Spread the Cheer, Messiah Is Near!
Are you looking for a way to get into the holiday spirit? Come see the talented members of the St Agnes/Strake Jesuit Mixed Chorus perform in Messiah, a concert bound to leave you speechless.
Messiah is conducted by the Head of the St. Agnes/Strake Jesuit Mixed Chorus, Arthur Buckley. Mr. Buckley came to St. Agnes in the Fall of 1980, specifically hired to build up the Music Department. When he came, there were only 23 students in Choir: 22 girls and 1 boy. The first thing Mr. Buckley did was create the St. Agnes Triple Trio, a group of Varsity singers who could sing at liturgies and events around Houston.
Mr. Buckley’s favorite song being performed in Messiah this year by the full choir is the Randal Bass Gloria. He says, “It is a BIG piece, and difficult – but very exciting, and worthy of being the opening song to the first Messiah in Meyer Hall. My favorite song in the program this year, though is Mary Did You Know? by Pentatonix, being performed by the Double Triple Trios.”
Over his countless years teaching, Mr. Buckley’s favorite memory of Messiah is seeing all the alumni come back to join in for the Hallelujah chorus. He adds, “Since we began performing the Christmas Section of Handel’s Messiah, we have always invited choir alumni to come to the stage and sing the Hallelujah Chorus with us. Some performances we have eight, at other performances we have twelve to twenty. It is always a surprise to see who walks up on stage. Five years ago, we celebrated the 25th Anniversary of our Choir performing Messiah. On closing night, we had more than forty Choir alumni come to the stage for the Hallelujah! The sound was awesome!”
Mr. Buckley is especially looking forward to this year, being the 30th Anniversary, and the first Messiah in Meyer Hall. “I do know that there are 2 former Triple Trios that are using Messiah as a Trio reunion. People are flying in from California, Denver, Seattle, and many more places!”
Many veterans will be coming from Houston too! One of these veterans, Kelly Waguespack, is now a voice teacher at St Agnes, teaching students who are members of Mixed Chorus today. She says, “My husband and I attend Messiah every year. We have a great appreciation for the music and the nostalgia that comes with it. It brings back a lot of great - and goofy - memories with amazing friends. We gleefully mouth along to every song, we delight in any and all new 12 Days of Christmas antics, and we proudly go up on stage for the Hallelujah Chorus with our fellow alumni. I also love to root for my current students as they perform their hearts out and create memories of their own!”
When Mrs. Waguespack was a high schooler, she was taught by Mr. Buckley, and was also a member of Triple Trio. In Trios, she met her husband and as far as they know, they are the first "Trio couple" to ever get married.
For Isabella Zambrano, a senior at St. Agnes, this will be her fourth Messiah. She is extremely excited to sing in the new Meyer Hall, saying, “Even though we have to stand for two hours, there’s just something so magical about singing onstage with all of my friends, with a beautiful orchestra playing and Mr. Buckley conducting. It’s an event that I look forward to every year.” Bella is a member of the Triple Trio and has performed at various venues around Houston this year. She has two solos in Messiah this year: “Come Unto Him” and “Rejoice Greatly”.
We are working hard to make this the best Messiah yet! Be sure to come to the St. Agnes Academy Meyer Hall, on Dec. 14 or 15 at 7 p.m. to see this astounding performance! Purchase your tickets here.
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