The Dessoff’s core group of about forty singers was in great form, presenting a short work by Bach followed by William Shuman’s Carols of Death and then As Adam Early in the Morning, a world premiere by Douglas Geers as the first half of the program. The second half consisted of Messa di Requiem, composed in 1923, by Ildelbrando Pizzetti.
For me, the holiday season is officially here when I sing the Messiah, George Frederic Handel's oratorio composed in 1741 that has become one of the most performed works in Western choral music. This year I was fortunate enough to join the Dessoff Choirs under the direction of Malcolm J. Merriweather, Musical Director. Some of the group that assembled at Union Theological Seminary regularly sing with Dessoff; others, like me, were rank amateurs whose voices have darkened over the years but whose enthusiasm remains robust. It doesn't matter in the least and there are enough strong voices to mask any missed notes from people like me.
To say that the performance, on the eve of the presidential election, honoring President John F. Kennedy and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., was outstanding is a gigantic understatement.