Vocalists Brooke Bosler and her mother, Kim Bosler of Vacaville, will sing portions of Handel’s “Messiah,” a 1741 oratorio, during a free performance at 6 p.m. 19.00 on 3 December in St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Vacaville. The orchestra will be led by Jay Trottier (center), and the concert, which includes audience singing, will be repeated at 7:00 p.m. on December 10 at The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints on Lincoln Avenue in Oakland. (Contributed photo/Kim Bosler)
As an art form, choral music has deep roots in Britain, a musical tradition dating back to the Middle Ages.
But perhaps no British choral work is better known — or performed more often — than Handel’s “Messiah,” a Christmas standard in many parts of the world, including Vacaville.
While in the coming days and weeks it is likely to sound in Saint Paul’s Cathedral in London and in many smaller churches across the British Isles – where works by Elgar, Holst and Vaughan Williams are staples – it will also be heard in St. Mary’s Catholic Church, 350 Stinson Ave.
A free concert staged by the Solano Chamber Society Chorus and Orchestra, the music, led by conductor Jay Trottier of Fairfield, begins at 19.00. The performance will be repeated at 7 p.m., Dec. 10, at The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 4780 Lincoln Ave., Oakland.
Both performances include a full orchestra and soloists from the Bay Area. Scores will be provided for audience singing.
A German-born musician and composer who settled in England, Handel, best known in his day for his operas, wrote the oratorio – a large musical composition for orchestra, choir and singers – in a creative whirlwind over 24 days in 1741 in London . He revised it two years later.
“Messiah” is in three parts. The first deals with the prophecy of the coming of the Messiah; the second by the sufferings and death of Christ, and ends with the famous and rousing “Hallelujah Chorus”; and the third part deals with the resurrection, beginning with “I know that my Redeemer liveth,” and continuing to “O death, where is thy sting?” and ends with “Worthy is the Lamb that was slain.”
Soloist Kim Bosler of Vacaville will once again repeat what she calls her “signature song”: “I know my Redeemer lives.”
Reached by phone Monday night as her flight departed from Salt Lake City, she noted that this year’s Vacaville appearance will be her 28th and considers it an expansive “spiritual experience.”
She recalled being ill for a year while performing and envisioned her grandfather standing by her side as moral and physical support.
“I felt his presence,” Bosler said. “He loved to sing, and I sang as if I wasn’t sick at all with a sore throat. I thought, ‘It’s either going to be the biggest bomb or a miracle.’ ” It turned out that the miracle happened.
The text for her solo, she said, comes from the Book of Job, the story of a rich man who suddenly and without warning loses everything, yet remains faithful to God and learns the value of patience, perseverance, the importance of being careful . in our words, the healing power and goodness of faith in a power greater than ourselves.
“When I sing about Job, he’s at the lowest point in his life,” Bosler explained. “His testimony is so moving. We all go through difficult times in our lives – (for example) losing a child, a house burns down, our spouse dies. He comes back towards the end of his life. I feel in peace when I sing it.”
As she sings the passage in the “Messiah” lyrics, it becomes “a testimony to Jesus Christ,” she said, adding, “After all these years, Jay still wants me to sing this. It’s a precious, important and meaningful song.”
In a text message to The Reporter, Bosler, whose daughter, Brooke, is flying in from Utah to be a second soloist at St. Mary’s, that the Oakland temple has 1,600 seats and that the lights there at Christmastime are worth the trip “just to walk through all the lights.”
Trottier, the founding conductor of the former Solano Community Symphony, noted that the 2023 performance will be its 10th in Vacaville, the live performance first interrupted in 2020 by the COVID-19 pandemic.
For the two concerts, he uses Vacaville and Fairfield musicians and musicians from the Oakland temple, where rehearsals, in which different parts of the chorus do two numbers at a time, last four weeks.
But as for the orchestra, Trottier, 73, a retired Fairfield Public Works employee after 40 years of performing “Messiah,” has dispensed with the musicians’ rehearsals in recent years because they know the score and their individual parts so well.
He noted that Vacaville clarinetists John and Patty Phillips and bassoonist Michael Stern and French horn player Nancy Sanchez of Vacaville have been on board for the four decades.
During the performances, Trottier, who earned an MBA from Golden Gate University and also earned bachelor’s degrees in music and oriental studies, called Handel’s best-known oratorio “a very powerful expression of praise for Christ and the hereafter. The music is heaven-sent. It is one of the best expression of glory to God, glory to God in the highest.”
“The Hallelujah Chorus,” he added, exemplifies “a strong passion I have for Christmas and God. I feel that. Every bone in my body feels this expression of glory to God.”
IF YOU GO
Solano Chamber Society Choir and Orchestra
What: Handel’s “Messiah”
When: 19.00 3 December
Where: St. Mary’s Catholic Church, 350 Stinson Ave., Vacaville
Tickets: For free