The Seattle Mandolin Orchestra performs from Labor Day to Memorial Day. to book a concert or special event.

The SMO Quartet, consisting of principal players from each section of the orchestra, accepts concert and event bookings year round. for more information.

Next concerts:

Mandolin Messiah

Green Lake United Methodist Church
6415 First Ave. NE (Map)
Seattle, WA 98115
Sun., Dec. 6, 7 p.m.
$20 • $15 students/seniors
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Handel's beloved oratorio—like you've never heard it! Featuring:

Julie Finch, soprano
Elizabeth Peterson, mezzo-soprano
Derek Sellers, tenor
Gustave Blazek, bass

Messiah is one of the most popular and well-known pieces of music in the world,” said Joseph Pollard White, SMO Artistic Advisor and conductor for the evening’s performance. “Changing the instrumentation can help us hear it with fresh ears, as if for the first time. The transparent quality of the mandolin sound supports the voices beautifully, revealing aspects of Handel’s music that one might not notice in a conventional setting.” The orchestra will present an abbreviated version of the oratorio, featuring Part I, or the “Christmas section,” plus the famous “Hallelujah” Chorus.

In another unconventional move, the soloists will also constitute the entire chorus. “Obviously the chorus can’t get any smaller,” said White. “Our intention is to create a sense of intimacy, rather than overwhelm the audience.”

First presented in 1742, Messiah has been played by groups large and small, with a variety of orchestrations and arrangements, although recent trends have favored smaller ensembles. “We know that Handel was familiar with the mandolin, because he wrote a small part for it in one of his later oratorios,” said White. “But mandolin orchestras didn’t come on the scene until the late 19th century. While we’re taking liberties with the instruments, we haven’t changed a note and are using the same string parts as a conventional orchestra.”

The orchestra's holiday CD, Rejoice, will be for sale at the Mandolin Messiah concert. Covering the spectrum from Handel to Irving Berlin, Rejoice features the vocals of Julie Finch. Most of the songs were recorded in one of the sacred spaces of alternative rock: Seattle's Studio Litho, operated by Pearl Jam guitarist Stone Gossard.

Here's a short video preview from a 2014 performance of Mandolin Messiah:

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