The student news site of Eastern Illinois University in Charleston, Illinois.

The Daily Eastern News

The student news site of Eastern Illinois University in Charleston, Illinois.

The Daily Eastern News

The student news site of Eastern Illinois University in Charleston, Illinois.

The Daily Eastern News


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Messiah concludes performances for semester

Ellen Okerstrom-Drew performs a solo in the Messiah concert. (Ellen Dooley)

The soothing and beautiful sounds came together for the last night of performances for the year, Sunday at 4 p.m. during the Messiah oratorio. 

The historic piece by Handel told the story of the birth and life of Jesus Christ brought a soundful of music at Eastern’s Doudna Fine Arts Center. 

“It’s a historic piece and it’s one of the most popular and beloved pieces of choral music and orchestral music in the whole world,” Assistant Professor – Director of Choral Activities Howard Eckdahl said.  

Eckdahl realized the difficulty that the oratorio by Handel’s Messiah can be for students to learn and perfect. 

“It is challenging, and the orchestra has some of the most glorious string writing that has ever been written,” Eckdahl said. “It is all with the great responsibility of playing something that everybody knows so, you must do it well.”  

Being part of something in collaboration with other communities made it more worthwhile when they performed the Messiah oratorio. 

“The best part of making it happen is collaborating with all the different people that come together to do the messiah,” Eckdahl said. “So, we had faculty members on stage, we had student musicians from Eastern Illinois University, we had community members in the choir and in the orchestra and we had high school students in the choir as well.”  

Working together to bring the two nights of Messiah made all the difference and brought a huge crowd.  

“So, we had this whole group of people from the university, the high school and from the broader communities that work together for this, it is really the greatest part of the collaboration and coming together and doing all this glorious music and presenting it to all these people and bringing two great crowds,” Eckdahl said. 

The best part was that it sounded different in rehearsal with or without the community members. 

“The best part of being part of this, I think, was like the result, because obviously, there is how it sounds in rehearsal. Then there is how it sounds in rehearsal with like the whole group because there is the high schoolers and the community members and then there is how it sounds with the whole choir and the orchestra and that is cool,” Biological Sciences major Maddy Colby said.  

Rebecca von Kamp joins Messiah as a soloist Friday night.
(Ellen Dooley)

Students involved in the Messiah think it is a wonderful experience for them to come out and enjoy.  

“It is a unique concert experience, like it is different than any choir concert that I have been in here at Eastern and any choir concert that I have been to, in general,” Colby said. “It is a cool experience, whether you are religious or not. Just the live music and it is a beautiful, beautiful thing.”  

“I think I can speak for everyone [when] I say that we have had a great privilege to perform this piece for the Eastern Illinois University [and] Charleston community, and we are grateful to have had the opportunity,” Eckdahl said. 

For more information on Doudna upcoming musical performances go to 


Chandler Smith can be reached at 581-2812 or at [email protected].  


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About the Contributors
Chandler Smith, Reporter
Chandler Smith is a senior broadcast journalism major. He previously served as a reporter at The News.
Ellen Dooley, Opinions Editor
Ellen Dooley is a senior special education major. She previously served as the opinions editor at The News.

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