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Classical IPR in conversation with André Strydom of the Great Lakes Chamber Chorus

André Strydom
André Strydom

This week, the Great Lakes Chamber Chorus will be singing in person for the first time since 2019.

The Chorus, along with the Great Lakes Chamber Orchestra, will present the first two sections of Handel's Messiah as well as selections from Bach's Christmas Oratorio.

Classical IPR spoke with André Strydom about these upcoming performances. who became the GLCO's Chorus Master in February 2020.

Strydom (pronounced "STRAYdom") also talked about his fascinating path from working in academic medicine at a hospital in South Africa to his current career as a professional musician in northern Michigan.

He took us through some selections from Messiah, explaining what's important to hear in them.

In the Overture (also called the Sinfonia or Sinfony), for example, Handel used the French overture style as opposed to the Italian overture style.

What exactly does that mean? "The first section has the slow dotted rhythm, and the second half is fast and fugal in nature," Strydom explained.

In Messiah, Handel combined music from many different places and traditions, including Italian opera, German counterpoint and English choral anthems.

As for the chorus "For unto us a child is born," Strydom said, "Well, it's just one big fugue, isn't it?"

The Great Lakes Chamber Orchestra and Chorus's presentation of Handel's Messiah is happening Thursday and Friday at 7 p.m. at the Great Lakes Center for the Arts in Bay Harbor.

Click here for more information and tickets.

Watch a video below of soprano Jeanine De Bique performing the aria "Rejoice Greatly" from the 2017 Proms.

Dr. Amanda Sewell is IPR's music director.