Special to the E-T

For the last 30 years, the Stephenville and Tarleton communities have welcomed the holiday season with George Frederic Handel’s “Messiah.”

This year’s performance will be at 7:30 p.m. Saturday in the Clyde H. Wells Fine Arts Center Auditorium.

The Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra will join the Cross Timbers Civic Chorale for the production, which will be conducted by Tarleton Director of Choirs Dr. Charles Rives. This year marks the 27th year that Rives has conducted “Messiah.”

Handel first performed the complex and musically challenging oratorio, a composition for voice and instruments with lyrics from the Bible, in 1742. It is known for its familiar “Hallelujah” chorus, which prompts the audience to stand, a tradition dating back to the 18th century.

The chorale is a civic chorus sponsored by Tarleton and the Cross Timbers Fine Arts Council. Singing with the chorale is the Tarleton University Singers, Chamber Choir and Select Women’s Ensemble.

The combined choirs also will perform “Gloria” by John Rutter and “Fantasia On Christmas Carols” by R. V. Williams featuring the newest member of the vocal faculty at Tarleton, Dr. Iwoa Asakura. Tarleton Voice Instructor Heather Hawk also will perform.

The visit by the Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra is made possible by a generous grant from the Cross Timbers Fine Arts Council and Tarleton.

Admission is $10 and all seats are reserved. A large audience is expected and patrons are encouraged to purchase tickets in advance. Tickets are on sale in the box office from 2 to 6 p.m. today. For more information, call the box office at (254) 968-9634.