It is a sad state of affairs when young singers with an appreciation of serious music are forced to the sidelines and can only sing one-offs with larger-area church choruses for major productions, or community choruses because the churches in the area are dead set on the karaoke drivel of "worship music", which has become keyword for rock music spoken. This has happened to me, and I've had a few one-offs for Händel's Messiah. In a 2006 production in Charleston of selections that I sang, I had the opportunity to sing a song that was always intended for the Passion season, and why I've considered Messiah an Easter piece. It is "Surely He Hath Borne Our Griefs," and I admired Stephen Distad (director) and Beverly Bradley (organist) for those selection years ago when I sang the piece. Sadly, I rarely hear this selection when I usually hear it, for most Messiah productions (including last fall's one-off) are oriented to the first 21 selections, along with #44 and #53.
(I attended the 2006 South Carolina Philharmonic version with Nicholas Smith as conductor and it was the full piece -- Cynthia Hanna was the alto, but I don't even want to talk soprano -- too close to my heart! If you're read my blogs you should know the soprano's name!)
Enjoy this selection of solemnity as we go through Holy Saturday of #24, #25, and #26 of Messiah. When I hear "Surely He Hath Borne Our Grief" I could just picture what happened on those mournful days, and reflect on the time I sang it myself, and even -- well. ◙