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New home in Rohnert Park, same impressive Messiah

  • Daniel Earl was the director of the 32nd annual Redwood Empire Sing-Along Messiah held at the Spreckels Performing Arts Center in Rohnert Park, Saturday, December 22, 2012.

    (Crista Jeremiason / The Press Democrat)

Barbara Magnuson of Santa Rosa, wearing a bright red sweater, had two reasons to be at the 32nd annual Redwood Empire Sing-Along of Handel's "Messiah."

Her 10-year-old grand-daughter, Ella Hoffman of Windsor, was going to sing onstage as one of two students representing the Santa Rosa Children's Chorus.

"I'm very excited," Magnuson said. "Who wouldn't be?"

Reason No. 2: Magnuson and her husband Ray are fond of the lengthy choral piece, written in 1741 and telling the life of Jesus Christ.

"We love it," Barbara said.

"It's such beautiful music, it just is," said Janet Smith of Santa Rosa, who came with her husband, Bob, accompanying the Magnusons.

A standing-room-only crowd packed the 550-seat auditorium at Spreckels Performing Arts Center in Rohnert Park for Saturday night's holiday show, held for years at Santa Rosa High School.

"I think this is much better," said Elizabeth Olah of Healdsburg, settled into one the Spreckels Center's cushioned seats.

Olah and her daughter, Ellen, were attending their third "Messiah" sing-along.

Ellen Olah said she relished the piece "because I believe Jesus is Lord; it's such a blessing to come and hear music about him."


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