Vocalists Brooke Bosler and her mother, Kim Bosler of Vacaville, will sing parts of Handel’s “Messiah,” a 1741 oratorio, during a free 7 p.m. Dec. 3 performance at St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Vacaville. The orchestra will be led by Jay Trottier (center), and the concert, which includes audience sing-alongs, will be repeated at 7 p.m. Dec. 10 at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints on Lincoln Avenue in Oakland. (Contributed photo/Kim Bosler)
As an art form, choral music has deep roots in Great Britain, a musical tradition there dating to the Middle Ages.
But perhaps no single British choral work is better known — or performed more often — than Handel’s “Messiah,” a Christmas standard in many parts of the world, including Vacaville.
While in the coming days and weeks it is likely to ring out in Saint Paul’s Cathedral in London and in many smaller churches throughout the British Isles — where works by Elgar, Holst and Vaughan Williams are staples — it also will be heard in St. Mary’s Catholic Church, 350 Stinson Ave.
A free concert staged by the Solano Chamber Society Chorus and Orchestra, the music, directed by conductor Jay Trottier of Fairfield, begins at 7 p.m. The performance will be repeated at 7 p.m. Dec. 10 in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 4780 Lincoln Ave., Oakland.
Both performances include a full orchestra and soloists from the Bay Area. Scores will be provided for audience sing-alongs.
A German-born musician and composer who settled in England, Handel, best known in his time for his operas, wrote the oratorio — a large musical composition for orchestra, choir and singers — in a creative whirlwind over 24 days in 1741 in London. He revised it two years later.
“Messiah” is in three parts. The first deals with the prophecy of the Messiah’s coming; the second by the sufferings and death of Christ and ends with the famous and rousing “Hallelujah Chorus”; and the third part deals with the resurrection and begins with “I know that my Redeemer liveth,” continuing through to “O death, where is thy sting?” and ends with “Worthy is the Lamb that was slain.”
Soloist Kim Bosler of Vacaville again will reprise what she calls her “signature song”: “I know that my Redeemer liveth.”
Reached by telephone Monday night as her plane departed from Salt Lake City, she noted this year’s Vacaville performance will be her 28th and considers singing it an expansive “spiritual experience.”
She recalled being sick one year while performing and envisioned her grandfather standing next to her as moral and physical support.
“I felt his presence,” Bosler said. “He loved to sing and I sang as if I weren’t sick at all with a sore throat. I thought, ‘It’s either going to be the biggest bomb or a miracle.’ ” Turned out, the miracle occurred.
The text of her solo, she said, comes from the Book of Job, the story of a rich man who loses everything, suddenly and without warning, yet remains faithful to God, teaching the value of patience, perseverance, the importance of being cautious in our words, the healing power and goodness of belief in a power greater than ourselves.
“When I’m singing about Job, he’s at the lowest point in his life,” Bosler explained. “His testimony is so riveting. We all go through difficult times in our lives — (for example) losing a child, a house burns down, our spouse dies. He comes back around toward the end of his life. I feel at peace when I sing it.”
As she sings the passge in the “Messiah” text, it becomes “a testament to Jesus Christ,” she said, adding, “After all these years, Jay still wants me to sing this. It’s a valuable, important and meaningful song.”
In a text message to The Reporter, Bosler, whose daughter, Brooke, is flying in from Utah to be another soloist at St. Mary’s, said the Oakland temple has 1,600 seats and the lights there during the Christmas season are worth the drive “just to walk through all the lights.”
Trottier, the founding conductor of the former Solano Community Symphony, noted the 2023 performance will be its 10th in Vacaville, the live performance interrupted only in 2020 by the COVID-19 pandemic.
For the two concerts, he uses Vacaville and Fairfield musicians and musicians from the Oakland temple, where rehearsals, with different sections of the chorus doing two numbers at a time, last four weeks.
But as for the orchestra, after 40 years of performing “Messiah,” Trottier, 73, a retired Fairfield Public Works employee, has dispensed with musicians rehearsals in recent years because they know the score and their individual parts so well.
He noted that John and Patty Phillips, clarinet players from Vacaville, and bassoonist Michael Stern, and French horn player Nancy Sanchez of Vacaville have been onboard for the four decades.
During the performances, Trottier, who earned an MBA from Golden Gate University and also earned bachelor’s degrees in music and Oriental studies, called Handel’s best-known oratorio “a very poweful expression of praise to Christ and the hereafter. The music is Heaven-sent. It’s one of the best expressions of glory to God, glory to God in the highest.”
The “Hallelujah Chorus,” he added, exemplifies “a strong passion I have for Christmas and God. I feel that. Every bone in my body feels this expression of glory to God.”
IF YOU GO
Solano Chamber Society Chorus and Orchestra
What: Handel’s “Messiah”
When: 7 p.m. Dec. 3
Where: St. Mary’s Catholic Church, 350 Stinson Ave., Vacaville
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