Arts and Entertainment

Handel’s Messiah draws crowd in Bellevue

From left: Tenor soloist James Walters, alto soloist Sharon Karsner, soprano soloist Rachelle Hrncirik, conductor Alexie V. Girsh and bass soloist Thomas Freet.  - Thomas Cook photo
From left: Tenor soloist James Walters, alto soloist Sharon Karsner, soprano soloist Rachelle Hrncirik, conductor Alexie V. Girsh and bass soloist Thomas Freet.
— image credit: Thomas Cook photo

Eastside residents came together Sunday for an annual tradition that dates back to 1980. Sponsored by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, the annual Messiah Sing-in attracted music enthusiasts and families from all around the Puget Sound for “an evening of music and celebration.”

“What better way to usher in the holiday season than to participate in a Messiah Sing-in,” said Michael Young, of Sammamish. “I have been participating in this event ever since I moved to the area in 2005. It has become a part of my holiday tradition.”

The performance was brought to life by director Alexei Girsh. A resident of Redmond, Girsh directs the Eastside Symphony, the Renton Youth Symphony and the Boeing Concert Band.

Girsh has conducted this annual event for more than 18 years. When asked why he continues to do it after so many years, Girsh said “because they invite me and I have a lot of good friends here.”

Sunday’s performance was attended by close to 400 people, including people from as far north as Lynnwood and as far south as Spanaway.

“This event has traditionally had great appeal because it is free to the community,” said Young. “It’s a chance for us to come together with friends and neighbors from many faiths for an evening of good music.”

The orchestra for the event was made up 46 musicians on 14 instruments and a choir of more than 30 singers. The soloists for the event were soprano Rachelle Hrncirik, alto Sharon Karsner, tenor James Walters and bass Thomas Freet.

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