The Virgin Valley High School Orchestra and Choir performed Handel’s Messiah Dec. 10. Musicians and singers from the community joined in the performance.

No musical challenge is too daunting for the young musicians of Virgin Valley High School.

On Tuesday evening the guitarists, orchestra and choir of VVHS presented a seasonal concert of Baroque masters great compositions.  Most of the works chosen for the concert by VVHS Music Director Marie Palmer were familiar favorites that the audience readily recognized.

The VVHS Guitar and Chamber Guitar groups opened the evening with works by Pachelbel, Bach, and Handel.  The Orchestra and Chamber Orchestra then deftly performed concerto excerpts from Vivaldi and Corelli.

The highlight of the evening was performance of George Frideric Handel’s Messiah, an oratorio composition that prompted Beethoven to proclaim Handel, “the greatest composer who ever lived.”

Now, 250 years after Handel’s death, the Messiah is still an emotional inspiration with its uplifting messages. These musicians and Palmer must be thanked for sharing this precious gift of music with our community.

Handel first staged his composition in 1742 in Dublin, where it was received with awe. Born in Germany, Handel lived in London after about 1710. He was a something of a free-lance composer who didn’t depend heavily on commissions from monarchies and courtiers, like many of his contemporaries.  Operas and musical oratorios were  in vogue in this time, but Handel’s works eventually lost favor with the public.  He introduced the Messiah in Dublin to test audience reception after having failed to produce crowd-pleasing operas for the London crowd in prior years.

Originally an Easter performance, the Messiah was immediately hailed as a masterpiece, eventually becoming associated more closely with Christ’s birth. It is now a centerpiece of the Christmas celebration throughout the world.

The VVHS musicians were joined in this finale by a number of adult musicians from around the area, including lead members of Southern Nevada Symphony Orchestra, and members of several church and community choirs. Together, the musicians presented an inspired and  heartfelt interpretation of the music of Handel and the biblical story it recounts.  The instrumental and choral performances were exceptional, with outstanding soloists accenting the words of the biblical text with their devout and angelic voices.

Palmer, in spotlighting her young musicians, announced that six members of the VVHS choir have qualified to participate in a six-state student performance in Salt Lake City in 2020. The music students have raised funds to send those students to perform, and Mrs. Palmer thanks the Virgin Valley community for support and assistance in helping our Virgin Valley musicians display their talent in this regional gathering.  Please contact Palmer at VVHS, phone 702-346-5780, to help in this effort.