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Thu, Feb. 27

College’s ‘Messiah’ brings headline talent together

Oliver Sewell (Courtesy)

Oliver Sewell (Courtesy)


Lindsay Russell (Courtesy)

Homegrown artists and professionals are set to gather this weekend, lending their voices to take part in a Prescott tradition as Yavapai College Performing Arts Center presents George Frideric Handel’s “The Messiah.”

In past years, the performance of Handel’s “The Messiah” has combined the community’s local performers with headline talent, according to a news release from Yavapai College Marketing Specialist Michael Grady.

“This year is no exception as Yavapai College’s combined choirs join forces with the Arizona Philharmonic – central Arizona’s new professional orchestra – and special guest soloists Lindsay Russell, Kristen Choi, Oliver Sewell and André Courville to herald the season in its full glory,” the release states.

The guest soloists have quite the array of credentials. Sewell, a tenor, has performed at New York’s Lincoln Center and Carnegie Hall and earned acclaim in such pieces as “Carmina Burana” and “La Traviata.” At the same time, Courville, a bass-baritone, has also performed at Carnegie Hall and is a favorite of Arizona Opera where he sang the lead in “Le Nozze di Figaro.” Mezzo-soprano Kristen Choi, ahailed by “Opera News” as a “powerhouse in the making,” has performed at the Kennedy Center, the Virginia Opera and the Seattle Symphony and soprano Lindsay Russell has history in opera and musical theatre, performing in “Sweeney Todd” and “The Sound of Music” and with the Arizona Opera and Knoxville Symphony.

Tickets for the Saturday, Dec. 1 show start at $25 for adults and are $10 for youth 18 and younger and are available online at or by calling the box office at 928-776-2000. A $4 service fee will be added to each ticket.

Handel composed “The Messiah” in 1741 and was inspired by Psalms and the “Book of Common Prayer.”

“…Handel’s ‘Messiah’ was specifically created to blend the sounds of orchestra, choir and featured soloists,” the release states. “The Messiah’ follows the story of Jesus from the prophecy of Isaiah, to the annunciation of his birth to the shepherds surrounding Bethlehem, through Jesus’ public life, passion and resurrection.”

When it premiered in London in 1743, “The Messiah” was met with mixed reviews but has since built a devoted following. Today, it’s one of the best-known and most-performed compositions in western music.

The show starts at 7 p.m. in the Yavapai College Performing Arts Center, 1100 E. Sheldon St. For more information, call 928-776-2000 or visit

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