The Herring Chamber Ensemble circles back to one of the most popular works in the choral repertoire for its winter concert: “Messiah” by George Frideric Handel.
The ensemble will spotlight the 35-minute Part III of “Messiah” at its 3 p.m. performance on Sunday, Feb. 23 in Daniel Chapel at Furman University.
The 24-voice group is part of the larger Greenville Chorale, which featured Parts I and II of Handel’s choral masterwork in December 2018.
“This seemed a fine opportunity to present the rest of this work and also give it a different flavor with the smaller ensemble,” said Bing Vick, artistic director and conductor of the ensemble.
The Herring Chamber Ensemble is celebrated for its warm, beautiful sound and polished musicality.
A 12-member chamber orchestra will accompany the vocal ensemble, providing a glimpse of the way the work might have been performed in Handel’s time. Nancy Smith, the ensemble’s piano accompanist, will be featured on organ.
The first half of the ensemble’s program, meanwhile, will offer shorter contemporary works, including pieces by two Greenville-based composers: Dan Forrest and Mark Kilstofte.
“I thought it would make an interesting program to combine an old baroque work by Handel with contemporary music,” Vick said.
Also on the program is John Tavener’s “Song for Athene,” which gained notice after it was performed at the funeral of Diana, Princess of Wales, in September 1997.
Tavener’s haunting “Svyati” (“O Holy One”) will spotlight guest cellist Yuri Leonovich.
Two pieces by Eric Whitaker, one of the most popular of contemporary choral composers, will also be featured.
“I think we’ll leave everyone with a smile on their face,” Vick said. “The ensemble sounds terrific. The singers are all excellent musicians and they really rise to any challenge. It should be a great concert.”
The Herring Chamber Ensemble, sponsored by Sarah and Gordon Herring, was founded by Vick in 1997. Now in his 39th season as conductor of the ensemble and the Greenville Chorale, Vick retired from Furman University in 2010 after a 40-year career as director of the Furman Singers.
If you go
What: Herring Chamber Ensemble Winter Concert: “Music of Then and Now”
When: 3 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 23
Where: Daniel Chapel at Furman University
Info: Tickets sold by the Peace Center: 864-467-3000 or www.peacecenter.org