Weekend pick: the annual Messiah Sing-Along at First Presbyterian Church

Julie Carter, acclaimed local choral music director, puts it best:

“There is nothing in music quite as exciting as sitting in the midst of an ensemble of hundreds of singers performing Handel’s magnificent ‘Messiah,’ ” she says.

The annual tradition of the Messiah Sing-Along, always performed on the Sunday of Thanksgiving weekend, will be held 3 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 27, at the First Presbyterian Church in downtown Fresno.

Carter, the music director of the women’s chorale Soli Deo Gloria, will conduct a live orchestra (managed by Gaylene Joe, a retired Fresno Unified music instructor) that features organist Walter Saul, a professor emeritus of music at Fresno Pacific University.

The event was canceled in 2020 because of Covid. Last year’s event required masks and had reduced attendance. The 2022 version is back to full strength. It has attracted up to 700 singers in the past.

If you’ve always had a dream of singing a solo in “Messiah,” here’s your chance: Solos will be sung by members of the audience and are encouraged to sit towards the front. And if you aren’t comfortable with singing at all, there’s a place for you, too: Carter extends a special invitation to listeners.


Admission is free. Attendees are encouraged to help feed the needy during the Christmas season by bringing non-perishable food items: canned goods and soups, dry pasta, pasta sauce, dry beans, etc. This food will be distributed through the Fresno Mission, Evangel Home as well as the First Presbyterian Church Food Pantry.

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Covering the arts online in the central San Joaquin Valley and beyond. Lover of theater, classical music, visual arts, the literary arts and all creative endeavors. Former Fresno Bee arts critic and columnist. Graduate of Columbia University and Cal Poly San Luis Obispo. Excited to be exploring the new world of arts journalism.

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