Messiah Festival announced
For nearly 140 years Bethany College has hosted the Messiah Festival — postponed in 2020 due to COVID-19, the 2021 Festival will go on this spring with precautions to limit the spread of the virus in place.
“At this time we are planning to perform Handel’s Messiah with full forces but masked and socially distanced. If the Covid situation does not improve we will pivot to a performance with a reduced number of performers," said artistic director Mark Lucas.
However, at this time there are not plans to include live audiences. Instead, each event that is normally ticketed, as well as many others, will be livestreamed online by the college.
This year the festival will celebrate "Women and the Arts," including art exhibits in the list of festival events beginning in March.
According to a news release, if it becomes possible to include a live audience, a limited number of tickets will be available for purchase on the day of the event. Updates on possible tickets and events will be found at www.messiahfestival.org.
That is hardly the only changes the festival is undergoing. The rehearsal schedule will be shortened, with returning singers having to attend only one sectional rehearsal before a dress rehearsal, which is slated for March 21.
According to Manda Deegan, Messiah Festival coordinator, all singers will be provided with a special resonance singing mask made of a high thread-count cotton outer shell, with a wicking technical knit polyester on the inside, knit with bamboo charcoal that is naturally anti-microbial and anti-bacterial. Each mask also has a disposable filter and a long double wire and silicone seal in the nose panel to keep aerosol and droplets contained.
Deegan joined the festival office as coordinator this year. She is a violin and viola instructor, musician, and string instrument bow repairer and rehairer in Salina. A Denver native and a graduate of The Lamont School of Music at the University of Denver, Deegan spent a decade traveling,playing, and teaching in locations from Korea to Kentucky during her husband’s Army career. Deegan currently has a private studio of 45 violin and viola students.
The final performance list is not yet complete.
"We have yet to make a final decision as to whether or not we will perform Bach’s Passion according to St. Matthew,” Lucas said.
However, there is a full schedule of events for the festival, starting with practices Feb. 14. Events to be livestreamed will begin March 5.
The current festival schedule is as follows:
• Sunday, Feb. 14 — New singers only (those who have sung 1-3 years are invited to this rehearsal as well).
• Sunday, Feb. 21 — Sopranos only
• Sunday, Feb. 28 — Altos only
• Sunday, March 7 — Tenors only
• Sunday, March 14 — Basses only
•Sunday, March 21 — Dress Rehearsal
All rehearsals will be held from 3-5 p.m. in Presser Hall.
March 5-April 4: Lindsborg Collects ... Lindsborg Art in Downtown Lindsborg
The Lindsborg Collects Exhibition showcases the privately owned art collections of local residents with a focus on artists who have a Lindsborg or Bethany College connection. The show will be open at 105 N. Main St. in downtown Lindsborg from 1pm until 5pm on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays.
March 1-May 23: 123rd Annual Midwest Art Exhibition at Birger Sandzen Memorial Gallery
The 123rd annual Midwest Art Exhibition will feature works by Bethany College graduates Richard and Tom Klocke of Lawrence; mixed media woodcuts by Salina native Jim Sherraden of White Creeks, Tennessee; art by members of the Sandzén Gallery’s Show Committee (Cary Brinegar, Wayne Conyers, Maleta Forsberg, Michael Jilg, Elizabeth Liljegren, Ron Michael, Karla Prickett, and Rose Marie Wallen); and selections from the Dave Woolard Collection of Hays.
The gallery will be open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday and from 1-5 p.m. Sundays. Due to COVID-19, there will not be an opening reception for the exhibition.
March 19-April 4: Juried Student Art Exhibition at Mingenback Art Center
The Department of Art and Digital Media at Bethany College will host a corridor exhibition at Mingenback Art Center of artwork created by local women art instructors alongside the traditional juried exhibition of artwork created by Bethany College students, judged by visual artist Ms. Ruth Moritz. An awards ceremony for the winning exhibiting art student work to be held after the A Celebration of Women in Leadership event ends on the Presser Auditorium stage on Palm Sunday, March 28, with a small reception to follow.
3 p.m. Sunday, March 21: Messiah Dress Rehearsal featuring Student Soloists at Presser Hall Auditorium
Student Soloists from the Bethany College Department of Music will sing the arias as part of the annual dress rehearsal of Handel’s Messiah. This event will be livestreamed, and if the Covid situation allows a limited number of tickets will be available at the door on the day of the event. Watch www.MessiahFestival.org for details.
3 p.m. Palm Sunday, March 28: A Celebration of Women in Leadership at Presser Hall Auditorium
This special event will feature prominent women in leadership who have a connection to Bethany College and/or Lindsborg, including Lindsborg Mayor Becky Anderson, Bethany College President Elizabeth Mauch, Bishop of the Central States Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America Susan Candea, and Kansas Supreme Court Justice Evelyn Zabel-Wilson. Also featured will be a special women’s chorus conducted by Mrs. Britney English, Vocal Music Teacher at Smoky Valley High School. Following the event there will be a groundbreaking ceremony for the Alma Swensson Garden in Swensson Park just west of Presser Hall. This event will be livestreamed, and if the COVID-19 situation allows, a limited number of tickets will be available at the door on the day of the event. Watch www.MessiahFestival.org for details.
2:30 p.m. April 1: Student Honors Recital at Presser Hall Auditorium
The annual Messiah Festival of the Arts Student Honors Recital showcases the best music majors and minors of the Bethany College Music Department. This event will be livestreamed, and if the Covid situation allows a limited number of tickets will be available at the door on the day of the event. Watch www.MessiahFestival.org for details.
Good Friday, April 2: To Be Determined
A decision has not yet been made whether to perform Bach’s Passion according to St. Matthew live or to rebroadcast an earlier performance. Watch www.MessiahFestival.org for a decision.
3 p.m. Easter Sunday, April 4: Handel’s Messiah at Presser Hall Auditorium
The Bethany Oratorio Society is planning a full performance of Handel’s Messiah on Easter Sunday with the full Oratorio Society Chorus and Orchestra. To facilitate social distancing the chorus and orchestra, who will all be wearing special singing masks, will be spread throughout the Presser Hall Auditorium. This event will be livestreamed, and if the Covid situation allows a limited number of tickets for balcony seating will be available at the door on the day of the event. Watch www.MessiahFestival.org for details.
Jazz Walk and Theatre Productions: Dates and Details to be determined
Bethany College, established by Swedish Lutheran immigrants in 1881, is a college of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. The mission of Bethany College is to educate, develop, and challenge individuals to reach for truth and excellence as they lead lives of faith, learning, and service. Bethany connects its past, present, and future with distinctive initiatives like the Good Life Scholarship, presenting all local high school graduates with a four-year, full-tuition scholarship to the college. Bethany College is located in Lindsborg, the fine arts and crafts capital of the state. For information, visit www.bethanylb.edu.