OLEAN — A special performance of Handel’s “Messiah” will take place at St. Mary of the Angels Catholic Church tonight at 7 p.m. The concert is free and open to the public.

“This is a good end of the year event and we can celebrate together,” said Ritsuko Wada, of the Chamber Music Society of Olean. She and her husband, Rintaro Wada, Olean High School Orchestra instructor, founded the Society several years ago to bring more musical opportunities to the area.

Ritsuko Wada said the talents of more than 60 people from the Olean Community Orchestra and Chorus Academy will come together in one place. Soloists will come from Fredonia University, Alfred University, Philadelphia and Rochester, she noted, some bringing additional audience members who follow their performances to the Olean event.

“It is a wonderful opportunity for area instrumental musicians and singers to get together with a world class conductor and solo singers and share Handel’s masterpiece with area community members,” Wada said.

Music Director Armenio Suzano, who teaches at Houghton College, will conduct the performance. Featured soloists include: Luanne Crosby, soprano, Megan McFadden, mezzo soprano, Joe Dan Harper, tenor, and Nicholas Kilkenny, bass.

The choral and orchestra members have been rehearsing together over the past few months for this event. The “Messiah” has been a featured performance here in the past.

“People say they look forward to it,” Wada said. “We hold other concerts during the year and have good support, but this one is a little challenging and involves a lot of people. We invite the community to attend and celebrate with us.”

The event is partially funded by the New York State Council on the Arts Decentralization Regrant Program with support from Gov. Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature and administered by the Cattaraugus County Arts Council.

St. Mary of the Angels Church is located at the corner of S. First and W. Henley streets in Olean.

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