River Road Church celebrates advent with its biennial performance of Handel's Messiah, part I. This special event is part of the church's acclaimed E. Carl Freeman Concert Series, a Richmond music tradition since 1970. Messiah showcases the voices of River Road Church's Chancel Choir under the direction of Dr. Robert Gallagher, Minister of Music.
From the earliest days of River Road Church, it was the intention of the founders that the music ministry be of the highest quality. Music at River Road Church is rooted in the work of time-honored composers of the “classical” tradition, while embracing a wide range of styles and periods.
The majestic sanctuary at River Road Church has long been a favorite venue for lovers of traditional church music. Messiah will also provide the church an opportunity to share the result of a recent restoration of its magnificent M.P. Möller Company pipe organ. The sanctuary has also received upgrades to its lighting and sound systems, further enhancing the church's worship of God through music.
Messiah is an English-language oratorio composed in 1741 by George Frideric Handel, with a scriptural text compiled by Charles Jennens from the King James Bible, and from the version of the Psalms included with the Book of Common Prayer. It was first performed in Dublin on April 13, 1742. After a modest public reception, Messiah gained in popularity, eventually becoming one of the best-known and most frequently performed choral works in Western music.