Per our decade long tradition, the Great Lakes Chamber Orchestra will celebrate the holiday concert season with the performance of Handel’s masterpiece Messiah. The first half of the concert features the GLCO choir and soloists in Oratorio de Noel by Camille Saint-Saëns, setting the mood for the Christmas story. Saint-Saëns’ Oratorio is an intimate work blending a number of musical styles—narrative recitatives, folk-like melodies, passionate operatic solo passages, and simple choral writing. It was composed in 1858, when the Church of the Madeleine in Paris commissioned Camille Saint-Saëns to write work for that year’s Christmas celebration. The concert concludes with the first and second sections of Handel’s famous oratorio Messiah, ending with the celebratory and beloved Hallelujah chorus.
Click below to hear the Hallelujah chorus section from 2019’s Messiah:
Violinist, violist, conductor and professor Dr. Eric Lawson has had a varied career in performance and education. Past performances as a conductor, soloist and lecturer have taken him to Austria, Brazil, China, Germany, Romania and Scandinavia. Before returning to his home state of Michigan, he was based in North Dakota where, in addition to serving as a violin instructor at Bismarck State College, Jamestown College, and the University of Mary, he was also concertmaster of the Bismarck-Mandan Symphony Orchestra and established the Bismarck-Mandan Youth Symphony. Other former academic appointments have included Michigan Technological University in Houghton, Central College in Pella, Iowa and the University of North Dakota where he founded the string program and the UND Chamber Orchestra.
Here in Michigan, Dr. Lawson as been very active with the Alpena Symphony Orchestra as its concertmaster, conductor and president of the board. He also performs with many other orchestras in Northern Michigan and participates in the Traverse Symphony as a first violinist, in the Gaylord Symphony as concertmaster and as assistant concertmaster in the Great Lakes Chamber Orchestra.
And finally, in what has been one of the most important experiences of his life outside of music, he also served almost four years as an Alpena County Commissioner, representing Ossineke and Sanborn Townships. In addition to serving as chair of the Salary and Personnel Committee, he also served on the Airport, Ambulance, District Court, Circuit Court Management and Jail Committees. He also represented Alpena County in Gaylord with the Northern Michigan Regional Entity Substance Use Disorder Board and continues to serve on the Northeast Michigan Community Mental Health Board. Dr. Lawson resides in Ossineke with his wife and two children.