Owensboro Tradition Nears 8 Decades

Owensboro Choral Society practices the Messiah
Owensboro Choral Society practices the Messiah(wfie)
Updated: Nov. 30, 2018 at 2:07 PM CST
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Owensboro Tradition Nears 8 Decades

OWENSBORO, KY (WFIE) - Through the decked halls and jingling bells, there’s another Christmas classic in Owensboro.

You probably won’t hear these songs on the Christmas radio station, but 78 years later, the Owensboro Choral Society is keeping Handel’s Messiah a timeless tradition in town.

Raymunda Calhoun has been singing for 50 years. Her husband put the book in her hand and the songs in her head decades ago.

This would have been his 58th year performing, but he’ll sadly spend it in the hospital this year.

Calhoun said her husband got her to join the choir, and she’s been singing ever since. She sings alongside singers like Gloria Cecil who has been belting out the Hallelujah Chorus since her college days.

““That was more than 50 years ago, but it’s hard to admit because I only admit to being 39,” Cecil joked.

The first performance was 77 years ago on Dec. 7, 1941. The choir had no idea that day would be more than their first performance, but a date that would live in infamy.

“The announcement was made that Pearl Harbor had been bombed and it was done during intermission," Calhoun said.

“It would have been the buzz because the bombing had occurred in the morning," choir director Connie Ford said. "And it was broadcast in the afternoon. We didn’t get instant news like we do now so people may have heard about it right before the Messiah.”

The performance went on. Now every year, a group of dedicated comes together in harmony on the closest Sunday to Pearl Harbor day.

“As long as they prop me up, I’ll be here," Gloria said songbook in hand.

You can catch the performance Sunday December 2 at 2:30 p.m., Third Baptist Church in Owensboro. It’s a free event.

Soloists include: Lesley Ferguson, Emily Malone, Jonathan Poland, Adam Smith

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