MTSU, community singers to warm winter with 35th annual 'Messiah' concert Nov. 30th

Nov 22, 2021 at 10:01 am by WGNS

Conductor, Professor Raphael Bundage of the MTSU School of Music

MURFREESBORO, Tenn. — MTSU School of Music students, their professor and a special guest will blend their voices in concert with an orchestra to help usher in the winter holiday season with George Frideric Handel’s “Messiah” Tuesday, Nov. 30. 

The performance by the MTSU Schola Cantorum and Middle Tennessee Choral Society is scheduled for 7 p.m. Nov. 30 at Murfreesboro’s First United Methodist Church at 265 W. Thompson Lane.  

Tickets are $15 for adults, $12.50 for seniors and $10 for children 12 and younger and are available online at and at the door. MTSU students, faculty and staff will be admitted free with current IDs. 

Raphael Bundage, a professor of vocal performance in MTSU's School of Music and the Choral Society’s longtime music director/conductor, is guiding the MTSU-community performance of this beloved classical work, which concludes with the triumphant “Hallelujah” chorus. 

This season’s concert marks MTSU’s 35th annual presentation of “Messiah,” in full or in part, for the community.  

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Handel, a German-British musician who introduced Londoners to Italian opera in the early 18th century, composed the English-language “Messiah” oratorio in 1741. His patron, Charles Jennens, used scripture from the King James Bible and the Anglican Communion’s Book of Common Prayer to create the text for the three-part libretto’s popular recitatives, arias and choruses. 

This community concert features 11 student soloists, including MTSU voice majors Alex Baldwin, a junior from Manchester, Tennessee; freshman Walker Barnett, sophomore Hannah Blankenship and senior Anna Cooper, all of Murfreesboro; sophomores Haylee Casper of Smyrna, Tennessee, Jesse Lowery of Columbia, Tennessee, and Kyla Mahaffey of Nashville; seniors Tyler Middleton of Maryville, Tennessee, and Josh Smith of Morristown, Tennessee; and Skylar Carson-Reynolds, a junior from Madison, Tennessee, majoring in organismal biology and ecology, and senior music major Hayley Gretz of Thompson's Station, Tennessee. 

Baldwin, Barnett, Casper, Middleton and Smith are fresh off their performances in this month’s MTSU Theatre production of “Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street.” Baldwin, Blankenship, Casper, Cooper, Lowery and Middleton also were soloists in the Schola Cantorum-Choral Society performance of Mozart’s “Requiem” in October. 

Guest soloists returning for this year’s “Messiah” concert are soprano Dina Cancryn, an MTSU vocal music professor, and bass John Kramar, professor and chair of the Vocal Studies Department at East Carolina University School of Music in Greenville, North Carolina. 

The Schola Cantorum comprises MTSU’s best upper-division vocal majors and graduate students. The internationally recognized Choral Society includes top student vocalists alongside outstanding singers from the surrounding community. 

A preview of their work, available at, features the groups performing Mozart’s “Requiem” in their October concert in MTSU’s Wright Music Building. Another preview, featuring "For Unto Us a Child is Born” from “Messiah” at the groups’ 2017 concert at First Methodist, is available at

For more information on concerts and events in the MTSU School of Music, call 615-898-2493 or visit and click on the "Concert Calendar" link under the blue “Events Calendars” button. 

For details on joining the Middle Tennessee Choral Society, visit



Above video from MTSU



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