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Calvin's Messiah to Air Statewide
December 5, 2007

One of the country's longest-running performances of Handel's Messiah will be able to be seen around the country for the first time ever this month thanks to an evolving relationship between Calvin College and WGVU Television.

The Calvin Oratorio Society presented Messiah at DeVos Performance Hall in Grand Rapids on November 30 and December 1, under the baton of Calvin College professor of music Joel Navarro and featuring four outstanding soloists: Sang-Yun Kwen, soprano; Gwenneth Bean, contralto; David Troiano, tenor; and Jonathan Ten Brink, bass.

Present to capture both performances were the cameras of WGVU, a service of Grand Valley State University.

WGVU will air a condensed version of the Calvin performance on December 23 at 9 pm, followed by repeat airings on December 24 at 2 am and December 25 at 9 am and 9:30 pm. WGVU also will make the show available to PBS affiliates around the nation. To date, several stations have signed on, including WTVS in Detroit, WKAR in Lansing, WCMU in Mt. Pleasant and WNMU in Marquette.

Deb Kirk of WGVU was the producer for the upcoming broadcast and said her station was pleased to partner with Calvin College on the 88th version of the Oratorio Society's Messiah.

"We've been working with Calvin for years on the Calvin-Hope basketball games on WGVU," she said, "but this is the first year we've partnered on the Messiah. It's an amazing event and we're thrilled to be able to bring it to audiences beyond those who were in DeVos the two nights of the performance. We hope that we can continue to broaden the audience for the Messiah for years to come."

Calvin's Vicki Van Wingerden, the administrative director for the Oratorio Society, agreed.

"We have a rich tradition at Calvin with the Messiah," she said. "We have people who participate who remember their parents and grandparents taking part. To now extend the reach of the performance, and to add a new technological twist to an 88-year tradition, is really exciting."

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