The Fayetteville Symphony Orchestra and the Cumberland Oratorio Singers will join in song to bring Handel’s Messiah to Galatia Presbyterian Church in Fayetteville, Sunday, Dec. 15 at 4 p.m. It is the 6th Annual Messiah Sing, where everyone is welcome to bring their Messiah scores, sit in the audience and join in song together with the choir. Admission is free. 


“We really encourage people to bring their scores, stand up and sit down with the choir where it’s appropriate, and
sing along,” said Michael Martin,
director of choral activities and music education at Methodist University and this year’s conductor.


“Handel’s Messiah is kind of unique and non-unique at the same time in that — it’s a community sing, which is done all over the world,” said Martin. “Everybody knows the “Hallelujah” chorus, and we only do the first part because it follows the birth, life and death of Jesus, which is an appropriate part to do at Christmas time.    


“I think it’s kind of right that the Fayetteville Symphony Orchestra and the Cumberland Oratorio Singers do this together, because they’ve been playing together for quite some time,” said Martin. “It’s good for the community to know that their arts organizations are working together and it makes for a big house.” 


The partnership between the Fayetteville Symphony Orchestra and the Cumberland Oratorio Singers is actually broad and goes beyond the Messiah. “We do this, and then we do a large work in the Spring together,” said Martin. “We’re always trying to find opportunities in which the partnership will benefit both groups. They get a chance to pull some of our audience, we pull some of their audiences, and when we get together, we have both of our audiences sitting in the same place.”    


Martin was appointed Artistic Director and Conductor of the Cumberland Oratorio Singers in 2008 and has been alternating with Fouad Fakhouri, another conductor in the music department at Methodist University, for the past five years. Due to the way the graduation calendar worked out last year for Martin, Fakhouri ended up conducting Messiah for the past two years in a row. Martin is excited to have the opportunity to conduct this year. 


“The reason we do this is because we’ve always considered the Messiah Sing to be a gift back to the community,” said Martin. “We don’t want money to be the reason people don’t come and experience this. 


“We just want people to come,” Martin continued. “We want it to be a gift for the community, and we’ve always called it that.” 


For more information, please contact: Julia Atkins, orchestra personnel and marketing manager for the Fayetteville Symphony Orchestra, at P.O. Box 53234, Fayetteville, NC 28305 or 


The Galatia Presbyterian Church is located at 8800 Galatia Church Rd., Fayetteville, NC 28304.      

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