Messiah Festival at Bethany announces concerts, theme

By Bethany College
September 17, 2014

The Messiah Festival of the Arts proudly announces the major concert events and theme for its 2014-15 season.  

The festival will kick off on Palm Sunday weekend with a full-scale production of Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice’s ground-breaking rock opera, “Jesus Christ Superstar,” featuring high-caliber guest stars in the leading roles, and a supporting cast of regional talent.  “Jesus Christ Superstar” will be performed Saturday, March 28, at 7 p.m., and Palm Sunday, March 29, at 4 p.m. in Presser Hall Auditorium.  Tickets for this production are $25 each, and will go on sale January 1.  Special guest stars for this show will be announced later this fall. Information about auditions for supporting cast and pit orchestra can be found on the Messiah Festival website,

“This is a departure from the traditional Messiah line up,” Mark Lucas, professor of music at Bethany College and director of the Bethany Oratorio Society, said. “However, we feel it is important to forge ahead with new, creative ideas while remaining true to the long and substantial tradition at Bethany College. The current format allows us to build upon what we have held so dear for more than 133 years while at the same time having an opportunity to add new creative vision.”

The Bethany Oratorio Society will perform its historic and rich performances of J.S. Bach’s “Passion According to St. Matthew” on Good Friday, April 3, and G. F. Handel’s “Messiah” on Easter Sunday, April 5.   The Bethany Oratorio Society has been performing Handel’s “Messiah” since 1882, and Bach’s “Passion…” since 1929.  During Holy Week each year in Lindsborg, the more than 300 member community chorus and orchestra are joined by five professional operatic guest soloists.  Guest soloists for this year’s concerts will also be announced later this fall.   Information about participating in the Bethany Oratorio Society can be found at ; Tickets are $17 or $22 for each concert, and will go on sale January 1.  

“Jesus Christ Superstar,”  “Passion According to St. Matthew” and “Messiah” each tell a story of Jesus Christ, in different time periods, from different perspectives, and in different musical styles.    

In this vein, the theme for the entire Messiah Festival this year is “Triptych.”  A “triptych” is defined as a “picture or relief carving on three panels, typically hinged together side by side and used as an altarpiece” or, “a set of three associated artistic, literary, or musical works intended to be appreciated together.”   

This theme was chosen to reflect the three different renderings of the story of Christ, unified in one overall message.  Additionally, a triptych represents the three fine arts mediums celebrated in the Messiah Festival of the Arts - visual arts, music, and theatre; three separate mediums, intended to be appreciated together.  

Additional events in the Messiah Festival schedule include the annual Juried Student Art Exhibit on the Bethany College campus, and the third annual Art Installation Competition in downtown Lindsborg, both running throughout the month of March.  More events in the Messiah Festival schedule are being added currently, and full information can be found at