08 david beale rU4kvQKjG2o unsplashCumberland Choral Arts — the name is new, but the organization is familiar. For 28 years the community has known them as Cumberland Oratorio Singers. December marks the end of a massive rebranding effort inspired by a subtle shift as the choir members realized they were performing a wide range of music and not just the traditional oratorios. Cumberland Choral Arts debuts its 2019 rendition of Handel’s “Messiah Singalong” Dec. 14 at First Presbyterian Church. Accompanied by the Campbellton Youth Choir, the free performance is open to the public. Because this is a singalong, the guests are invited to join the choir.

Messiah was composed by George Friderick Handel in 1741 over the course of just a few weeks and debuted in Dublin, Ireland, in 1742. The initial public reception was modest, but 277 years later it’s one of the most frequently performed and best-known choral works. The original performance included the entire life of the Messiah, from the birth of Jesus to the passion of the Christ. It’s been modified and shortened for Christmas performances, and for this performance, the choir will also perform traditional Christmas carols, merging secular songs with the sacred.

CCA was founded in 1991 by Allen Porter of Methodist University. Nearly three decades later, the nonprofit is thriving under the leadership of Jason Britt.

The group’s website notes, “Inspired by the joy of singing and hearing choral music, the Cumberland Oratorio Singers strive to be a premier symphonic chorus through the outstanding performance of choral masterworks. With a commitment to excellence and education for over 25 years, we work collaboratively with all singers to foster a vibrant, diverse, and interactive choral community, educate our singers and audiences, and extend our reach to the youth of Cumberland County and the Sandhills region.”

Handel’s Messiah, performed by Cumberland Choral Arts and special guests —the Campbellton Youth Choir, takes place Dec. 14, from 5-7 p.m. at First Presbyterian Church at 102 Ann Street in Fayetteville.
Season ticket holders will have reserved seats.

For more information visit www.cumberlandchoralarts.org or call 910-215-7046

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