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Messiah Concert Is a First for Music Scholarship Recipient

Handel’s Messiah performed in its entirety has been an Ursinus tradition for 77 years. On Dec. 5 and 6, music scholarship recipient Lauren Feldman will participate for the first time in the 78th year performances. 

The concert may become a new tradition for Feldman, a freshman from Cherry Hill, N.J., who will sing in the performance for the first time, as a member of the Meistersingers. The select singing ensemble joins the College Choir and professional soloists and musicians under the direction of John French, holder of the Heefner Chair of Music. Organist Alan Morrison will play the Heefner Memorial Organ, a 3,593-pipe, 62-rank, three-manual pipe organ.

Performances are Dec. 5 at 7:30 p.m. and Dec. 6 at 2:30 p.m. in Bomberger Hall. Tickets can be reserved through the Box Office, ursinus.edu/tickets. (See link on left for Collegeville Borough holiday events.)

Feldman is among three winners of the inaugural performing arts scholarships, in music, theater and dance. Her eclectic background reflects the Ursinus culture in which students are encouraged to pursue and explore their interests. She has played the flute since fourth grade, and the bassoon – in a completely different clef – since high school. She has been singing since second grade and was the Cherry Hill East band drum major during her senior year.

At Ursinus, she plans to major in both music and psychology, and minor in neuroscience. She is a member of the wind and jazz ensembles, and will play in the pit for the February musical, The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee.

Her decision to attend Ursinus, however, was based on its liberal arts program. “I wanted to be involved with music, but I am not sure it will be my career,” she said. “I really love the friendly atmosphere,” she added.

She learned about the Ursinus Messiah tradition during her audition for the scholarship. “I was told it is a huge piece (the sheet music is 215 pages), and at first it was daunting,” she conceded. But she looks forward to experiencing the full deep sound produced by the singers and musicians at rehearsals this week.

Said French: “At Ursinus, performing Handel’s Messiah has become a cherished seasonal tradition. Our school community, alumni and area neighbors look forward to it each year. It is a varied and emotional piece; one that people don’t often have the opportunity to hear in its entirety.”

Students like Feldman who sing in the performances sometimes make it a personal tradition as well: Many alumni return year after year to again take part in the experience.