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'Messiah' returns to the Grand

Published December 8, 2011 11:46 am

Music • B Murphy once again leads the choir for 10th community celebration.
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2011, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

Excitement is high as the choir prepares for Friday's opening night of the "The 10th Annual Messiah: A Community Celebration at the Grand Theatre." The choir has been rehearsing for 10 weeks.

Collectively, the choir has more than 250 years' experience singing with this choir. Of the 80 members, some have extensive choral experience, singing with groups such as the Beehive Statesmen, Mountain Jubilee Chorus, Hilltop Choir, Utah Opera and Utah Symphony Choir, in musical theatre, and in local church and gospel choirs. Some choir members list their vocal background as "singing in the shower".

Choir members come from all parts of the valley. Detorea Oliver and her husband Joe, live in Davis County. They have sung in the choir for five years and she has co-directed the chorus for two years.

In addition to choir leader Detorea Oliver, B Murphy lends his expertise in co-conducting.

From a press release: Murphy has a rich, musical past. He began singing gospel at a young age. In the 70s he toured as a member of The Platters, whose hits include "The Great Pretender," "Only You (and You Alone)," and "Smoke Gets in Your Eyes." Touring with The Pretenders brought Murphy to Utah. In 1978 he moved to Utah and began his solo career. He has directed many choirs, and when he's not spending time co-conducting, he is commuting to his job in Washington, DC., Murphy works with the choir members in teaching them the energetic and upbeat gospel sound that delight audience members from year to year.

"The most rewarding aspect of this production is the bonds that have been formed amongst choir members and musicians. We have choir members from over seven counties that come together. Many of them have created lifelong friendships," Murphy says.

Murphy's enthusiasm about this production is apparent. "It's a performance; it's a ministry; it's a celebration!" says Murphy about this 10th Annual Community Celebration of Messiah. "Don't miss it! Many audience members tell me how they've made the Community Celebration of the Messiah part of their Christmas tradition, and I couldn't be happier."

"The 10th Annual Messiah: A Community Celebration" runs Dec. 9, 10 and 12 at 7:30 p.m. at The Grand Theatre.

The Grand Theatre is at 1575 S. State St. on Salt Lake Community College's South City Campus. Tickets are $8-24 and are available online at http://www.the-grand.org or by calling the box office at 801-957-3322.