Independence Messiah Choir and Kansas City Symphony agree to end partnership

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- After 11 years of joint performances of Handel`s Messiah -- the Independence Messiah Choir and Kansas City Symphony have mutually agreed to end the partnership.

The curtain will come down on the choir`s long tradition of singing Handel’s famous Oratorio Messiah after this season.

“I`ve sung with the Messiah Choir for 42 years, my Grandmother Estella Seymour, she sang in it, 1974 was her last year, and she sang in it for 43 years, so combined, we`ve sung in the Messiah Choir for 85 years,” said Lucinda Kincaid, a longtime choir member.

Sixty-two-year-old Kincaid is blind. After her grandmother first took her to see the Independence Messiah Choir for the first time, she decided she would memorize the music, and years later would audition to become a choir member. She`s been with them ever since.

“I just fell in love with the work, I was 12 at the time, so this was in 66, and I fell in love with the music,” Kincaid adds, “After that we stood up and we gave them a standing ovation, and I looked at my grandmother, and I looked up at the choir, and I said I`m going to sing up in that choir, you watch, I`m going to be up there.”

In 2005, the choir announced its intention to cease its annual performances of Messiah as the organization lacked the financial resources to continue producing the event.

At that time, the Kansas City Symphony stepped forward and invited the choir to join the Kansas City Symphony chorus for the symphony`s ongoing Messiah performances.

“It`s been an honor to sing with both,” Kincaid said.

One goal of the partnership was to enable the Independence Messiah Choir to reach its 100th anniversary.

Having accomplished that goal, it was agreed that the challenges of rehearsing two choirs made it difficult to raise the artistic standard to the next level.

In addition, the church-sponsored Independence Messiah Choir is unable to offer the additional financial and administrative resources needed to help meet that goal.

These factors led to the mutual decision that 2016 would be the final joint performance.

“I`m sad we won`t be together again, but I know that this music will live on,” Kincaid adds.

Opportunities for future Independence Messiah Choir performances are being explored.

In the meantime, you can celebrate and support the 100th anniversary performances, starting Thursday through Sunday.

KANSAS CITY SYMPHONY PRESENTS HANDEL’S MESSIAH

Thu 12/1/16 7 p.m.

Fri 12/2/16 8 p.m.

Sat 12/3/16 8 p.m.

Sun 12/4/16 2 p.m.

Best seat availability is tonight and tomorrow. Concert tonight starts at 7 p.m. in Helzberg Hall at Kauffman Center. Box Office representatives will be there 90 minutes before concert start time. Tomorrow starts at 8 p.m. Buy via walk-up, kcsymphony.org or (816) 471-0400. Tickets start at $25.