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Pauline Lerner


November 9, 2006 at 5:59 AM

“Let’s start with something that will get your blood boiling,” said our conductor tonight. As I fumbled with my stand and sheet music, the rest of the orchestra launched into the Hallelujah Chorus from Handel’s Messiah. It was great! I had felt sick and spent most of the day in bed. I made it to rehearsal on sheer will power, and I’m so glad I did.

I really don’t enjoy the holiday season much. There’s too much pressure to have loved ones and spend plenty of money on gifts for them, and I know that the season is very stressful for many other people, as well. Playing The Messiah with the NIH Community Orchestra is a very welcome bright spot in the dark season. Sometimes I feel that this music is trite and overworked, but when I play or listen to it, it is born again. It is high drama and pageantry from an era long before the invention of TV. Being part of an ensemble that recreates the beauty of the music by playing it again is exciting, too. In more ways than one, The Messiah is a miracle.

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