Who Loves The Messiah?!

No, no … not that guy … Handel’s Messiah

Although that guy was pretty cool, this night was about my friend Lisa singing with The New Jersey Philharmonic Orchestra.

No, no … not that guy … Handel’s Messiah

Although that guy was pretty cool, last night was about my friend Lisa Valdez (Executive Director of Valdez Performing Arts Center in Hackensack, NJ) singing with The New Jersey Philharmonic Orchestra. I don’t often drive out to The Bergen Performing Arts Center in Englewood, NJ for a night at the opera. I do however hate that The John Harms Theater changed its name. But, anyway…

Leading up to the night, I found it difficult to share my second ticket. Not because people didn’t want to see The Messiah, rather everyone had holiday party plans. So I just kept asking, even offering the ticket for free. In the end my good friend Nelson Pla of the band clueLess agreed to come with me.

The performance was very powerful. I was moved by this new experience. An orchestra is an amazing invention. The myriad of sounds swimming from one side of the theater to the next and from one extreme of the sonic spectrum to the next. The minimal instrumentation juxtaposed with the dozens of moving voices. Think of it all as a piano with a different instrument or voice as the keys.

And that figure flailing front and center is playing this human piano. Did you know that the conductor is the most physically fit of all musicians? I know, I too would have thought a drummer or Mick Jagger or some other animated performer. But no, think about it. This guy stands through the entire two hour (or longer) piece with his arms up and moving the whole time. Yes, all that waving means something. In addition, he needs to know every single part.

As captivating as all of this was, the crowd was really moved during the big Hallelujah part. All of a sudden, everyone stood up as if they were in church. This would not have been so bad except for everyone attempting to sing along. Average white Americans singing along at the opera can be harsh. The applause was louder after that part than any other as well. I started laughing as Nelson leaned in and said, “What did you expect? This is the single.”

Congratulations to The New Jersey Philharmonic Orchestra (or NJ Phil for short) and my dear friend for this successful first concert. There are more concerts to come. The next one will be in April 2008 at Carnegie Hall. My only suggestion would be for them to have a proofreader go over the program before sending it to the printer. I won’t go into details, but let’s just say that I got a few good chuckles out if it.

See Also:
Bergen Performing Arts Center
New Jersey Philharmonic Orchestra
Valdez Performing Arts Center


One Response to “Who Loves The Messiah?!”

  1. Stephen Bailey
    12/25/07 at 11:50 pm #

    Lisa just let me know that the Carnegie Hall concert is happening in the Fall of ’08 where they’ll perform The Messiah. The April ’08 concert will be back at The Bergen PAC.

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