No hoops or swords: Handel’s Messiah comes to Kitty Hawk

By on November 24, 2015

John Buford directs a community chorus for a performance of Handel’s Messiah, set for Sunday at Holy Redeemer by the Sea in Kitty Hawk. Photo by Loretta Fertal, courtesy of ECCS.

Concerned that the 1742 Dublin premier of Handel’s Messiah would be too crowded, concertgoers were advised to leave their hoops and swords at home to remedy the situation.

Although last year’s inaugural performance drew an impressive audience, thankfully fashion has changed, and hoops and swords shouldn’t be a problem for Eastern Carolina Concert Society’s 2015 performance of Handel’s Messiah on Sunday at 4 p.m. at Holy Redeemer by the Sea in Kitty Hawk.

The concert will feature more than 40 area singers and musicians and is being directed by John Buford, music educator with Dare County Schools.

“Local talent and Handel’s masterpiece will take center stage at the concert,” remarked Buford. “The chorus you’ll hear was formed just for this performance. We really enjoyed ourselves last year and look forward to another rousing performance!”

Concert supporters agree. “We are very excited to be sponsoring the Messiah once again on the Outer Banks,” said Phyllis Porcher, Eastern Carolina Concert Society president. “And it is a treat to perform it again at Holy Redeemer Catholic Church. They were very hospitable to host us not only for the performance but for Saturday rehearsals the month of November as well.”

A full string orchestra accompanies the performance with solos performed by local musicians, many with backgrounds in opera. According to Buford this is ideal since Handel’s work closely resembles the musical styles found in the opera of his time.

Manteo resident Tshombe Selby will be performing the tenor solos. Tshombe received a degree in music performance from Elizabeth City State University where he was a touring member of the ECSU choir.  He has also studied music at Christopher Newport University.  Tshombe is currently living in New York City where he is pursuing his career goal to perform with the Metropolitan Opera in New York City. He has studied with Metropolitan Opera vocal and diction coaches.

The alto soloist is Elaine “Lainie” Walls Reed. She studied voice and piano with the late Edwin Lewis in New Castle, Pa., and later studied voice with Jonathan Reinhold in eastern Pennsylvanian’s Berks County.  She holds a bachelor of science in English from Indiana University of Pennsylvania, a master of arts in English from Kutztown University, and a doctorate in mass media and communication from Temple University. In 2013, she retired to the Outer Banks after 37 years of high school and university teaching.  She is a member of the Outer Banks Chorus and active in Kitty Hawk United Methodist Church music and other ministries.

Deborah “Deb” Kasten, a professional opera singer who makes her home on the Outer Banks, is singing the soprano solos. Kasten holds a bachelor’s degree of music from Southern Illinois University and a master’s degree of music from the University of Arizona. She has performed as an artist in residence in both Illinois and North Carolina. Career performance highlights have led her to venues in France, Germany, Austria and the United States. As a member of the National Association of Teachers of Singing, Kasten maintains a private studio on the Outer Banks teaching voice, piano and violin. She also teaches strings for the Dare Youth Orchestra at both First Flight Elementary and Kitty Hawk Elementary Schools.

Director and bass soloist John Buford maintains a private piano studio and is choir director/accompanist at Holy Redeemer by the Sea. Buford received a masters in music from Morehead State University (Kentucky). He is a National Board certified teacher.

The Messiah, sponsored by the Eastern Carolina Concert Society, is scheduled for Sunday, November 29, 2015, at 4 p.m., Holy Redeemer by the Sea Catholic Church, 301 West Kitty Hawk Road in Kitty Hawk.  The concert is free and the public is invited to attend.

The Eastern Carolina Concert Society, a 501(c)(3) organization, was established in 2002 to highlight local talent. Concerts presented by Eastern Carolina Concert Society are free admission, but donations are welcome.

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