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Masterwork Chorus Honored for Milestone Performance

The 250th performance of Handel's 'Messiah' set for Dec. 23 at Carnegie Hall.

Most of us would consider ourselves extremely fortunate were we to make it to 100.

But, 250?

Such is the feat accomplished by the Morristown-based Masterwork Chorus, which has been performing Handel's "Messiah," a Christmas staple since 1957.

For the choral group's accomplishment, which will take place Sunday, Dec. 23 at Carnegie Hall in New York City, the town declared the date "Masterwork Chorus Day" in a proclamation read by Mayor Tim Dougherty on Nov. 20.

"We're so honored to have achieved this," said Martha Carson, president of the Masterwork Chorus. "We're delighted to present the 250th performance and delighted to be supporting Morristown."

It was on Dec. 7, 1957, at Morristown High School where George Frideric Handel's best-known oratorio was first performed by the Masterwork Chorus. Since then, the production has been experienced all across the region, in Morristown, Madison, New Brunswick and New York City, among other locales.

Several members of the group were on-hand to accept the proclamation, including Carson, Vice President Don MacGowan and Priscilla Hartwell, a longtime member of the chorus.

When it came to the longevity of the Masterwork Chorus, MacGowan said it takes several things, including dedicated members, talented music directors and "over two million 'hallelujahs,'" he said.

For more information, including how to purchase tickets to the Masterwork Chorus' next production of "Messiah," click here.

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