Choral Director

Grace Congregatioal United Church of Christ, Rutland, VT

With his third “Messiah,” Alastair Stout has established his own tradition within Grace Congregational Church’s 60-year tradition. The church’s Scottish-born minister of music has added bagpipes, dancers and, this year, a world premiere. But, Sunday afternoon, at its center remained an excellent performance of Handel’s supreme music.
Stout led the nearly 70 voices of the Rutland Area Chorus — an amalgam of local church choirs — with professional vocal soloists and orchestra in Part I (Christmas) of George Frederic Handel’s “Messiah,” topped off with the “Hallelujah” Chorus (actually celebrating Easter). Stout employed the crisp precision of historical accuracy, but delivered the spiritual story of “Messiah.”
The orchestra, at 20, smaller than Handel’s original, managed a lightness possible only with good professionals, complementing rather than covering the soloists. Yet it delivered great sound during the glorious sounds.

Grace Church is right to add its stamp on its “Messiah” performance. Without messing with a note of the masterpiece, Stout has invited new interest in an old tradition — and, with it, delivered the joy.                            

                                                       Rutland Herald, December 2019

© Alastair Stout 2020