More Christmas Anecdotes, Non-Personal Variety

Ever wonder why the audience customarily stands during performances of Handel’s “Hallelujah Chorus?” I used to think it was out of reverence for the explicit Christian meaning of that ending to the second part of his Messiah, Apparently, I was wrong, at least according to the Choral Society of the Moriches, (New York), which explains in its program for its 2010 Christmas concert that it was all a misunderstanding. It seems England’s King George II attended the less than sell-out first performance of Messiah at the Covent Garden in 1743 and, being hard of hearing, thought he heard the first strains of the British national anthem when the “Hallelujah Chorus” began and so leapt to his feet with the rest of the audience following suit. I doubt anyone had the heart or nerve to tell George he was mistaken and, as a result, audiences have been rising to their feet for 267 years ever since which, whatever its origins, is still a nice tradition.

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More Christmas Anecdotes, Non-Personal Variety