Coming to a mall near you: potentially dangerously popular Hallelujah Chorus performances!

Oh hello! It’s me, your delinquent blogger friend! It’s been rough-going this month, with Sondra in Tosca, Helene’s new CD, and the Chamber Music America conference coming up in the new year.

I break my silence, though, to tell you about how a “well-publicized” Hallelujah Chorus performance resulted in the evacuation of a California mall. From CNN:

The Sacramento Choral Society was holding what police called a
“well-publicized” event to sing the “Hallelujah Chorus” in the mall’s
food court, scheduled for 7:30 p.m.

“Come join our large Chorus
of area Singers as they burst into Handel’s Hallelujah Chorus much to
the surprise and delight of Shoppers in the Food Court of the recently
reopened Westfield Galleria at Roseville,” the society’s website
trumpeted ahead of the event.

But less than an hour beforehand, too many people had crowded into the mall.

I love, by the way, how the CNN URL includes the word “CRIME”:

Turns out, the free performance was a bit too well-publicized.

“At 6:45 p.m., the Roseville Police and Fire communications center
received reports that people in the food court heard popping noises and
felt floor movement,” a police statement said.

Apparently, the performance did go on in the parking lot after the mall was evacuated. Lovely California weather and massive parking lots save the day yet again.

Well done, though, Anna Molander at the Sacramento Choral Society & Orchestra!  I can safely say you are the only classical music marketing and PR person I know whose efforts have resulted in evacuation. You get the first-ever LIfe’s a Pitch PR Glitch Award!

In another mall farther north, Seattle Symphony Music Director Gerard Schwarz joined forces with Nordstrom to present a version of the Hallelujah Chorus themselves. The performance involved the Seattle Symphony Chorale and over 500 local singers. Here’s the video:

Though not quite a “flash mob,” per se, kudos to all involved for getting this together! And if you don’t know what a flash mob is (and you should, they’re All The Rage), here’s Modern Family to explain it to you:

This clip cuts out the best part, which is, “You cheated on me with choreography, and that is the Worst Kind.”

Update! (12:11am Wednesday): I’m told Nordstrom has hosted two other performances of the Hallelujah Chorus: in Santa Anita, California with the LA Master Chorale, and in Dallas, Texas with the Dallas Bach Society. Who knew Nordstrom was such a supporter of random acts of song? Be sure to do all your last minute Christmas shopping there as a gesture of solidarity.

Here’s Santa Anita:

And here’s Dallas:

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  1. says

    The Hallelujah chorus flash mob idea started in Philadelphia, when the Opera Company of Philadelphia produced a “Random Act of Culture” at Macy’s on October 30. Ever since then, there have been dozens of groups pulling off similar things all over the continent, which is incredibly exciting! It’s just too bad that things in Sacramento got so crazy.
    The Opera Company of Philadelphia video can be found here:

  2. Zachary says

    I can’t help but be reminded of The Messiah, a film by French photographer Willy Ronis. In the film he juxtaposes a production of Haendel’s work with images from prisons, Vegas, poverty, Wall Street, and the text of the work which takes on entirely new meanings…America’s hypocrisies and suffering against one of the cornerstones of Western creation. How is it that such a wonderful composition now finds its audience, AND performers in…a shopping mall at Christmas? Perhaps I’m playing the role of Scrooge here but I am far less charmed by these events than others may be in terms of potential cultural behavior and “consummation.”

  3. says

    Whatever brings music into the public domain is a big plus. Audiences for classical music and opera have become almost uniformly gray-haired. Exposure like this is bound to enlighten people and build appreciation for the glories of Western civ.