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The KPAC Blog features classical music news, reviews, and analysis from South Texas and around the world. To listen to KPAC 88.3 FM, simply open the player in the gray ribbon at the top of this page and choose KPAC: Classical Music.

San Antonio Mastersingers Take On Handel's "The Messiah"

San Antonio Mastersingers
San Antonio Mastersingers

The San Antonio Mastersingers are about to begin a series of performances that have become a San Antonio holiday tradition. They are teaming with the San Antonio Symphony for George Frideric Handel's "The Messiah."

"We begin our series of four concerts on Friday, December 6 at 7 p.m. at the United University Methodist Church," said Mastersinger and Board Member Chancey Blackburn. "On Saturday we perform at the beautiful Basilica of the Little Flower and on Sunday we’ve got two performances -- one is at 2 p.m and that is at the Coker United Methodist Church, and Sunday evening at Trinity Baptist at 7 p.m."

"The Messiah" was written in 1741 and has had incredible staying power.

"Handel wrote it in 21 days in a real fever of inspiration," said Mastersingers Director John Silantien. "He just went into a room and wrote this monumental piece in a few days."

What is it like singing "The Messiah"?

"Handel decided he really wanted to challenge his singers," Blackburn said, "so there are lots and lots of fugues spread throughout the movements in the overall work."

For those of us who aren’t musicians, a fugue is:

"It’s a tremendous number of votes very quickly intertwined with the four different parts of the chorus singing around each other and then we all end at the same time with a big chord," Blackburn said.