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The Worcester Chorus: Handel Messiah (On Demand Video)

Monday, December 5, 2022 - Saturday, December 31, 2022

$17 ($15 TICKET + $2 FEE)
Mechanics Hall logo
Katharine Dain, soprano
Sarah Rose Taylor, mezzo-soprano
Daniel McGrew, tenor
Jermaine Woodard, baritone

Music Worcester thanks the following sponsors of this presentation:

Mass Cultural Council logo


Click “Buy Tickets” to rent access through the end of December 2022 to our recording of The Worcester Chorus’ performance of Handel Messiah at Mechancis Hall on December 3, 2022. Program details below:

Directed by Chris Shepard, The Worcester Chorus is one of America’s oldest and longest-running choral ensembles. Attending their annual performance of Handel’s Messiah at historic Mechanics Hall on the first weekend of December each year is a holiday tradition for many families and choral music fans in the Greater Worcester community and beyond.

The chorus will be joined on stage by vocal soloists and the Worcester Festival Orchestra. Read below for more information on each soloist:

The Worcester Chorus

Directed by Chris Shepard, The Worcester Chorus is one of America’s oldest and longest-running choral ensembles. Attending their annual performance of Handel’s Messiah at historic Mechanics Hall on the first weekend of December each year is a holiday tradition for many families and choral music fans in the Greater Worcester community and beyond.

The chorus will be joined on stage by vocal soloists and the Worcester Festival Orchestra. Read below for more information on each soloist:

Katharine Dain, soprano

American-Dutch soprano Katharine Dain performs opera, chamber music, orchestral repertoire, and oratorio on international stages and is a probing curator and collaborator on many kinds of creative projects. Highlights of recent seasons include a debut with the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra under Antony Hermus in the premiere of a commissioned work by Bram Kortekaas, Mozart Don Giovanni (Donna Anna) with the Orchestra of the 18th Century and the Armel Opera Festival, orchestral song cycles of Dutilleux, Saariaho, and Berlioz with ensembles including the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra and Tapiola Sinfonietta, and songs of Berg and Zemlinsky arranged and conducted by Reinbert de Leeuw. Dain’s recent album Regards sur l’Infini with pianist Sam Armstrong, featuring Messiaen Poèmes pour Mi and songs by Debussy, Delbos, Dutilleux, and Saariaho, won the 2021 Edison Klassiek for Best Debut and was widely praised in the press (“an extraordinarily polished and thought-through disc … glowing” —The Guardian). Her performance in the the Clermont-Ferrand International Competition, called a “revelation” by Diapason, led to her debut as Konstanze in Mozart Die Entführung aus dem Serail at the opera houses of Clermont-Ferrand, Avignon, Rouen, Massy, and Reims.

A passionate advocate for music of the 20th and 21st centuries, Dain first appeared with the Dutch National Opera in Claude Vivier Kopernikus and has since revisted the opera in North and South America. In the 2021-’22 season, she will be both singer and co-creator (with conductor Manoj Kamps, director Lisenka Heijboer Castañón, and Asko|Schönberg) on a new production for the DNO’s Opera Forward Festival. She works frequently with ensembles known for experimental and multidisciplinary projects, and she is often called for jump-ins of unusual concert repertoire, which has led to invitations at the Concertgebouw’s Zaterdagmatinee Kleine Zaal recital series, the Holland Festival, and the West Cork and Aldeburgh Festivals (among others) in works by Andriessen, Gubaidulina, Korngold, Marx, Nono, Orff, Ravel, Shostakovich, Tavener, and van de Putte.

Dain is equally at home in orchestral repertoire, oratorio, chamber music, and song. Some favorite past performances include Matthäus-Passion with the Academy of Ancient Music and the Choir of King’s College Cambridge, Messiah in Carnegie Hall, Mozart Requiem with the Orchestra of St. Luke’s, Stravinsky Les Noces with the New York City Ballet, and Brahms Requiem with Cappella Amsterdam. A passionate promoter of chamber music and song, Dain has co-founded several ensembles, including Damask Vocal Quartet, whose 2018 album O schöne Nacht, featuring music of Brahms and his contemporaries, won France’s Choc de Classica award. She has performed with the Quiroga, Ragazze, Navarra, Van Brugh, Carducci, Callino, and Momenta string quartets and is a frequent guest on international chamber music festivals and series.

Dain holds degrees from Harvard University, Guildhall School of Music and Drama, and Mannes College of Music, and she currently lives in Rotterdam.

Sarah Rose Taylor, mezzo-soprano

Mezzo-Soprano Sarah Rose Taylor is in increasing demand for her versatile voice and compelling musicianship. The warmth and beauty of her voice is admired by audiences and critics alike, with The Boston Musical Intelligencer writing “sung with gorgeous shading and intensity…whose clarity and focus brought the audience to rapt attention, setting just the right mood for the transition to the drama of the final movement. (Urlicht from Mahler’s Symphony No.2, Resurrection)

Having appeared as a soloist in Austria, France, Germany, Italy and The Bahamas, Ms Taylor maintains an active schedule across the United States, including recital engagements in Houston, Los Angeles, New York, Phoenix, San Francisco, and Washington DC. In 2014, she performed her Weill Carnegie Hall solo debut singing selections of Elgar’s Sea Pictures. Ms Taylor has also appeared as a finalist in both the Peter Elvins Vocal Competition (Cambridge, MA) and the Talents Lyriques, Reims Voix Sacrées Competition (Reims, France) and most recently as a semi-finalist in the Premiere Opera Foundation with NYIOP.

In 2015, MSR Classics released Ms. Taylor’s solo debut CD of Wagner’s Wesendonck Lieder, Elgar’s Sea Pictures and ‘The Angel’s Farewell’ from The Dream of Gerontius, which has been reviewed as “lends her rich, dark mezzo to the lush texture of the work.” Fanfare; “Sarah Rose Taylor’s voice is warm, radiant and creamy…first class…” Music & Vision, Sydney; “Ms. Taylor’s ravishing voice… filled with lyrical tenderness and power as needed. I am very impressed with her vocal artistry. It (Wagner/Elgar CD) is unforgettable and Sarah Rose Taylor is a marvel!” Gapplegate Music Review.

Ms. Taylor’s wide ranging oratorio repertoire has included solo role performances of Bach’s Mass in B Minor, Handel’s Messiah and Judas Maccabaeus, Haydn’s Mass in Time of War, Debussy’s Cantate La Damoiselle Elue and Arvo Pärt’s Passio. In 2015 she sang with The Tallis Scholars, directed by Peter Phillips, for Carnegie Hall’s Spem in alium Tallis Project. In 2022, she performed a concert of Operatic Arias by Handel and Purcell with the Choir of St. Thomas Fifth Avenue and New York Baroque Incorporated for their Concert honoring The Saint George’s Society of New York, directed by Dr. Jeremy Filsell.

In December she will be the alto soloist for Handel’s Messiah in Worcester, Massachusetts and in New York CityShe will perform with the Worcester Chorus at Mechanics Hall, directed by Dr. Christopher Shepard and St Thomas Episcopal Church, Fifth Avenue in New York City, directed by Dr. Jeremy Filsell.

On the operatic stage, Ms. Taylor’s roles have included Marcellina and Cherubino in Mozart’s Le Nozze di Figaro, Third Lady in Mozart’s Die Zauberflöte, La Badessa in Puccini’s Suor Angelica, Sally in Barber’s A Hand of Bridge, and Francisco in the world premier of Bruce Saylor’s The Image Maker. Most recently she performed ‘Se Romeo’ from Bellini’s I Capuleti e i Montecchi with the AIMS Festival Orchestra in Graz, Austria.

In the summer of 2022, she has been invited to perform the role of Schwertleite, one of the Valkyries, in Wagner’s Die Walküre with the Berlin Dramatic Voices Program and she will also be performing the role of second norn in Wagner’s Götterdämmerung and Laura in Ponchielli’s La Gioconda with the New York Dramatic Voices program.In 2022 she joins the chorus and comprimario roster of the Boston Lyric Opera.

Born in England, Sarah Rose Taylor grew up in a rich musical choral tradition, singing in many of England’s Cathedrals with the Royal School of Church Music’s Southern Cathedral Singers. Since moving to the USA, she has been a member of several professional choirs in New York City, Charleston, SC and Boston, MA. Ms Taylor has a Master’s degree and an Artist Diploma in Vocal Performance from The Aaron Copland School of Music in New York City where she studied with Sherry Overholt. She continues private study with Metropolitan Opera singer, Jennifer Rowley and Dramatic Soprano, Barbara Quintiliani and coaches with former Metropolitan Opera conductor, Steven Crawford. She also has degrees in French Studies from the British Institute in Paris and a Maîtrise in French Language Teaching from La Sorbonne, Paris.

Daniel McGrew, tenor

A winner of the 2021 Young Concert Artists International auditions, Daniel McGrew is an active performer of a broad range of repertoires spanning opera, musical theatre, early, and new music. Most recently, Daniel has been seen at the Marlboro Music Festival in performances of Beethoven and Schumann, as a guest artist at Songfest for the world premiere of John Harbison’s Poems for Robin and as a guest at the Tanglewood Music Center for the American-premiere of George Benjamin and Martin Crimp’s Lessons in Love and Violence, under the baton of the composer. His upcoming performances include debuts at The Kennedy Center and New York’s Merkin Hall as a recent winner of the 2021 Young Concert Artist Auditions in addition to appearances with the Buffalo Chamber Music Society, Pro Musica Columbus and Mirror Visions Ensemble.

Recent operatic appearances include Harlekin in Ullman’s Der Kaiser von Atlantis, and the title roles in Bernstein’s Candide and Charpentier’s La descente d’Orphée aux enfers, each at the University of Michigan and under the direction of Matthew Ozawa. As part of the Tanglewood Music Center’s celebration of the Bernstein centennial, Daniel performed François in A Quiet Place, directed by Peter Kazaras. Additional highlights include title roles in Britten’s Albert Herring and Monteverdi’s L’Orfeo, Contino Belfiore in Mozart’s La finta giardiniera, Ecclitico in Haydn’s Il mondo della luna, and Toquemada in Ravel’s L’heure Espagnole, all at the Oberlin Conservatory. He recently joined Opera Colorado for the recording of Gerald Cohen and Deborah Brevoort’s Steal a Pencil for Me, which the company premiered in 2018.

Also at Tanglewood, Daniel received mentorship from Dawn Upshaw, Sanford Sylvan and Stephanie Blythe, culminating in performances of Britten’s Les illuminations, sacred works of Heirich Schütz, Schubert ensembles with Emmanuel Ax, and, for the Festival of Contemporary Music, Kurtág’s Three Ancient Inscriptions. On his performance of those songs, the Boston Globe lauded Daniel’s “viciously beautiful timbre;” Classical Scene praised his “intense concentration,… clarity, and ferocity.” Additional performances of new music include the role of Jesus in the premier of Robert Kyr’s oratorio, Transfiguration, with Yale Camerata, Reena Esmail’s This Love Between Us, with Yale Schola Cantorum and Juilliard415, and a concert on the NYFOS Next series exploring the music of James Primosch. He is currently collaborating with Guggenheim Fellow, Matthew Ricketts on a new cycle written for him and pianist Nathanial LaNasa.

Daniel performed in the symphonic premiere of James Lapine’s revue, Sondheim on Sondheim, with the Boston Pops Orchestra. He later joined Kate Baldwin, Liz Calloway, and other Broadway actors in David Loud’s, A Good Thing Going, for which his “most beautiful, longing-imbued tenor” was celebrated as “a find!” (Woman Around Town).

An early music specialist, Daniel has performed Bach with numerous conductors including Matthew Halls, John Harbison, David Hill, Kenneth Slowik, and Masaaki Suzuki, including a one-on-a-part B Minor Mass at the Oberlin Baroque Performance Institute. He has made multiple appearances with Gamut Bach Ensemble at the Philadelphia Chamber Music Society and the Bach Vespers series at Holy Trinity Lutheran. Daniel joined Elm City Consort for Douce Dame: Woman and the Ars Nova, a program exploring women’s voices in the 14th century through the music of Guillaume de Machaut and Phillipe de Vitry. As a soloist with Yale’s Schola Cantorum, he appeared in Bach’s Mass in A Major at Alice Tully Hall, Arvo Pärt’s Passio in performances throughout Russia and the Baltic region, Bach’s Magnificat throughout India, and the Monteverdi Vespers 1610 and Händel’s Occasional Oratorio in New York and New Haven. He twice attended the Bach Institute at Emmanuel Music in Boston.

Daniel is deeply committed to recital performance and the art of song—he very recently joined the Five Boroughs Music Festival and Brooklyn Art Song Society to present a complete cycle of Wolf’s Mörike Liederbuch with Martin Katz. In the spring of 2020 Daniel joined the Mirror Visions Ensemble, with whom he now appears regularly. He has also made numerous appearances with the New York Festival of Song and University Music Society. In 2019, he attended Stephanie Blythe’s Fall Island Vocal Seminar, performing the songs of living American composers.

Daniel holds degrees from Oberlin Conservatory and Yale University; in the spring of 2020 he completed his doctorate at the University of Michigan. He is a committed teacher and pedagogue, having taught studio voice, lyric dictions, and music history at University of Michigan, Oberlin Conservatory, Bowling Green State University, and Adrian College. He currently maintains a private studio in Stamford, Connecticut.

Jermaine Woodard Jr., baritone

Jermaine Otis Woodard Jr (Virginian-baritone & recording-artist) is passionately devoted to an eclectic professional performing career spanning choral, opera, musical-theater, oratorio, contemporary-inspirational, pop, jazz, liturgical, and sacred music.  With a distinguished passion for ensemble collaboration, this chiefly has kept him deeply involved in New England’s performing arts scene since the completion of his undergraduate vocal studies at The Hartt School

Woodard actively serves on the roster of:  Voce, Inc (Signum records); CONCORA; Voices of Concinnity (Consonare Chamber Ensemble); Crescendo; Cathedral of Saint Joseph’s Schola Cantorum/Cathedral Quartet; premier recording ensembles Composer’s Choir and Vox Futura; Handel & Haydn Society; and the newly-emerged Voices of Hartford.  Opera-and-concert-affiliates include Berkshire Opera Festival, Hartford Symphony Orchestra, Music Worcester, Panopera, Opera Connecticut, Opera Theatre of CT, and Hartford Opera Theatre.  Jermaine serves as Baritone section-leader/soloist at Asylum Hill Congregational Church, with Crescendo, and with The Hartford Chorale; also serving on the board of governors with The Hartford Chorale and Consonare.  Jermaine cantors at Sacred Heart Parish of Bloomfield, University of Saint Joseph’s, Cathedral of St. Joseph’s, and Holy Family Passionist Retreat Center (West Hartford).  Most notably, Woodard recently celebrated an artistic and career milestone inaugurating a leading role, for a regional theater house contract, for a new musical premiere.
Career highlights include: Baritone soloist – Rene Clausen’s A New Creation; King Balthazar – Margaret Bond’s The Ballad of the Brown King; Baritone soloist – J. S. Bach’s Mass in B Minor BWV 232 and Eric Weitzner’s Hebrew Prayer in B Minor (world premiere); (a) Singer – Peter Rothstein’s All Is Calm: The Christmas Truce of 1914film adaptation (Playhouse on Park, West Hartford); Fiorello & Ufficiale – Rossini’s Barber of Seville; Adam – Henry Mollicone’s Beatitude Mass: For The Homeless; (a) Baritone soloist – Craig Hella Johnsons’ Considering Matthew Shepard; Baron Duphol – Verdi’s La Traviata; Jim Conley – Jason Robert Brown’s Parade; Baritone soloist – Duruflé’s Requiem, op. 9; Jesus – J.S. Bach’s St. Matthew Passion; Mr. Jenks – Copland’s The Tender Land; (a) soloist – Beethoven’s Choral Fantasy, op. 80 (Hartford Symphony Orchestra); and Coalhouse Walker – Flaherty’s Ragtime.

John Zeugner, Telegram & Gazette

In any event, there was, as always, in Music Worcester’s presentation of Handel’s Messiah, a soul healing, community-building moment, for all listeners. The stupendous sounds of that music in the soft blue-white silk of Mechanics Hall, amid dark almost indistinguishable portraits on high, is surely tonic to overcome the despicable antics of our national politics.


Monday, December 5, 2022
Saturday, December 31, 2022


Pre-recorded concert with flexible viewing option(s).


Music Worcester