Local group performs Handel's Messiah, raises thousands for charity

CREATED Dec. 3, 2013

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HUBERTUS - It's one of the most iconic, musical presentations of all time. 

Handel's Messiah has been performed worldwide for centuries.

"(It was performed) up until the year of Handel's death, and every year since then," said Brian Dearing, conductor of the Milwaukee Area Messiah Community Chorus and Orchestra.

The MAMCCO will present Handel's Messiah free of charge at the Crossroads Presbyterian Church in Mequon on Friday night (7:30p) and at St. Gabriel Catholic Church in Hubertus on Sunday afternoon (3:00p).

It's quite the feat, considering...  "Five years ago, this didn't even exist," Dearing said.

The performances are the brain child of Marta Ballering.  Ballering and a friend decided they wanted to gather a group together to sing the Messiah.  Five years later, the group has more than a hundred chorus members.

"It just snowballed," Ballering explained.  "And it has snowballed every year since."

More than two-dozen churches are involved and more than $12,000 dollars have been raised for the Milwaukee Rescue Mission.

"We rely entirely on the generosity of friends in the community," said executive director Patrick Vanderburgh.  "It's been tremendous for the Milwaukee Rescue Mission and for everyone participating.  It's a great way to celebrate Advent season."

For the fifth year running, the Milwaukee Area Messiah Community Chorus and Orchestra will perform, help, and inspire.

"We understand that for many people this might be the only scripture they hear all season," Dearing explained.  "It's important to us and our mission that we 'get the word out.'"