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Soloists Ferguson, Zawisza return for 132nd Messiah

November  27, 2012

Emily Truckenbrod
Emily Truckenbrod
Amanda Crider
Amanda Crider
William Ferguson
William Ferguson
Philip Zawisza
Philip Zawisza

Tenor William Ferguson and baritone Philip Zawisza will return to the Quad Cities and join the Handel Oratorio Society for the 132nd anniversary performances of G.F. Handel's Messiah.

Performances will begin at 8 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 8, and at 2 p.m. on Sunday, Dec. 9, in Centennial Hall, 3703 7th Ave., Rock Island, Ill.

Tickets are $20 for the public, $16 for senior citizens and $10 for students and Augustana faculty/staff. Free tickets also are available to junior high and high school students and their families due to a grant from the Meredith Foundation.

Ferguson and Zawisza were soloists in the Quad City Symphony Orchestra's performances of Benjamin Britten's War Requiem in the Quad Cities, Germany and Minnesota last February and March.

"We are thrilled to have William Ferguson and Philip Zawisza singing in Messiah this year. They were fantastic in the Britten War Requiem last season, and it's going to be great to work with them again," said Dr. Jon Hurty, Gassman Family Professor, director of choral activities and conductor of the Handel Oratorio Society at Augustana.

The performances also will feature two other renowned and accomplished soloists, soprano Emily Truckenbrod and mezzo soprano Amanda Crider.

One of the most distinctive aspects of the Handel Oratorio Society's performance is the variety of people it brings together. The society has more than 200 members, including many from the  community and Augustana professors, students, alumni and staff. The performance also will include a 35-member professional orchestra.

Remarking that the music is just as meaningful today as it was many years ago when it was first performed in the Quad Cities, Dr. Hurty described Messiah as "an enduring story because it follows the prophecy, birth, life, death and resurrection of Jesus. Handel's music is filled with glorious arias, choruses and instrumental sections that have become familiar and beloved by listeners."

Messiah is a journey from the prophesizing of Christ's birth to his resurrection. The audience members will be a part of the story and will watch it unfold.

"I really like Handel and his work. I like participating in such a long Augustana tradition,"  said Katherine Boardman '14, a vocal performance major from Madison, Wis.

"My favorite piece of the oratorio is "He trusted in God," for it is so powerful and full," said Boardman. "But of course, I love the Hallelujah Chorus for the joy and power that it represents."

Messiah is one event in a series of performances planned for the Christmas season. See below for a list of the remaining performances of the celebration.

Christmas at Augustana - featuring choirs, brass and symphony orchestra.
Friday, Nov. 30 at 8 p.m. and Saturday, Dec. 1 at 4 p.m.
Centennial Hall
Tickets: $20 general public, $16 senior citizens, $10 students and Augustana faculty/staff

Lessons and Carols - featuring the Augustana Chamber Singers and Ascension Ringers 
Thursday, December 13 at 4 and 8 p.m.
Ascension Chapel (820 38th Street)
Free and open to the public

Tickets may be purchased through the Augustana Ticket Office (309) 794-7306 or by visiting

Sam Schlouch
Senior Communication Director
(309) 794-7833