Oratorio Society to perform “Messiah” October 18, 2020

LINDSBORG, KAN., September 23, 2020 – The Bethany Oratorio Society’s 2020 performance of Handel’s Messiah, originally planned for Easter Sunday last spring, will take place Sunday, October 18 at 3 pm in Presser Hall on the campus of Bethany College.

The spring performance was postponed due to Covid-19 and Artistic Director, Mark Lucas, has had to get creative to move forward in a manner safe for all participants. “I feel confident in our protocol and am looking forward to this special performance. I only wish we could have the entire group singing and playing” said Dr. Lucas. Lucas asked for volunteers and had so many responses he had to randomly choose 28 singers, the amount that can fit onstage while remaining socially distanced. Additionally, all singers will wear special “Singing Masks” at all times, and the reduced orchestra (fewer than 15 total players) will also be masked the majority of the time they are onstage. Other precautions include not having an audience (it will be live streamed), and requiring all participants to complete a health screen before the performance.

Featured soloists this fall include Bethany College’s own Professor Leslie Mangrum, soprano, and Katelyn Mattson-Levy, an accomplished mezzo-soprano who also serves as Classical Music Coordinator and weekday host for Radio Kansas. Lucas stated, “The performance itself will be scaled back to remain in compliance with current research indicating the need for a break in singing after a maximum of 45 minutes. It will be in two equal halves of 45 minutes each with a 20 minute intermission.” The concert, which will be livestreamed on Sunday, October 18 at 3:00 pm, will mark the 139th consecutive year that the Bethany Oratorio Society has performed Handel’s “Messiah.”  To watch the livestream, please visit www.bethanylb.edu/live

At this time the Oratorio Society plans to carry out the 2021 festival as planned during Holy Week 2021. For up-to-date information on both the fall 2020 and spring 2021 performances stay tuned to https://bethanylb.edu/music and/or www.messiahfestival.org

Bethany College, established by Swedish Lutheran immigrants in 1881, is a college of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. The mission of Bethany College is to educate, develop, and challenge individuals to reach for truth and excellence as they lead lives of faith, learning, and service. Bethany connects its past, present, and future with distinctive initiatives like the Good Life Scholarship, presenting all local high school graduates with a four-year, full- tuition scholarship to the college. Bethany College is on the Web at www.bethanylb.edu and is located in Lindsborg, Kansas, the fine arts and crafts capital of the state.