Local choir to present "Messiah" on December 8

The Mebane Community Choir will present the Christmas portions of George Frideric Handel’s master oratorio, Messiah, on Sunday afternoon December 8 at 3:00 p.m. in the sanctuary of the Mebane Presbyterian Church, 402 South Fifth Street in Mebane. The performance will include all of Part I and portions of Part II, including the Hallelujah chorus, and conclude, as Handel originally intended, with Worthy is the Lamb and the great Amen choruses. A public reception will follow the concert in McSween Hall in the church’s historic Baker Building (1914) adjacent to the church.

The Mebane Community Choir will present the Christmas portions of George Frideric Handel’s master oratorio, Messiah, on Sunday afternoon December 8 at 3:00 p.m. in the sanctuary of the Mebane Presbyterian Church, 402 South Fifth Street in Mebane.

The performance will include all of Part I and portions of Part II, including the Hallelujah chorus, and conclude, as Handel originally intended, with Worthy is the Lamb and the great Amen choruses. 

A public reception will follow the concert in McSween Hall in the church’s historic Baker Building (1914) adjacent to the church.

The choir, comprised of choristers from across Alamance, Guilford, and Orange counties, will perform under the artistic direction of Maestro Sam Doyle of Greensboro, NC and with the accompaniment of Mr. W. Thomas “Tom” Jones of Mebane, NC on the 35-rank Casavant Frères organ.

Vocal soloists are Amy Dudley and Liza Hawkins, Mebane, NC, sopranos; Kayla Brotherton, alto, Greensboro, NC; Sean Toso, tenor, Greensboro, NC; and Jeff Smith, bass, Mebane, NC.

In addition to the organist and solo singers, James Dickens and Zac Lee, both of Greensboro, NC, will perform on trumpets, and Ian Jones, Mebane, NC, on timpani. 

This year’s concert is dedicated to Dorothy Evelyn Brigman “Dot” Sutton (1931 – 2019), the genius behind the resurgence of this beautiful community tradition 28 years ago.

Messiah in Mebane is a tradition that extends midway back into the previous century.  The late Dr. George Bullard, M.D. of Mebane organized the first community performance of Messiah in the 1951 Christmas season.  The community presented the Oratorio annually into the 1970s.  This year’s performance will be the 51st presentation and the 27th consecutive performance since Messiah in Mebane’s revival in 1991.

The revival of the tradition of Messiah in Mebane choir is the result of the determination and single-minded commitment of long-time Mebane resident, Dot Sutton. A native of Robeson County and a graduate of Meredith College, Dot moved to Mebane in the 1950s to begin her career as a music educator at the former Mebane High School, and later at Eastern Alamance High School. One of the first persons to reach out to her when she moved to Mebane was Dr. George Bullard.

Dr. Bullard organized the first community performance of Messiah in Mebane sixty-nine years ago in the 1951 Christmas season.  The community presented the Oratorio annually until Dr. Bullard’s untimely death in 1973. Upon her retirement in 1991, Dot resolved to bring back the Messiah tradition.