Christmas flash mobs have become very popular in recent years. A simple search on YouTube yields thousands of results, but there is one that I believe is truly the best.

It took place at Macy’s in Philadelphia in 2010. Hundreds of singers from various groups dispersed among the crowd of shoppers and spontaneously performed the Hallelujah Chorus from Handel’s Messiah.

Here’s the description of the event from YouTube:

On Saturday, October 30, 2010, the Opera Company of Philadelphia brought together over 650 choristers from 28 participating organizations to perform one of the Knight Foundation’s “Random Acts of Culture” at Macy’s in Center City Philadelphia. Accompanied by the Wanamaker Organ – the world’s largest pipe organ – the OCP Chorus and throngs of singers from the community infiltrated the store as shoppers, and burst into a pop-up rendition of the Hallelujah Chorus from Handel’s “Messiah” at 12 noon, to the delight of surprised shoppers.

The story of how Handel composed Messiah is as inspiring as the music itself.

From Beliefnet:

In April of 1737 at 52 Handel seems to have suffered from a stroke which incapacitated him, making it impossible for him to perform (he played the spinet or keyboard) or conduct, because it had paralyzed his right arm and he was right handed. He also complained of blurred vision. The truth was as well, that falling in and out of favor with royalty left him alternately in and out of money, and because he was not a wise businessman he in fact lost a fortune in the opera business and, depressed and in debt, gave it up in 1740.

It was only shortly after these calamities in Handel’s life that he came across a libretto composed by Charles Jennens. Composed entirely of Scripture portions, mainly from the OT, Handel was deeply affected when he read this libretto. It was divided into three parts: 1) prophecies about the coming messiah (largely drawing on Isaiah); 2) the birth, life, ministry, death, resurrection of Christ; 3) the End times with Christ’s final victory over sin and death, largely based in the book of Revelation. Inspired, Handel decided he must compose an oratorio based on this libretto. The story of the composition of this most famous of all Christian musical works has been told variously. What we can say with certainty is that he composed the work in a short period of time during the summer of 1741, and when he got to the Hallelujah chorus, his assistant found him in tears saying “I did think I saw heaven open, and saw the very face of God”.

Now watch the video and if you enjoy it, share it with others:

Merry Christmas!

 

 
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