A small sample of an 18th century oratorio filled a downtown Orangeburg business Monday, leaving patrons in awe and ready for Christmas.
About one-third of the 60-member Claflin University Concert Choir performed a condensed version of George Frederic Handel’s “Hallelujah Chorus” from his “Messiah,” written in 1741.
Stephanie Carson and daughter Shumonda McLone, both of Orangeburg, were about half finished with their meal at Ferse’s Luncheonette when they and other customers were treated to the blended vocal harmonies of the concert choir.
“It’s like God empowered them to have that voice, not just to sing for themselves but for everyone,” Carson said.
“That’s God’s doings,” she added.
The choir members eased into Ferse’s Monday afternoon, joining together for a “flash mob” performance in the aisles before heading to the luncheonette.
Carson dines at Ferse’s about twice a week. Having a mini-performance by trained choral students made a tasty lunch even better.
“It’s very inspirational,” she said. “You can tell they are into it and they’ve studied hard.”
McLone said after listening to the choir, “You can feel that the holidays are here. They sound good.”
Carson said she’s attended events at the City of Orangeburg’s Stevenson Auditorium in the past, but she’s never watched the annual “Messiah” performance by the Claflin University Concert Choir, local church choirs and members of the community.
All of that’s going to change.
Carson said it didn’t take much to convince her that she wouldn’t want to miss the concert at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 3, at Stevenson Auditorium. The event is free and open to the public.
The concert is under the direction of Claflin University’s Director of Choral Studies Dr. Isaiah McGee.
First soprano Alisha Frier, a senior from Greenbelt, Md., said, “This is supposed to be a great, fantastic ‘Messiah’ this year. I’m excited.”
Tenor Aaron Bradley, a junior from Eutawville, said he’s looking forward to singing with various community members.
Although he’s a junior, this is Bradley’s fourth year participating in the performance. He sang with the university’s concert choir his senior year at Lake Marion High School.
Next week’s concert is presented by the Downtown Orangeburg Revitalization Association and Claflin University with additional support from the City of Orangeburg and The Moore Group, DORA Executive Director Jennifer S. Hoesing said.
“In the spirit of getting the word out about ‘Messiah,’ we thought this would be a fun way to do it,” Hoesing said of the choir’s mini-performance at Ferse’s 5 & 10.
“We’re always excited to show off Orangeburg’s unique assets and I don’t think it gets any more unique than Ferse’s,” she added.
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