A Chicago holiday tradition since 1976, the Do-It-Yourself Messiah brings together a world-class conductor and soloists, an all-volunteer orchestra of local professionals and amateur musicians and thousands of chorus/audience in a thrilling performance of Handel’s masterpiece, Messiah.
ABOUT DO-IT-YOURSELF MESSIAH
The libretto of Messiah was given to George Frideric Handel by a patron, Charles Jennens, but the biblical passages were probably chosen by Jennens’ private chaplain, a Rev. Pooley. Jennens wanted it presented during Passion Week, although today it is most frequently performed during Advent. Handel composed the oratorio in just 25 days, between August 22 and September 14, 1741, a remarkable achievement.
According to contemporary reports, Handel’s popularity in London at the time was dimming. He accepted an invitation from the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland to present a season of oratorio performances in Dublin, which began in December 1741. Handel decided to first test his Messiah in public at the New Musick Hall on April 13, 1742, seven months after completion. It was immediately acclaimed, and the next year Messiah was performed in London at Covent Garden.
The music of Handel comes to life in Chicago every Christmas with his magnificent Messiah performed by an audience of thousands, featuring world-class soloists and a full orchestra of local amateur and professional musicians, all volunteering their time and talent.
This season marks the 46th year of The Do-It-Yourself Messiah. This Chicago tradition began when the late Al Booth, founder of the International Music Foundation, brought to America the musical heritage of the parishioners of a small country church in southern England. You – the chorus, the conductor, the soloists, and the orchestra – will fill this hall with glorious sounds first heard in the New Musick Hall on Fishamble Street, Dublin, in 1742.