Christmas came early to Charis Bible College earlier this month with a performance of holiday favorite George Frideric Handel’s “Messiah.”
The two-and-a-half hour performance featured the 120-member Colorado Springs Chorale under the direction of conductor Deborah Jenkins Teske and the Chamber Orchestra of the Springs. The concert drew a reported 1,230 guests to the college’s 3,100-seat auditorium.
“That was awesome,” said Charis Bible College founder and evangelist Andrew Wommack. “It’s a great way to start the Christmas season and reflect on the birth, death and resurrection of Jesus.”
Wommack shared with the crowd that he bought his first recording of “Messiah” in 1967 when he was 18. He added that the oratorio has meant a lot to him and his wife, Jamie, over the years.
The Chorale’s executive director, Peter Tuff, is a 2001 graduate of Charis Bible College (then known as Colorado Bible College). Tuff said it was a “big thrill” to perform the famous piece, which the famous composer completed in 1741. “For me to be up there performing Handel’s Messiah knowing how much this piece means to Andrew and Jamie was a special feeling,” Tuff said.
“Messiah,” while beloved, is not an easy piece to perform. It involves 53 movements in three parts.
Tuff planted the seed for the Handel performance a couple of years ago during a conversation he had with Jamie Wommack.
“She worked on it, and lo and behold here we are,” Tuff said. “We would like to come back here next year. We’re already talking about it.”
Tuff said he was initially concerned that the acoustics in the large auditorium at Charis might not be favorable for the musical performance.
“In spite of the fact that this is a more multi-purpose acoustic that’s really well designed for their theatrical productions, we were very happy how it turned out acoustically for us today,” Tuff said. “Acoustically, you can’t turn a place like this into Carnegie Hall, but it might as well have been.”
Founded in 1956, the Colorado Springs Chorale is the oldest continuously performing community organization for singers in Colorado. Next June, the Chorale will represent the United States as the official choir at the 2020 D-Day commemorations in Normandy, France.