Holidays in JP: ‘Messiah’ and more on JP Concerts slate

(Courtesy Photo) St. John’s Episcopal Church, home of JP Concerts.

The only uncut performance of Handel’s “Messiah” is just one of the attractions on the seasonal slate of the JP Concerts series at St. John’s Episcopal Church in Sumner Hill.

The homegrown concert series showcases local musicians year-round, but is in a Christmas mood right now, said Ken Brooks, the church’s music director, who also runs JP Concerts.

“I didn’t intend to start a concert series,” recalled Brooks, saying he was approached by local musicians to host a concert in 2009. The venue, with its historic 1800s structure and excellent acoustics, became increasingly popular, and JP Concerts was born.

“I don’t think I realized then how many musicians live in JP,” Brooks said. “They’re everywhere.”

The next concert, on Dec. 2, is JP classical guitarist John Muratore debuting a CD of Christmas music recorded at the church last year. The concert doubles as a fundraiser for the church’s building restoration fund. That major work has been ongoing, as the Gazette previously reported.

The popular JP orchestra A Far Cry, which now has a residency at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, performers fiddle music on Dec. 8. The JP SingPositive! community chorus is slated for Dec. 16, and “A Christmas Celebration for the Community” with various vocalists and piano will be held Dec. 21.

The “Sing Messiah!” event on Dec. 22 is not only an uncut version of Handel’s holiday favorite, but the audience is also welcome to sing along. Brooks said the first part will include the favorite Christmas section, followed by an intermission and reception, with the remainder of the “Messiah” then performed for the hardcore fans.

While the series is held at the church, the Episcopalians are not interested in evangelizing and everyone is welcome to attend, Brooks said, adding, “I tend to think there  is something spiritual about music no matter what it is.”

St. John’s is located at Revere Street and Roanoke Avenue. For more information, see the Sights & Sounds listing or

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