon hearing the
"Hallelujah Chorus" movement of "Messiah", King George II of England
was reputedly so overcome with emotion that he spontaneously rose to
his feet. He was reportedly moved in particular by the lyrics from
Revelation Ch 15: “The Kingdoms of this world have become the
Kingdoms of our Lord and of His Christ. When the king stands,
everyone stands, so the audience immediately rose also. The
tradition of standing for the chorus is still observed today in most
live performances of "Messiah".
After the success of Messiah, Handel never again composed or
conducted a secular opera. He also never in his life conducted a
Messiah performance during the Christmas season, only during the
Celebrate Messiah Event History;
Possibly the first presentation of Messiah ever witnessed in the
Temecula Valley was held in December 1977. The organizers of the
event were Chuck and Madge Griffing through their nonprofit
organization Rancho Music Association. The first Messiah was a
collaboration of singers mainly from 3 congregations: Rancho
Community Church, St Catherin's Catholic Church, and Rancho Baptist
Church. The event was held on 2 consecutive weekends in these 3
churches, accompanied only by piano and organ. The performance
feature 3 choruses: And the Glory of the Lord, For Unto Us a Child
Is Born, and the Hallelujah chorus.
The first RMA (Rancho Music Association) presentation of Messiah was
well received, so the Griffing's purposed to make it an annual
Christmas “kick-off event" for the Temecula Valley community. The
presentation grew in quantity of songs and participants and in
musical quality, especially after the debut of the Griffing's
original Temeculi Temecula in 1982.
Because the majority of singers and instrumentalists have been from
area churches, the Celebrate Messiah concert has always been an
ecumenical celebration. Over the years, a variety of churches have
provided the venue for this annual Christmastide event, including
Grace Presbyterian Church, Elsinore Lutheran Church, Calvary Chapel
of Murrieta, Temecula United Methodist Church, and others. Also,
choirs from churches outside the Temecula Valley have made the
pilgrimage to Temecula to participate in Celebrate Messiah. In order
to help locals and out-of towners “save the date." Year in and year
out, Celebrate Messiah is traditionally performed on the first
Sunday of December, with the dress-rehearsal held the Saturday night
before the big Event.
From its humble beginnings in 1977, today's Celebrate Messiah
features an orchestra of 30 and choir of 60 (including 6 soloists)
from every age-group, performing 22 selections from Handel's
Messiah, under the direction of Barry and Steve Griffing. All
participants volunteer their time and musical gifts.
How We're Organized;
Last Fall, Celebrate Messiah came within the framework of
Community Artists Network, a 501(c) 3 Public Benefit Organization,
incorporated in the State of California. As such we can receive
tax-deductible contributions from charitable donors.
By phone; 310-901-6264. By email; at
mail; 40037 Temple Court, Murrieta CA 92563.
Upcoming Events (Free Admission);
Sunday December 8, 4:00 PM
Grace Presbyterian Church
31143 Nicholas Rd, Temecula CA 92591
To current Celebrate Messiah Singers and Instrumentalists;
SAVE THE DATE! Celebrate Messiah 2019 will be held for the 6th
straight year at GRACE PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH on SUNDAY DECEMBER 8 at
4:00 PM. This is your official invitation to be a part of the
Temecula Valley's longest running annual performing arts event. The
first Celebrate Messiah performance featured 3 Messiah choruses
performed at Rancho Community Church in December 1977, conducted by
Madge Griffing. This year's concert, featuring 15 choruses and 8
solos from Handel's masterwork, will be our 42nd annual Celebrate
Messiah. We estimate that between 1,500 and 2,000 musicians from our
community have participated in Celebrate Messiah over the years.
This year's program is a bit trimmed back from last year's 1 hour 50
minute performance but includes such perennial favorites such as;
And the Glory of the Lord - And He Shall Purify - For Unto Us a
Child Is Born
All We Like Sheep - Lift Up Your Heads - Hallelujah Chorus - Worthy
Is the Lamb
We estimate that this year's program will run about 1 hour 20
minutes (not counting intermission).
As in previous seasons, our Fall Messiah Rehearsals will be held
TUESDAYS 7:15 Ã¢â‚¬â€œ 8:45 pm at;
GRACE PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH
31143 Nicolas Road, Temecula CA 92591
Beginning October 15 and running through Tuesday December 3. There
is no rehearsal Tuesday November 26 . . . Thanksgiving Week. We are
doing something different with this year's rehearsal: the October 22
through November 2 rehearsals will concentrate on SATB Sectional
Rehearsals, led by Barbara Meinke, Pam Frisbie, Barry Griffing, and
Bernard Jones, concentrating on difficult Messiah passages.
As we did last year, we will be offering the “LEARN HANDEL'S MESSIAH." These CD's include every Messiah chorus, even the
ones we're not performing, with your particular vocal part pumped in
volume, a great tool for learning your part. We custom-press each CD
for each individual order. If you want one, phone or text Barry Griffing to order your copy of LEARN HANDEL'S MESSIAH; of course,
tell us if you are Soprano, Alto, Tenor, or Bass. (You can also
order your CD by responding to this email.) Those who pre-order
their CD's before October1 will receive their copy during during at
the first rehearsal October 15.
To Newcomer Singers and Instrumentalists;
Requirements for New Choir members.
Must be punctual to Tuesday 7:15 PM rehearsals from 10/15 through
Must obtain a Messiah choral book and bring it to Tuesday PM
rehearsals. Easiest way to order: go to amazon.com, type "Messiah
choral music" in search-box; choose "The Messiah: an Oratorio for
4-Part Chorus of Mixed Voices," published by G. Schirmer, Inc."
currently listed at $7.94. Before 12/8, you must obtain a black
folder to keep your choral book in.
Must obtain a LEARN HANDEL'S MESSIAH CD in your part and listen to
it daily, especially if this is your first Messiah.
Requirements for New Orchestra Members;
Must be at least 12 years old.
Contact CM Orchestra Conductor BRAD BOHN at Temecula Conservatory of
Music (temeculaconservatory.com) or at 951-710-4330 to set up an
Must have or obtain Messiah sheet music for your instrument. You can
order Messiah music for your instrument from Celebrate Messiah;
phone 310-901-6264 for a quote.
Must be punctual to the 2 Choir/Orchestra rehearsals to be help at
Grace Presbyterian Church, 31143 Nicolas Rd, Temecula CA 92591, on
Tuesday 11/11/19 at 7:15 PM and Saturday 12/7/19 at 9 AM.
Requirements for Returning Veteran Singers or Instrumentalists;
CM Veteran = you have not participated in Celebrate Messiah for at
least one year AND you have participated in at least 2 Messiah
concerts in the past 10 years.
Must be punctual to the Midterm Choir/Orchestra with Steve Griffing
on Tuesday 11/11/2019 at 7:15 PM.
Must be punctual to the Final Choir/Orchestra with Steve Griffing on
Saturday 12/7/2019 at 9:00 AM.
Any other questions? Call Event Director Barry Griffing at