Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Can you Handel this? Symphony, chorus team up in Ventura County to bring the Messiah to life

The New West Symphony Chorus rehearses Wednesday night for weekend performances of Selections from Handel's Messiah.
Lance Orozco
The New West Symphony Chorus rehearses Wednesday night for weekend performances of Selections from Handel's Messiah.

New West Symphony, New West Symphony chorus perform doing a Messiah-fest over the weekend.

Some iconic classical music is going to be performed this weekend in a pair of Ventura County concerts which bring together a symphony orchestra, a sixty person chorus and four soloists.

"The New West Symphony chorus, which is a group I've been directing for the past couple of years, we're collaborating with the New West Symphony on two performances of Handel's Messiah, the full thing," said Wyant Morton.

He's Director of the New West Symphony Chorus, and a music professor at California Lutheran University in Thousand Oaks. "People usually just think it's a Christmas thing, and they hear those Christmas choruses, but this is the full oratorial that Handel wrote for the Easter season."

Morton says what makes the performance unique is that while the orchestra is made up of professional musicians, chorus members are people from the community.
It’s exciting for members of the chorus, who sing for fun. Among them Kevin and Marianne Droney of Westlake Village. He’s a screenwriter, and she’s software engineer. Marianne calls singing a relaxing hobby.

"32 years (of singing for me," said Kevin. "Something like that (for me). I sang in college, and pretty much continuously since then," said Marianne. "I'm not going to say on the air how long ago that was."
The orchestra and chorus will perform under the baton of the New West Symphony’s Grammy Award winning Artistic and Music Director Michael Christie.

"If folks come to hear the Messiah this weekend, they are going to hear a very personal telling of these stories," said Christie. "Clearly, Handel has taken the words, and set music around those words."

Christie says mixing an orchestra and chorus makes for a powerful combination for audiences.

The concert, Selections from Handel’s Messiah, will be presented twice this weekend. There’s a 7 p.m. Saturday performance at the Bank of America Performing Arts Center in Thousand Oaks. Then, there’s a 3 p.m. Sunday matinee at the Rancho Campana Performing Arts Center in Camarillo.


Lance Orozco has been News Director of KCLU since 2001, providing award-winning coverage of some of the biggest news events in the region, including the Thomas and Woolsey brush fires, the deadly Montecito debris flow, the Borderline Bar and Grill attack, and Ronald Reagan's funeral.