GIBSON CITY — Even more local area soloists than last year will be featured in the Dec. 1 production of George Frideric Handel's "The Messiah" by the Gibson Area Music Foundation.
The performance will begin at 3 p.m. at the Gibson City Bible Church on Illinois 47 at the west edge of town.
Some soloists are new to the performance but are well-known to area residents. Patrick Volker, who now teaches in Chicago, will perform some of the bass solos. Gibson City-Melvin-Sibley High vocal music teacher Amanda Broaddus will be the mezzo soprano, and Weston Henry, Paxton-Buckley-Loda vocal music teacher, will provide tenor solos.
Also added to this year's performance is Gail (Swanstrom) Payne of Indianapolis as a soprano soloist. Returning soloists from last year are Rick Rhodes of Dewey (bass) and Allison Arends of Melvin (soprano).
Another special feature this year is participation from three generations of the Roth family: Gene Roth; his daughter Leigh Ann Sharp; and granddaughter Meaghan Sharp.
A chorus of dedicated area singers has been practicing since Oct. 28 with returning choral director, the Rev. Willie T. Summerville of Urbana.
Attendees can again look forward to quality instrumental music from string, trumpet and tympani musicians of Champaign-Urbana.
Bill Ogg of Gibson City will provide piano accompaniment.
The performance is sponsored annually by the Gibson Area Music Foundation, whose co-chairmen are Ogg and Galen Litwiller of rural Dewey.
Other officers, all from Gibson City, are Denis Fisher, vice chairman; Val Hunt, secretary; and Doug Hager, treasurer.
Board members include Zach Babb of Fisher and Jan Peterson and Jean Noellsch of Gibson City.
Dr. Paul Sunderland of Gibson City, a founding board member, is chairman emeritus.
Hager said contributions so far for this year's performance are $2,200, and annual expenses for the event are about $4,500. Donations of $10 or more are listed in the printed program. Those interested in helping sponsor the production can mail a contribution to Hager at P.O. Box 152, Gibson City, IL 60936.