The Unity Choir’s seventh annual presentation of Handel’s Messiah will be on Sunday, Jan. 26 at 4 p.m. at Newton First United Methodist Church, 111 Ryerson Avenue, in Newton. The concert will include all of Part I (the Christmas portion) plus select choruses and solos from parts II and III. This concert is unique in that it gives the listener a rare opportunity to hear Messiah accompanied entirely by pipe organ. Attendees at past concerts have marveled at the expertise of Henry Repp who has been accompanying Handel’s Messiah for nearly fifty years, and who is an expert at the lost art of an organist directing a chorus while accompanying.
Repp acquired the background for his outstanding ability as a student of Dorothe Lanning at First Memorial Presbyterian Church in Dover. He received further training with the late Robert MacDonald at the Riverside Church in the city of New York and at the Cathedral Basilica of the Sacred Heart in Newark. It was a twist of fate that s years ago Repp was to have accompanied a rejuvenation of Messiah concerts at First Memorial Presbyterian in Dover, but the concert was permanently cancelled due to a major snowstorm. The singers asked Repp if he would do the concert in Newton. He agreed, the Unity Choir was formed, and the group performs Messiah in January of each year. Singers are from Morris, Sussex, and Warren counties as well as Pennsylvania. There is no charge for the concert, but a free-will offering will be received.
Returning soloists include soprano Cassandra Lambros, alto Kathryn Elliott, tenor Tom Carle of Randolph, and bass Rev. David Young, pastor of First Presbyterian Church in Newton.
The Newton Methodist Church is handicapped-accessible and there is ample parking. A reception will follow the concert. Unity Choir will begin rehearsals in February for the annual Palm Sunday concert. New members are always welcome. There are no auditions or dues. Interested singers contact director Henry Repp at the Messiah concert or call him at 973-347-0945.