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December 20, 2014

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Local singers get ready for ‘Messiah’ performances

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Mona Shield Payne / Special to the Home News

Conductor Marek Rachelski raises his hand to direct the chorus while he plays the piano during rehearsal for the Peoples Valley Chorus’ third annual “Do-It-Yourself Handel’s Messiah” at Green Valley Presbyterian Church.

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Members of the Peoples Valley Chorus sing "Glory to God" during rehearsal for the third annual "Do-It-Yourself Handel's Messiah" at Green Valley Presbyterian Church.

'Messiah' performance

WHAT: Third Annual Do-It-Yourself Handel's "Messiah"

WHEN: 7 p.m. Dec. 10

WHERE: Green Valley Presbyterian Church, 1798 Wigwam Parkway

COST: $15 suggested donation to benefit the St. Therese Center in Henderson

INFO: 454-8484

'Messiah' performance

WHAT: Henderson Symphony Orchestra's "Messiah" with the Coronado and Silverado high school choirs

WHEN: 7 p.m. Dec. 11

WHERE: Henderson Convention Center, 200 S. Water St.

COST: Free

INFO: 267-2171 or www.hendersonsymphony.org

When you're a singer, there's no greater height than Handel's "Messiah," said Henderson tenor Keith Rowley.

He and 40 other Peoples Valley Chorus singers will present the third annual do-it-yourself performance Dec. 10.

It will be one of two "Messiah" performances in Henderson. The Henderson Symphony Orchestra will perform the holiday classic the following night at the downtown Henderson Convention Center.

It will feature choral groups from Coronado and Silverado high schools as well as guests artists Athena Mertes, Juline Gilmore, Alfonse Anderson and Tod Fitzpatrick.

"It's the most amazing piece of choral music ever written," said Rowley, who has performed it on and off for 30 years.

For the all-volunteer Peoples Valley Chorus, it can be a vocal stretch. Amber Cronin, who lives in Anthem, received her vocal performance degree from the University of the Pacific. But she spends her days on water as a gondolier at The Venetian Las Vegas.

She hopes to get back into performance.

"The ornamental style is difficult and the complexity of the soprano parts," Cronin said after a recent Green Valley Presbyterian Church practice.

Betty Smith of Henderson may not be able to stand through the performance, but she wants to try. Smith had back surgery last year and still has some pain.

"I was a soloist years ago," said Smith, who is retired. "So this is my comeback."

All of these hopes are focused on Conductor Marek Rachelski, the music director for Opera Las Vegas and Green Valley Presbyterian Church. He also directs the diocesan choir at Guardian Angel Cathedral in Las Vegas.

The local singers have the experience and the voices, he said, and they have the heart to donate their time for the six rehearsals before the event. He said the challenge is a draw for local singers.

"And the idea of doing it for charity makes it more meaningful," said Rachelski, who has been involved in "Messiah" productions for 15 years. This is the third season of the Peoples Valley Chorus.

Rachelski would like to raise $3,000 at the 7 p.m. performance at the 1798 Wigwam Parkway church to benefit the St. Therese Center in Henderson, which serves the Clark County HIV/AIDS community.

The 2006 performance collected $4,000, which was followed by a drop last year.

A $15 donation is requested. Scores will also be on sale for $10. Gift baskets will also be raffled.

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