It’s a holiday tradition that’s been around longer than the Saskatoon Symphony Orchestra. A celebration of Handel’s famous work with incredible musicians, celebrated soloists, a full choir and… YOU!
McKenzie Warriner will make her SSO debut this weekend. (Sam Gaetz)
Messiah & Sing-Along Messiah return to Knox United Church, after a 3-year break, to celebrate the 109th performance. Among the soloists is Saskatchewan soprano McKenzie Warriner who won the 2020 Gordon Wallace Opera Competition. Part of her win was a chance to perform with the SSO. It’s a concert she’s been looking forward to for a long time.
“What I love about Messiah is musically, there’s something for everyone’s taste; slow, beautiful legato lines and fiery passages,” says Warriner. “As a singer, I can add embellishments to this beautiful musical painting Handel’s created.
“Regardless of your ability, it’s really important to make music. It’s good for your soul.”
Spencer McKnight says the highlight of his season is singing with the audience at the Messiah Sing-Along. (Julie Isaac Photography)
This is actually a pair of concerts featuring Warriner, Oli Gusselle (alto), Spencer McKnight (tenor), Brenden Friesen (bass), under the direction of guest conductor Cosette Justo Valdés. The Friday night performance is a 3-hour blockbuster performed by the professionals. On Saturday afternoon, the audience will take centre stage as they join the chorus. Sheet music is provided and everyone is invited to make a joyful noise.
“As a performer in the sing-along, we get to experience the orchestra, the choir behind us and the audience in front of us,” says McKnight. “It’s my favourite concert of the year! Communal singing is not something we get to do all the time. Regardless of your ability it’s really important to make music. It’s good for your soul. It’s an honour to perform this piece with the SSO. When people look back 100 years from now, they’ll see my name in the program.”