Village Church’s Village Community Chorale, with an 80-voice choir, soloists and San Diego Symphony members, will add to this year’s Christmas celebration in Rancho Santa Fe by performing all three parts of Handel’s “Messiah” Dec. 8-9, starting at 7 p.m. both days.
“The level of performance keeps going up every year,” said Juan Carlos Acosta, the church’s director of music ministries.
Last year, Acosta said, the church could not accommodate everyone who wanted to attend the single-night performance of the annual holiday show, when the Village Community Chorale performed John Rutter’s “Magnifica” along with several of his carol settings. He heard one story of a guest who missed the show because he couldn’t find a parking spot. So this year, they decided to hold two shows to meet the demand from the community.
“The audience has been fantastic,” said Acosta, in his fifth year as director of music ministries.
It will be the group’s first time holding back-to-back performances for its holiday show, and its first time performing “Messiah,” written in 1741 by German-born composer George Frideric Handel and performed for the first time in Dublin one year later. Performances of “Messiah” have become a holiday tradition all over the world.
Acosta said the Village Community Chorale “keeps getting better and better” over the years. There will be a series of rehearsals leading up to a final dress rehearsal on the Saturday, Dec. 7, before the two shows.
Acosta has previously served as director of music ministries at First United Methodist Church in Chula Vista, Pacific Beach Presbyterian Church and St. John’s Lutheran Church. Since joining the Village Church, he’s led the Village Community Chorale and Chancel Choir in performances of Brahms’ “Requiem,” Saint-Saens’ “Christmas Oratorio,” Haydn’s “Lord Nelson Mass” and more, according to the church’s website. He also leads the youth choir and oversees the church concert series.
Acosta said he develops the repertoire for the performances at Village Church events one to two years in advance.
“I have a long term-vision for the pieces I want to do at the church,” he said.
The shows are part of a series of holiday events the church will be holding throughout December, including a Women’s Christmas Potluck Dec. 11, performances of the musical “I’ll Be Home For Christmas” Dec. 13-15, and Luminaria Preparation & Fellowship Party following the Dec. 22 service.
Village Church is located at 6225 Paseo Delicias in Rancho Santa Fe. Admission is free, but tickets are required. For more information, visit villagechurch.org/handels-messiah.