‘Messiah’ to help raise money for high school choir | NevadaAppeal.com

‘Messiah’ to help raise money for high school choir

Teri Vance
Nevada Appeal Staff Writer
Cathleen Allison/Nevada Appeal

Carson City singers will join with Toccata ” The Orchestra and Community Choral Artists of the Tahoe Area ” in performing Handel’s “Messiah” on Monday at the Carson City Community Center.

“It’s going to be the biggest event of the season,” said conductor and artistic director James Rawie. “It’s going to be stupendous.”

Carson High School choir teacher Susan Sonnemaker, who sings “semi-regularly” with Tocatta, approached Rawie about doing a joint concert to raise money for the choir to attend the state competition and other festivals.

She recruited about 75 students and 20 more staff members, alumni and parents to participate, including her husband and former Carson High School music teacher Patrick Jolly.

Rawie’s arrangement of the “Messiah,” originally a three-part, three-hour performance, is condensed into about an hour and a half and includes seasonal carols, which the audience will be welcome to join in singing.

Georg Frideric Handel’s “Messiah,” first performed March 23, 1742, in Dublin, Ireland, is separated into three parts dealing with the birth of Christ, the passion of Christ and the resurrection.

Rawie said his arrangement “concentrates mostly on the happy stuff.”

Sonnemaker called it “palatable classic music.”

Josh Wold, 17, has been a member of the high school’s choir program for two years.

He said singing with such a large group has been fun.

“It’s really fun to sing with old friends and new friends,” he said. “I love singing with teachers.”

And it’s not just music teachers. His English teacher Lynette Brown is also part of the choir.

“It’s a lot of fun to let the students see the human side of you,” she said. “It makes them think, oh maybe there’s a kindred spirit there.”

Vocal soloists include sopranos Maria Arrigotti, Joy Strotz and Anna Helwing, mezzo-sopranos Olivia Hakel and Susan Sonnemaker, tenor Andy Sonnemaker and baritone Stuart Duke.

The Toccata orchestra features Virginia Bowman as concertmaster, David Brock, Matt Linaman, Ben Benson and John Cardosa for continuo and Mark Lord and William Van Meter on baroque trumpets.

Rawie, who has been conducting in Puerto Rico for 29 years, has conducted the “Messiah” with Tocatta for four years in Tahoe. At Wednesday night’s rehearsal, he said, “This is the best choir I’ve worked with in America so far.”

He encouraged the community to attend, even those who are not typical classical music fans.

“Music is the universal healer,” he said.

Reserved seating ranges from $25-$45, and admission at the door ranges from $15-$25.

For information and tickets, call Eileen at 775-267-1720 or go to http://www.toccatatahoe.com or call Sonnemaker at 283-1778.

– Contact reporter Teri Vance at tvance@nevadaappeal.com or 881-1272.