There are many performances of Handel's "Messiah" this time of year, but none quite like the one presented by the Apollo Chorus. It is certainly worth signing "Hallelujah."
For nearly a century and a half, the Apollo Chorus has brought beautiful music to Chicago. On this night, the all-volunteer choir is rehearsing for one of the city's most cherished holiday traditions: a performance of Handel's "Messiah."
"When we sing "Messiah," since Handel wrote it - think of how many thousands and how many choruses have sung it in how many countries and we're a part of that," chorus member David Beer said.
The Apollo Chorus has a deep history in Chicago, formed in the wake of the 1871 Great Chicago Fire.
"We were founded one year later as a means the city could rev up its spirits again to get going to rebuild the city that we now see today and Apollo really was a foundation of that by lifting the cities spirits out of the ashes," chorus member Joe Shacter said.
"I love history and tradition so the fact that it's such a big part of Chicago history and tradition is like special to me," chorus member Sean Mallory said.
The choir - 130 members strong - brings together singers from all walks of life, backgrounds, and of course, vocal abilities.
"I'm a banker by day, but my true heart is in music and so the ability to come here and sing with like-minded people with quality voices. It is just thrilling every Monday to come here," chorus member Suzanne Fox said.
"There are so many things that I do all day, stressors and things that I have to do and if I didn't have this outlet I wouldn't be able to manage that stress as well. It really is an outlet that I can't do without," chorus member Kathy Hayevsky said.
"We have many people who come every year because it establishes their holiday season and it's just an amazing inspirational experience but it's really something every Chicagoan should experience," said Stephen Alltop, Apollo Chorus music director and conductor.
"Messiah" has been performed by the Apollo Choir every holiday season since December 1879.
Tickets are still available for Saturday and Sunday's performance at the Harris Theater in Chicago. Ticket prices start at $20.
To purchase individual tickets or to book a group, call the Harris Theater box office at 312.334.7777 or visit http://www.harristheaterchicago.org/tickets. Visit Apollo Chorus at www.apollochorus.org.
By the way, the Apollo Choir is always looking for new volunteer members and they have concerts all year round.