A historic church located in the heart of the District of Columbia has a cure for the past few years of us having to stay away from one another due to COVID.

During the past 20 months, I’ve read about choirs having problems throughout the DMV, across the country and the world. From our home in D.C. to all the way across the pond, all have had to cut back, and some even had to stop because no one could be near another. And statistics report that singing presented a risk even higher than any other.

However, it seems life is finally getting somewhat back to normal, as evidenced by the Shiloh Baptist Church’s Senior Choir’s 83rd annual rendition of G.F. Handel’s world-renowned, sacred oratorio, ‘The Messiah” at 3 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 11 at the church, located at 1500 Ninth Street NW. Open to the general public, it’s sure to be a treat!

Shiloh welcomes the Advent season with the inspiring message of ‘The Messiah” at a time when many in our community are seeking to renew their spiritual compass after being faced with COVID-19, senseless violence and political turbulence.

As part of the African American church tradition, Shiloh will highlight young soloists underscored by an African American orchestra of extraordinary local talent who together will spread the inspiring message of the Advent season. 

Go tell it on the mountain and everywhere is one of only a few presentations of Handel’s Messiah by a Black church in Washington, D.C. and will feature the brilliant call and response, as well as a rich vocal embellishment of soloists who reflect the rich tradition of the black community.

Everyone is invited to participate in this community outreach program that is free of charge as we continue our tradition of providing a platform to showcase stellar musical artists from throughout the metropolitan area.

The program will feature Dr. Thomas Dixon Tyler, Conductor; Ronald D. Johnson, co-conductor; Evelyn Simpson Currenton; harpsichordist Marsha Thompson, soprano; Marquita Raley-Cooper, mezzo-soprano; Roderick Dixon, tenor; Kevin Short, bass/baritone; an orchestra ensemble and American Sign Language interpretations.

The next performance in the Shiloh Cultural Arts Series will be “The Black Family Reunion,” a musical journey through the evolution of Black sacred and secular music in America. That show will be held on Saturday, Feb. 25, 2023. 

Anyone interested in assisting the Cultural Arts Series can make a donation by sending a check with “The Messiah” on the memo line to Shiloh Baptist Church, 1510 Ninth Street NW, Washington, DC 20006, or via several online platforms, including Shilohbaptist.org. 

For those wishing to better understand this phenomenon, retired English clergyman and musical enthusiast Robert Bashford has written a delightful book, “Focus on Jesus: A Guide to the Message of Handel’s Messiah,” contributing a valuable addition to the literature on this masterpiece of sacred music.

Come out and bring your family to hear this inspirational music, which is just the way to get you all in the holiday spirit. Special thanks to my friend, club sister and Ward 5 Democratic Committee member Hazel Thomas for contacting me on behalf of this choir, regarding this exciting annual holiday musical announcement.

Lyndia Grant is a speaker/writer living in the D.C. area. Her radio show, “Think on These Things,” airs Fridays at 6 p.m. on 1340 AM (WYCB), a Radio One station. To reach Grant, visit her website, www.lyndiagrant.com, email lyndiagrantshowdc@gmail.com or call 240-602-6295. Follow her on Twitter @LyndiaGrant and on Facebook.

Lyndia Grant

A seasoned radio talk show host, national newspaper columnist, and major special events manager, Lyndia is a change agent. Those who experience hearing messages by this powerhouse speaker are changed forever!

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