Welcome to Celebrate Messiah! Featuring Our Christmas 2019 Presentation of


Live Performance with Full Orchestra, Free Admission, Come and Join us!

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Performance: Sunday, December 8, 2019 at 4:00 PM
Grace Presbyterian Church
31143 Nicholas Rd, Temecula CA 92591


(This website is UNDER CONSTRUCTION and will be completed in a few days, check back soon!)



In the meantime, for performance information and schedule, contact;

Phone: 310.901.6264 or by email at: celebratemessiah@yahoo.com



Our Purpose Statement;

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 Spring.

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.

Contact Us;

By phone; 310-901-6264. By email; at celebratemessiah@yahoo.com, By 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

Get Involved;

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 – 8:45 pm at;

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 12/3/19

> 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 interview/audition.

> 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 310-901-6264.


Copyright 2019, Celebrate Messiah