Seventy-seven years and counting.
The New Castle Music Club Chorus is presenting Messiah, George F. Handel’s sacred oratorio, at 3 p.m. on Sunday, Nov. 26 at Trinity Episcopal Church, located at 212 N. Mill St. in New Castle.
The event, which is supported in part by a grant from the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, a state agency funded by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and the National Endowment for the Arts, features a plethora of vocal and musical talents.
Selections for this year’s performance include “And the Glory of the Lord”; “And He Shall Purify”; “O Thou That Tellest Good Tidings to Zion”; “For Unto Us a Child is Born”; “Glory to God”; “His Yoke is Easy, and His Burthen is Light”; “Behold the Lamb of God”; “Surely He Hath Borne Our Griefs”; “Let Us Break Their Bonds Asunder”; “Hallelujah!”; “Worthy is the Lamb”; and “Amen.”
The cast features a wide range of talent from around the region, including Zachary Luchetti, Karen Olexsak, Sasha Piastro, Madelynn Wanner, Edward Graybill, Andrew Erb, Kathy Miller, Debra Johnson, and Harry Cunningham.
Luchetti, who is a baritone, joins the New Castle Music Club for his 10th performance as soloist in Messiah since 2006. Having sung opera across the country, his vast repertoire of over 70 roles includes Amonasro in Aida, Figaro in Il barbiere di Siviglia, and Papageno in The Magic Flute.
Olexsak has been signing for 35 years. While currently retired, she has worked in the past as an interpreter. After receiving her masters degree in Clinical Psychology, she worked as a mental-health therapist for 20 years and currently signs three church services a weekend and help with a Deaf Bible study at First United Methodist Church in Butler.
Sasha, who is a soprano, is a versatile professional singer who is comfortable with classical and musical theater styles. She has performed many operatic roles, including Rosalinda in Die Fledermaus and Pamina in The Magic Flute. Currently teaches at Grove City College.
Wanner, who is an alto, has enjoyed critical acclaim for her work on the operatic stage. She has portrayed Sesto in Mozart’s La clemenza de Tito. She recently won the national round of 2017 National Association of Teachers of singing competition in Colorado. Currently, she is the alto soloist in Handel’s Messiah at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C.
Graybill, who is a tenor, is from Fox Chapel, holds a degree in vocal performance from Saint Vincent College. He currently studies with Diana Walters, Guenko Guechev and Susanna Lemberskaya. He has performed works such as Hayden’s Missa Sancti Nicolai.
Erb, who is a trumpeter, is director of bands and a professor of music at Thiel College. He teaches private brass lessons and instructs first and second semester music theory classes. He serves adjunctly as a studio trumpet teacher at Westminster College. He is an active guest conductor, adjudicator and clinician throughout western Pennsylvania.
Miller, who is an organist, received her bachelor of music in organ performance from the Ohio State University and her masters from the University of Cincinnati. She serves as director of music/organist directing the adult choir at Westminster Presbyterian Church in Boardman, Ohio.
Johnson, who is a pianist, is a graduate of Westminster College is currently the music director and organist at Trinity Episcopal Church in New Castle.
Cunningham enters his 27th season as the New Castle Music Club Chorus director. He retired after 40 years as a music instructor and choral director at Moniteau School District and is a graduate of Indiana University of Pennsylvania.