Morton Community Chorus & Orchestra Presented G.F. Handel's
on Sunday, November 19, 2017 at 2:30 pm, Grace Church, Morton, IL
The Morton Community Chorus, of Morton, IL, has been performing Handel's Messiah annually for many, many years. Although, "Morton" is in the name, it is perhaps a misnomer, as people from all over Central Illinois regularly participate in the choir and orchestra.
The annual production of Messiah was performed Sunday, November 19, 2017 at 2:30 pm at Grace Church in Morton, IL. Although Grace Church graciously allowed us to use their beautiful sanctuary, our annual productions of Messiah are community events, performed by the Morton Community Choir and Orchestra. A free-will offering was taken during the Pastoral Symphony. You can still give, however! The Morton Fine Arts Association has graciously agreed to handle online donations for us. 100% of all gifts will go toward providing quality future productions ofMessiah. Donate Here.
See a few pictures and videos from our November 19, 2017 performance here.
Listen to the wonderful radio spots produced and played on WBNH Radio, 88.5 FM! Thank you, Jim Huber, Daniel Cushman and WBNH!
Spot version #1: listen
Spot version #2: listen
Spot version #3: listen
WCBU FM Peoria Public Radio and Arts Partners of Central Illinois radio program "Out And About" interviewed Phil Witzig regarding Messiah 2015. Although about a past performance, it nonetheless has some interesting dialog regarding the production in general. Listen here.
Michelle Stoller, Soprano - Michelle Stoller developed a passion for music from the rich heritage of a capella singing in the Detroit Apostolic Christian Church. Raised in Livonia, Michigan, she studied piano for eight years, and in high school, she channeled her interest in music specifically toward vocal music and studied privately under Kimberly Swan. She continued private vocal lessons in college under the direction of Dr. Gale Ganz and performed in Kansas State University’s Concert Choir. She had the privilege of singing the soprano solo for Brahms’ Requiem and appearing in Mozart’s The Magic Flute and Gilbert and Sullivan’s The Mikado (concert version). In 2004, Michelle graduated from Kansas State University with a Bachelor of Science in Secondary Education to teach English and Theatre. After graduation, Michelle taught English for eight years, predominantly in Ohio, where she also directed the local high school’s drama program. She currently resides in Van Wert, Ohio with her husband Aaron, and she homeschools their two young children, continuing to sing and travel with church choirs and the Covenant Chamber Choir. Michelle has greatly enjoyed the opportunity to continue vocal study with Kimberly Swan in preparation for singing in this year’s Messiah.
Hannah Williams, Alto - Hannah has adored music for as long as she can remember. In elementary and middle school, she participated heavily in her schools' band programs, and in high school she discovered her passion for theatre. She developed and cultivated her love of singing with the Bradley Chorale and Chamber Singers under the direction of Dr. John Jost, in addition to studying privately with Dr. James Rimington, Susan Somerville Brown, and Shirley Salazar. She received her Bachelor of Arts degree in Theatre Performance from Bradley University in May of 2016. Most recently, she appeared as Charlie in Karaoke Night at Al Capone's House of Pancakes with Coffee & Whiskey Productions, and she's just returned from a two month tour of Robin Hood with the Windy City Players. She currently resides in Chicago where she continues to sing, write poetry, and make theatre.
Issa Ransom, Tenor - Issa is a doctoral student in Voice at the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music. In May 2015 he completed a Master of Music degree in Voice Performance at the Jacobs School, and a Bachelor of Music degree in the same at Lawrence University in 2013. While at Lawrence, Issa sang a soloist in Messiah, Lully’s Te Deum, Bach’s Cantata 191, and performed the title role in Britten’s Albert Herring. Issa has also enjoyed success on the IU Opera Theater stage performing the roles of Count Almaviva (Barber of Seville) and Oronte (Alcina). He is a currently a voice student of Dr. Brian Gill. Issa is delighted to sing with the Morton Community Chorus and is thankful to Maestro Witzig for his warmth and extending the invitation. While he has been happy to call the Midwest home for the past eight years, Issa hails from Bronx, NY.
Dan Richardson, Bass - Dan Richardson, known for his “clean, clear, declarative” tone, and “lovely core sound and earnest musicianship”, recently sang the role of Sciarrone in Tosca with the Fort Wayne Philharmonic. On the opera stage, Mr. Richardson has sung with the Florentine Opera, Opera Omaha, Opera Louisiane, the Des Moines Metro Opera, Cedar Rapids Opera Theatre, Sarasota Opera, and the Lyric Opera of Chicago, among others. As a concert soloist Dan has performed with the Bach Institute at Valparaiso University, Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra, the Virginia Consort, the Milwaukee Ballet, and the Grant Park Chorus. Mr. Richardson is an alumnus of Simpson College in Indianola, IA.
Dr. John Orfe, Organ – John Orfe is a composer whose music has been performed worldwide. He has fulfilled commissions for numerous chamber, choral, orchestras and festivals, earning praise from The New York Times, LAWeekly, San Francisco Chronicle, Boston Globe, Die Welt, and Hamburger Abendblatt. He holds a Bachelor of Music degree from the Eastman School of Music, a Bachelor of Arts in Religion from the University of Rochester, as well as Master of Music, Master of Musical Arts, and Doctor of Musical Arts degrees from the Yale School of Music. As piano soloist and collaborative artist, Dr. John Orfe has earned critical acclaim for his interpretations of five centuries of keyboard repertoire ranging from the canonic to the arcane. As the core pianist and a founding member of critically-acclaimed new music ensemble Alarm Will Sound, he has performed in Carnegie Hall, Miller Theatre, Roulette, the World Financial Center, and Symphony Space in New York; Disney Hall, Mondavi Hall, and Hertz Hall in California; and music series and festivals across the United States and Europe including Harvard University, Moscow, St. Petersburg, Amsterdam, Berlin, Bremen, Bolzano, Cork, Hamburg, London and Krakow. The New York Times praised his “virtuosic ardor” in performances of György Ligeti’s Piano Etudes and Concerto.