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Do It Yourself Messiah Returns to Chicago

Monday, November 14, 2016 9:24
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41st Annual Do-It-Yourself Messiah Tickets – On Sale November 15
This Sell-out Event Takes Place December 20 and 21 at the Harris Theater

CHICAGO – The 41st annual performances of the International Music Foundation’s Do-It-Yourself Messiah take place at the Harris Theater on Tuesday, December 20 and Wednesday, December 21, 2016.  Tickets for the event go on sale at noon on November 15 and in years past, tickets have sold out in just a few days. Tickets are $15 per person and can be purchased online at, or at the Harris Theater Box Office located at 205 E. Randolph, or by phone at 312-334-7777.

“The Do-It-Yourself Messiah is a beloved holiday tradition for many families,” said Ann Murray, Executive Director of the International Music Foundation. “Some attendees came to their first Messiah as children and now they are bringing their own children,” she adds. “It is very rewarding to bring together families from all over the Chicago area, from different races, religions and cultures, to celebrate the season singing Messiah.” This is the 27th year that Ms. Murray has been involved with the Messiah production.

The Do-It-Yourself performances offer a rare opportunity for the audience to perform as the choir in George Frederic Handel’s masterpiece, Messiah. Accompanied by a volunteer orchestra and a world-renowned conductor and soloists, the multi-generational audience is seated according to voice range: soprano, alto, tenor or bass.  The four professional soloists include Naperville resident Soprano Michelle Areyzaga, Chicago-based Alto Ryan Belongie, Tenor Thomas Glenn, and Bass-baritone Mark Steven Doss. Acclaimed Maestro Stanley Sperber, who travels from his home in Israel each year to be part of Messiah, will conduct.

Performances of the Do-It-Yourself Messiah begin at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, December 20 and Wednesday, December 21.  Patrons may take their seats in the theater, located at 205 E. Randolph, beginning at 6:15 p.m. The Messiah performance lasts approximately two and a half hours and is filled with joyful good will and camaraderie.  Attendees are asked to bring a copy of the Messiah score, or they can be purchased in the lobby of the Harris Theater for $10.

The Do-It-Yourself Messiah is made possible through generous lead sponsorship from Wintrust Financial Corporation, and additional sponsorships from Performance Trust Companies, an anonymous donor, and Tyndale House Publishers, Inc. For more information about the performances, please visit the International Music Foundation website at

About the Messiah: Composed in 1741 by George Frederic Handel, Messiah is a large-scale piece for orchestra, chorus and soloists. Originally intended as an Easter oratorio, it has become more popularly associated with the Christmas holiday season. A small church in rural England began the “do-it-yourself” part more than 40 years ago. Al Booth, founder of the International Music Foundation, was an early participant and brought the idea home to Chicago where he and Margaret Hillis, then director of the Chicago Symphony Chorus, staged the first event in 1976.

About the International Music Foundation: The International Music Foundation (IMF) was founded in 1979 by Chicagoan Al Booth as the umbrella organization for two of his music projects: the Do-It-Yourself Messiah and the Dame Myra Hess Memorial Concert series, both now cornerstones of the Chicago musical scene. In 1981, with the help of Yehudi Menuhin, the IMF added Live Music Now!, a free concert series for children in the Chicago Public Schools. In 2016, the IMF merged with a sister organization, Rush Hour Concerts, to increase its reach and effectiveness through the combined strengths of both organizations.  For more information please visit,
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