Handel's Oratorio, Samson, presented by UC Alumni Chorus

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In celebration of the 150th anniversary of its west coast premiere, the University of California Alumni Chorus presents George Frederic Handel’s oratorio, Samson, at UC Berkeley’s Hertz Hall on Friday, March 1 at 7:30 p.m., with a repeat performance at First Unitarian Universalist Church of San Francisco on Sunday, March 3 at 2 p.m.

For this special occasion the UC Alumni Chorus will be joined by the UC Berkeley Men's and Women's Chorales and the singers from the First Unitarian Universalist Church Choir. Soloists include tenor Neil Sharp, making his Bay Area debut as Samson; soprano Heidi Moss as Delilah; mezzo-soprano Kindra Scharich as Micah; and baritone Brian Leerhuber as Manoah and Harapha.

The choruses will be accompanied by a Baroque orchestra conducted by Dr. Mark Sumner, Director of the choruses and UC Choral Ensembles, Berkeley.

A three-act oratorio, Samson is considered one of Handel’s finest dramatic works. One of its best-known arias, “Let the bright Seraphim,” is often performed separately as a concert piece. This immediate follow up to Messiah was composed in less than four weeks, during the time Handel was preparing Messiah for its first performance! Samson had its premiere at Covent Garden in London in February 1743, and was a great success. The oratorio remained popular throughout Handel's lifetime and has never fallen entirely out of favor.

Tickets for both performances are $20 for general admission and $15 for students, seniors, and disabled. UC Berkeley students pay $6. Tickets may be purchased at the door or in advance at (510) 642-3880 (phone sales end at 12:30 p.m. Friday for weekend performances) or online at tickets.berkeley.edu. For more information go to the UC Alumni Chorus website, www.ucac.net.

Founded in 1985, The UC Alumni Chorus is a thriving 120 member ensemble composed of Cal alumni, alumni of other UC campuses, and UC Berkeley faculty, staff, and graduate students. The chorus performs a wide variety of music, ranging from 16th century chamber choral works to traditional folk music and 20th century musical theater.

Touring has become part of the Alumni Chorus tradition, giving members the chance to sing for and meet other music lovers around the globe. In the spring of 2012, a group from the Chorus toured Cuba, enjoying a cultural exchange with choirs from Havana, Matanzas, Cienfuegos, and Santiago de Cuba. Previous tours were to Australia, England, the Czech Republic and Hungary, China, the Baltics (Finland, Estonia, Latvia and Russia), and South America (Uruguay and Argentina). In the summer of 2009, the Chorus was invited to participate in the International Choral Festival in Missoula, Montana and the ensemble has twice performed together with the Claremont Chorale, both in Claremont, California and in the Bay Area.

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Friday, March 1, 2013, 7:30 p.m.

Hertz Hall, UC Berkeley campus

Tickets: $20, $15, $6 UC students

Tickets: (510) 642-3880 (phone sales end at 12:30 p.m. Friday for weekend performances).
Online at

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