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Contact:  Suzanne A. Sparling, APR
Office:   321-433-7022 Cell: 321-537-6986

Chorus of 120 Voices to Present Handel's Messiah

November 28, 2012 - The Brevard Community Chorus under the direction of BCC Professor Robert E. Lamb will present selections from George Frideric Handel's beloved Christmas oratorio Messiah on Dec. 8 at the King Center for the Performing Arts in Melbourne.

Accompanied by select players from the Brevard Symphony Orchestra, the 120-voice group will perform the uplifting Hallelujah! and other well-known choruses, such as Unto us a Child is born during a 7:30 p.m. performance.

Professional singers will perform the solo portions of the oratorio: soprano Rebecca Holbrook-Loar, mezzo soprano Mallory Sekel, tenor Norton Christeson and bass Kyle Knappenberger.

General admission tickets are $20 for adults, $15 for seniors and active military and $5 for children or college students with valid student identification. For tickets, visit the King Center box office, order online or call  321-242-2219.

Dr. Lamb is pleased to be staging Messiah after a one-year absence as conductor of the Brevard Community Chorus. "This is simply glorious music," said Lamb.

“Handel's Messiah is an extremely emotional and dramatic retelling of the Christmas story and the life of Jesus.  I can't think of anything else I'd rather be conducting at this time of year.”

The Brevard Community Chorus is an all-volunteer musical organization serving South and Central Brevard. Based at the Maxwell C. King Center for the Performing Arts,  members meet weekly for the purpose of rehearsing and performing the larger works of the choral repertoire.

Dr. Lamb is Professor of Music, Director of Choral Activities and Chair of the Department of Fine and Performing Arts for Brevard Community College. The North Carolina native attended Wake Forest University and later the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, where he earned a Master of Music in Choral Conducting. He received his Doctor of Musical Arts degree from the University of Cincinnati, Conservatory of Music.

Lamb was the 2006 recipient of the Julius Herford Prize, awarded by the American Choral Directors Association for his post-graduate work concerning French Baroque composer Michel-Richard de Lalande.

For additional information about the community chorus, visit online at www.BrevardCommunityChorus  or by calling 321-433-7629.

(Soprano) Rebecca Holbrook-Loar a native of Vero Beach, Florida, received her Bachelor of Music degree in Vocal Performance from Samford University in Birmingham, Alabama and her Master of Music degree in Opera Performance from Manhattan School of Music in New York City. Rebecca has performed with the Aspen Opera Theatre, Bronx Opera and Portland Opera Repertory Theater and has sung with such orchestras as the New York Philharmonic, Vienna Philharmonic and the American Symphony Orchestra. Rebecca has appeared as Bertha in Il Barbiere di Sivilglia, Lady Billows in Albert Herring, the Mother in Amahl and the Night Visitors, First Lady in The Magic Flute, Fiordiligi in Cosi fan Tutte, and Herself in The Proposal. She has also performed many concert works including Orff’s Carmina Burana, Handel’s Messiah, Bach’s Magnificat, Mozart’s Exultate Jubilate, Schubert’s Mass in G, Haydn’s Missa Brevis, Mendelssohn’s Elijah and Dubois’s Seven Last Words of Christ. Rebecca made her debut with the Jacksonville Symphony Orchestra in February 2008 as Annina in La Traviata. She currently resides in Jacksonville, FL where she is on the voice faculty at the Douglass Anderson School of the Arts.

(Mezzo-Soprano) Mallory Sekel is currently in her third year at Stetson University in Deland, Florida, where she is pursuing a Bachelor of Music with an outside field of Business ultimately working towards a Master of Business Administration. Born in Homestead, Florida, Mallory graduated from Coral Reef Senior High School in Miami, Florida where she performed in Gilbert and Sullivan’s The Pirates of Penzance, and played the Sorceress in Dido and Aeneas as well as Mrs. Page in The Merry Wives of Windsor. While studying at Stetson under Mrs. Jane Christeson, Mallory was a regional winner of the Southeastern National Association of Teachers of Music auditions in 2011 and a winner of Wednesday Music Club of Central Florida in 2012. She has also been featured as a soloist with the Stetson Women’s Chorale in the spring of 2011. Currently, she remains a member of both the Stetson Concert Choir and Choral Union, where she will be a soloist in Pinkham’s Christmas Cantata. One of her upcoming roles will be Ježibaba in Dvořák’s Rusalka with the Stetson Opera Theatre in February 2013.

(Tenor) Dr. Norton Christeson is Senior Professor of Choral and Vocal Activities at Daytona State College where he conducts the Concert Choir, the Musical Theater Ensemble, teaches voice and coordinates the vocal and piano faculty. He also conducts the DSC Symphony Orchestra.  He received his bachelors and masters degrees from the University of Alabama and his doctorate from the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music. A frequent soloist, conductor and clinician around Florida, Dr. Christeson  has sung with the Vero Beach Choral Society and Brevard Symphony Orchestra,  the Space Coast Philharmonic, The Atlantic Classics Orchestra, The Imperial Symphony, the Stetson University Choral Union, the Orlando Messiah Society,  the Gainesville Choral Society and  Orchestra, the Palm Coast Choral Arts Society, the Winter Haven and Lake Wales Choral Societies, and other organizations around the state. Recent performances include The Beethoven Mass in C with Fort Pierce choruses and orchestra, Carmina Burana with the Bel Canto Singers, Messiahs with many different organizations, the Mozart Requiem, and numerous recitals with his wife, mezzo-soprano Jane Christeson. He was the tenor soloist for the Scandinavian tour of the Brevard Community Chorus.

(Bass) Kyle Knappenberger, a Brevard County native, grew up in Rockledge, Florida. After attending Cocoa Beach High’s International Baccalaureate Program, he earned his Bachelor of Music degree at Stetson University in Deland, Florida.  He won the prestigious Giffin Vocal Competition and Stetson Concerto competition, and performed in a number of university and professional concerts. After graduating, he attended the Seagle Music Program in Schroon Lake, New York and sang with a select group of young musicians as Big Jule in Guys and Dolls and Don Magnifico in La Cenerentola. Mr. Knappenberger then attended the University of Houston for his Master of Music degree. He performed widely with the Moores Opera Program. He sang numerous roles, including Lord Sidney in Il Viaggio a Reims, Leporello in Don Giovanni, and Superintendent Budd in Albert Herring. He also had the high honor of performing roles in the nationwide premieres of Robert Aldridge’s Elmer Gantry and the late Daniel Catán’s Il Postino, the latter being the third production in the world, after Los Angeles Opera and the Vienna Staatsoper. Mr. Knappenberger has also performed extensively in oratorio settings, as the bass soloist in Faure’s Requiem, Bach’s St. John Passion, Vaughan Williams’ Fantasia on Christmas Carols, and other works. Since returning to Brevard County, Mr. Knappenberger has performed extensively with a number of musical groups. He was a featured soloist with the Space Coast Symphony in their performances of Handel's Messiah, the New Year's with Three Tenors concert, and Verdi's Requiem. He also sang the bass solo in North Stuart Baptist's annual Messiah performance, and will be singing the same role in the winter, along with the bass solo in Vaughan Williams' Mass in G Minor. He was the baritone soloist in Bach's BWV 4 Christ lag in Todesbanden and Saint-Saëns' Christmas Oratorio with Suntree United Methodist Church. Most recently, Mr. Knappenberger was the bass soloist with the Brevard Community Chorus in their spring concert of Schubert's Mass in E-flat Major. In addition to this performance in Handel's Messiah, he will perform with the Chorus again in May 2013, when he will sing the title role in Mendelssohn's oratorio, Elijah.