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King ‘Saul’ Reigns in Masterworks Performance

The Alma Choirs and Alma Symphony Orchestra join forces to perform Handel’s dramatic oratorio about the belligerent King Saul and his jealousy toward the young hero David.

The Old Testament story of Israel’s first king will come alive in the Remick Heritage Center when the Alma College Choirs and the Alma Symphony Orchestra join forces to perform George Frideric Handel’s dramatic oratorio “Saul.”

The concerts in Presbyterian Hall on the Alma College campus will take place at 8 p.m. Saturday, April 9 and 4 p.m. Sunday, April 10. Tickets are $10 for adults, $5 for seniors 62 and up, and free for Alma College staff, students and youth 18 and under.

Seating is reserved. Call (989) 463-7304 for ticket information.

Taken from the book of First Samuel, “Saul” is the story of the bellowing, belligerent King Saul and the jealousy and paranoia that drives his malice toward the young hero David.

Early in the oratorio, David saves the Israelite army by killing the giant Philistine Goliath. The people celebrate when King Saul returns at the head of his victorious army, but it seems to the king as if they cheer more loudly for David than for him — and the trouble begins!

“Handel oratorios are really biblical operas sung in a concert setting,” says Will Nichols, director of the Alma College Choirs. “Everyone — choir, soloists and orchestra alike — are thrust into the passionate story that has it all — battles, treachery, poor parenting, arranged marriages, brotherly love, murder, and a witch and a ghost.”

Three Alma College alumni return to portray the main characters. Baritone Jason Duika ’05 will sing the role of King Saul, soprano Shaina Sanders ’13 will sing the role of Saul’s daughter Michal, and tenor Wilson Nichols ’06 will sing the role of Saul’s faithful son Jonathan.

“All three alums are working around the country as young professional singers, and we are pleased to bring them back to Alma for this performance,” says Nichols.

The alumni soloists will be joined by countertenor Bryan DeSilva, who will sing the role of David.

The more than 100-member Alma College Choirs include the College Chorale, Glee Club and Alma Choir. The approximately 80-member Alma Symphony Orchestra includes a mix of professional musicians from the mid-Michigan area and Alma College student-performers.

Story published on March 25, 2016