Community Voices

Friends and Neighbors: ‘Messiah Sing-in’ among season full of musical treats

Civic Chorale of Greater Miami members rehearse for a concert in 2006.
Civic Chorale of Greater Miami members rehearse for a concert in 2006. Miami Herald File

I know you have heard this from me before, but I simply love this time of the year, not only for the spiritual meaning of the season, but also for the great music.

Very soon after Thanksgiving, I start thinking about all the concerts that will be presented to the community and the classic music of the Messiah. I envision myself sitting among people with absolutely beautiful voices, joining them as they sing this wonderful masterpiece.

And if there is a program on television where some choir is singing the music, I position myself in front of the TV, score in hand, and sing as loud as I can. I love doing that. I am not the greatest singer in the world, but I do love to sing. And so, I sing.

But hey, don't go feeling sorry for me. This year. Phee Price, the executive director of the Civic Chorale of Greater Miami, has invited me to join the chorus on Dec. 14, when the chorale and the Alhambra Orchestra present the 43rd annual Messiah Sing-in.

This wonderful Christmas gift to the community will feature guest soloists soprano Giselle Rios; alto Misty Bermudez; tenor Justin John Moniz; and bass Michael Irvin.

If you love this music as much as I do, you can join the open rehearsal at 2:30 p.m. on the day of the concert at Old Cutler Presbyterian Church, 14401 Old Cutler Rd. Bring your own score, if you have one. The free concert will begin at 4 p.m.

More free music

Oscar Diaz, Jr., artistic director of Performer's Music Institute, invites the community to a voice recital 7 p.m. Saturday, at Miami Shores Community Church, 9823 NE Fourth Ave.

If you have never been to one of Diaz's recitals, in which he showcases his students, you are in for a treat. The program will include vocal selections from opera, musical theater, art songs and popular music, performed by lyric mezzo-soprano Katarina Bakas; light-lyric soprano Eylisabeth V. Bengochea; baritone William Cadena; lyric mezzo soprano Jane Rose Cohen; lyric-coloratura soprano Rosie Herrera; mezzo soprano Genesis Marichal; and light-lyric soprano Melissa Ruiz.

The singers will be accompanied by pianists Gregory Szeto and Jared Peroune.

Call Diaz at 305-757-7725 for more information.

‘Celebration of Christmas and Hanukkah’

The Greater Miami Symphonic Band will present its holiday concert, A Celebration of Christmas and Hanukkah, 8 p.m. Dec. 18 at Maurice Gusman Concert Hall on the campus of the University of Miami, 1314 Miller Dr, Coral Gables.

The program will feature vocal quartet singing musical selections of the season and will include Rocket Sleigh by Delvyn Case; Rhapsody for Hanukkah by Stephen Bulla; Fantasia on Kingsfold by Robert Longfield and Christmas Festival by Leroy Anderson.

Tickets are $15 for adults and $5 for students and children over 5, and are available at the box office on the night of the concert, or in advance online at:

Miami Oratorio Society

The Miami Oratorio Society will present its annual Messiah concert at 5 p.m. Sunday at Prince of Peace Moravian Church, 1880 NW 183rd St., Miami Gardens.

The Miami Oratorio Society is directed by Andrew Anderson. Soloists are soprano Joanne Martinez Von Gonton; alto Lissette Jimenez; tenor Lievens Costillo; and bass Daniel Snodgrass. The program will also include a Christmas sing-along sin

Tickets are $20 for adults and $10 for youth ages 10-17, and will be available at the door. For more information, call Gloria Christian at 954-882-2242 or Sheila Miller at 305-331-9031.

One-woman murder mystery

Barbara Fox will present her one-woman, interactive murder mystery, A Very Merry Murder, 1 p.m. Sunday at Moonchine Restaurant, 7100 Biscayne Blvd. The cost is $21 per person.

Fox has written murder mysteries since 1986, when she started a theater company, Mystery on the Menu, in Washington. In 2000, she moved the company to Florida, where she developed the one-woman mystery shows.

Fox said she has become so attached to some of the characters she created that she put them in her Inn book series. “Sometimes they [the characters] are more real to me than my real-life friends and family,” she said.

The newest book in her Inn series, Murder in Another Inn, is due to be released soon. The first two Inn books, Murder in The Inn and Another Murder in the Inn will be rereleased before the end of the year.

If you attend, be prepared to be a participant. Some audience members will actually receive parts to read, as Fox, playing a nightclub hostess, tries to solve the murder of Robby Ray, the featured singer. Everyone in the audience will share information, examine clues and discuss the crime before the murderer is revealed.

Bring a dollar gift for the holiday grab bag. The program will also include holiday music; food and beverages are available at an additional cost.

To make reservations, call 786-683-6078.

Send all items at least two weeks in advance to Friends and Neighbors, c/o Neighbors, 2000 NW 150th Ave., Suite 1105, Pembroke Pines, FL 33028, fax it to 954-538-7018 or email Pictures are accepted but cannot be returned.