For 50 years, the University Unitarian Church in Seattle put on a Handel’s Messiah Sing-along, Play-along on the day after Christmas. Yes, that’s 50 years! They packed the sanctuary to the rafters with singers and orchestra, and anyone could come and sing or play, just for the price of a ticket. The Messiah was a big fundraiser for the Lefty church’s music department. The church ladies made cookies and punch, to refresh the singers and players between parts, and after three solid hours everyone was happily exhausted. Both singers and players would come back year after year; we in the orchestra marveled at how well the pickup choir did on all the arias, recitatives, and choruses — sometimes we’d forget to play while listening to the singers!
In 2020, the Messiah was canceled, as indoor gatherings were prohibited. For the first time in 50 years, the Church regretfully cancelled the Messiah, denying their music program a huge source of funds. Well, this year’s Messiah has also been cancelled. This is what I received last week in my email.
|For 50 years, more than 400 singers and instrumentalists have performed Handel’s entire oratorio, all choruses and solos, every December 26th at University Unitarian Church.Under the baton of Conductor Karen P. Thomas, this beloved annual community event draws singers and musicians from around the area and from a wide range of spiritual traditions.So it is with a heavy heart, for the continued health and safety of instrumentalists and singers, we have cancelled the Messiah Sing-and-Play-Along for 2021.|
|Handel’s MessiahSing-and-Play-Alongcancelled for 2021, due to CovidOur low ticket prices, our wonderful refreshments, our door prizes, our fabulous volunteers and our fast pace through the score have always made the Messiah Sing-and-Play-Along a fun holiday tradition.We look forward to singing together again!To stay in touch, please follow us on Facebook.|
I’m very sorry they had to cancel again this year, but King County has instituted a Vaccine Mandate, requiring all indoor concert venues to admit only those who can prove that they have been fully vaccinated against the CCP Virus, or show a negative PCR test from within 72 hours. I don’t know whether there are any rules against choral singing, and I frankly don’t care. The Health Nazi of King County probably doesn’t give a hoot whether the church can hold its famous fundraiser, which raised spirits as well as funds.
What was that about destroying the village in order to save it? I think this is akin to destroying society in order to “save” it. But then, this is Seattle, where many welcome Medical Tyranny. Too bad the University Unitarian Messiah is another casualty. I played there every year for over 10 years, and I will miss hearing the choir, and playing with my regular stand partner.
[This post originally appeared on Ricochet.com, and was promoted to the Main Feed from the private Member Feed. I am in the picture at the top of the post, just to the right of the conductor, who can be seen at the right of the picture, on the podium. I played second stand of First Violins.]