Every year CAMMAC’s Ottawa-Gatineau Chapter invites the public to participate in a performance of the great ‘Messiah’ oratorio by G.F. Handel. The event, which has become known under the name ‘Come Sing Messiah’, takes place on the first Friday in December. It always draws a capacity crowd of over 700 singers and an audience of 300. The people singing in the choir are supported by professional musicians making up the rest of the cast, i.e., the orchestra musicians, the organist, soloists and the conductor. Over its long history this concert has become an important part of the community’s Christmas season.
Preparations for the concert include three rehearsals for the singers. The rehearsals are optional and take place on the three Saturdays preceding the main event. They give singers the opportunity to learn or re-learn the 14 or so choruses that are chosen for that year’s performance.
The popularity of both the concert and the rehearsals is due in large part to their charismatic leaders. Alan Thomas conducts the rehearsals and also serves as the organist during the concert. Louis Lavigueur conducts the event itself. Both have now served us in these roles for over 20 years.
The year 2012 marked both the 36th public performance of ‘Come Sing Messiah’ in Ottawa and the 25th anniversary of CAMMAC’s role in producing the event. A video of the 2011 performance of the Hallelujah chorus is here.