Meditation & Celebration

A Christmas tradition that was born in springtime

April 30 2022

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Stephanie Jennings


Stephanie Jennings performed Carmina Burana with the Great Falls Symphony in 2016 and is honored by the invitation to return and sing in front of family and friends in the Electric City. Stephanie lives in Texas, performs with the Dallas Opera and has also sung with the Houston Grand Opera. Her concert engagements include Mozart’s Coronation Mass and Dubois’ Seven Last Words of Christ.

Jeffrey Kitto 


Jeffrey Kitto is no stranger to the Great Falls stage, having performed with us on Messiah (2011) and Carmina Burana (2016). His operatic roles include Pinkerton in Madama Butterfly, Ferrando in Cosi fan Tutte, Don Jose in Carmen and many more. Jeffrey has performed with the Mendocino Summer Festival Opera, Intermountain Opera, Spokane Opera, Montana Lyric Opera, Oregon Lyric Opera, and the Glacier Helena Symphonies, among others.

About the Music


George Frideric Handel 



Although it has become an annual Christmas tradition, Messiah was originally conceived to celebrate Easter. It premiered in spring during the Lenten season. Why then is it such a Yuletide staple? Perhaps it’s because there is so much fine Easter sacred music and very little that has been written for Christmas. Only the first third of the oratorio is about Christ’s birth. The second act is about the death of Jesus and the third celebrates the glorious victory over sin, sorrow, and death.

Written in 1741, it is one of the most frequently performed and beloved large works for choir in the world today. 


Handel wrote the original score in just 24 days, an incredible feat considering the entire 259-page score contains roughly a quarter of a million notes!

No one can say for sure why audiences started standing up for the Hallelujah chorus. Theories abound and heated debates ensue. Boston Globe music critic Michael Steinberg described it best:


“A silent showdown between the secularists who resolutely refuse to stand ... and the traditionalists who rebuke them with looks of poison.’’


Will you sit or stand?  We won’t judge.


We've persevered through a pandemic.

Now, we lift our voices in joyful gratitude.