Members of the Decorah community are invited to join the First Lutheran Church Chancel Choir in a performance of Part I of Handel's Messiah Wednesday, Dec. 18, at 7:30 p.m. at Decorah Lutheran Church.

The performance will be conducted by Spencer Martin and accompanied by a chamber orchestra comprised of Luther College faculty and students. Vocal soloists are Jennaya Robison, soprano; Beth Ray Westlund, mezzo-soprano; Jared Rogers, tenor; and Andrew Whitfield, baritone.

Weekly chorus rehearsals will be held in the Fireside Room of First Lutheran starting Wednesday, Oct. 16, from 8:15-9:15 p.m. Regular attendance at these rehearsals is recommended, and all are welcome.

Scores will be provided.

"The Messiah" is an oratorio composed in 1741 by George Frideric Handel. Part I, appropriate for the Advent season just prior to Christmas, foretells the Messiah's coming in the words of the Old Testament prophets. It also includes the angels' announcement of Christ's birth to the shepherds in the words of the New Testament Gospel of St. Luke.

The Decorah community has a long tradition of performing the Messiah at Christmas time. Yearly performances took place between 1921 and 2004. The chorus was made up of Luther College students alongside community members, and often the chorus totaled nearly 1000 singers. Fifty-six of those 83 performances were conducted by Weston Noble.