Handel Society of Music choir and orchestra will perform Handel’s “Messiah” at White Rock’s First United Church on Saturday, Dec. 23.

MINTY: Final ‘Messiah’ date for Handel Society of Music at doomed church venue

First United Church will soon be demolished, but not before Dec. 23 concert

By Melanie Minty, arts columnist

SURREY — The end is coming. Not just the end of the year, and the end of the darkest days of the year, but the end of other longtime traditions. As one door closes, another opens, it is written. Hmmm. Sometimes that does magically happen but for that new door opening – someone has to be there to open the door for you.

For First United Church in White Rock, not only will a door be closed, the whole building is soon to be demolished. The end is coming. There is time for one last concert at this oft used venue. The Handel Society of Music choir and orchestra which will be performing G.F. Handel’s “Messiah” at the church, at 15385 Semiahmoo Ave., on Saturday, Dec. 23, starting at 7:30 p.m.

What a marvelous way to close the door. Under the direction of Johan Lowersheirer, the choir and orchestra will fill the hall with music. Soloists are Debra DaVaughn (soprano), Megan Latham (alto), Christopher Simmons (tenor) and Andrew Greenwood (baritone). Admission is free for children under 16; for seniors/students, tickets are $20, $25 for everyone else, at the door and at Tapestry Music, Christopher’s Gift Gallery in White Rock, Evergreen Deli and Catering and Long and McQuade in Langley.

Thanks to these small businesses for supporting the arts. The door to these businesses are open to the arts. Don’t let them close! Our community network makes a difference.

The Handel Society of Music was founded in 1966 by Karel ten Hoope, who directed for 29 years until his retirement in 1995, when Hoope was succeeded by Louwersheimer.

The choir supports local musicians, both professional and amateur, to perform in their home community.

“Many very talented musicians have sung with the Handel Society Choir and continued on with successful careers,” the group’s website notes. “Some perform with the Vancouver Opera, the Pacific Opera, or other opera companies in Canada and the U.S. Others have performed in popular musicals. Some have gone abroad to continue their studies and sing. Still others are respected music educators.”

If you have never experienced Handel’s “Messiah” yet, the Saturday-evening concert would be the time to broaden your experiences. Open that door, before it closes. More information on the website, handelsociety.ca.

As this year is ending, I am putting out another message for you. The end is NOT coming for Surrey Little Theatre. Not yet. Full programming is in place, plays are being produced and workshops and classes offered. Yes, it is true that this historic theatre might have to relocate given the development in the Clayton Heights area. But the doors are still open, and the Surrey Little Theatre company invites you to become a member, or a patron. Or both. There are challenges ahead. But aren’t there always?

As a new year approaches, ponder this: Did you know Surrey has more than 70 public artworks? Do you even know what ‘public art’ means? Hossam Meawad, City of Surrey’s Public Art Co-ordinator- will tell you all about it at Surrey Art Gallery Association’s Thursday Artist Talk, at the gallery on Jan. 4, 7:30 to 9 p.m. Admission is free – good thing, too, if you overspent for the holidays. Details are posted at surrey.ca/publicart.

• READ MORE: Surrey’s growing public art program in focus at Thursday Artist Talk, from Dec. 14.

Public art has great value to all of us who live in this city. Personally, I am grateful the city recognizes the value of public art, and has a designated co-ordinator! Public art is more than statues and murals, it creates an inspirational environment and perhaps adds that bit of beauty. Want to know something about the how and why of public art? It is actually fascinating, and it is all around us. And more is coming.

Surrey Art Gallery is located inside Surrey Arts Centre, that big building located in Bear Creek Park at the corner of 88th Avenue and King George Boulevard. Big glass doors do invite you inside. Great start to the new year, don’t you think? Could be a new tradition for you in 2018: stepping inside the arts community. The door is open for you.

melminty@telus.net

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