Handel's "Messiah" has been performed annually in Lindsborg since 1882. Dr. Carl Aaron Swensson, the founder of Bethany College and pastor at Bethany Lutheran Church, was introduced to it by Pastor Olof Olsson, a Lindsborg pioneer who had moved to Augustana College, Illinois. Mrs. Swensson, a talented musician, organized singers from neighboring churches to join the choir of Bethany College. "Messiah" rehearsals began in December 1881. Many of the singers could neither read music nor speak English. The first Easter Concert was given March 28, 1882. There were 75 singers. Eventually the chorus grew to over 500 voices. In addition to their annual Holy Week concerts in Lindsborg, the Bethany Oratorio Society performed "Messiah' for 8000 soldiers at Fort Riley in 1919. They have also given concerts in Oklahoma City, Wichita, Kansas City, Topeka, and in 1997 at Carnegie Hall in New York City.
The "Messiah" has had four homes in Lindsborg: Bethany Church, and Old Main, Ling Auditorium and Presser Hall on the Bethany College campus. Alma Swensson was the conductor of the chorus the first three years. Dr. Hagbard Brase conducted the longest--31 years, from 1915 to 1946. Dr. Elmer Copley conducted for 28 years, 1960 to 1988. NBC Radio broadcast a live performance in 1939 that was heard nationwide. The Easter Sunday performances were broadcast
Erected by First Bank Kansas, McPherson and Assaria.
Location. 38° 34.752′ N, 97° 40.224′ W. Marker is in Lindsborg, Kansas, in McPherson County. Click for map. Marker is along the Valkommen Trail, between Olsson Street and Swensson Avenue, just east of the Bethany College campus. Marker is in this post office area: Lindsborg KS 67456, United States of America.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Bethany College (about 400 feet away, measured in a direct line); Birger Sandzén (about 400 feet away); Messiah Lutheran Church (about 500 feet away); Carl Aaron Swensson (about 700 feet away); 9/11 Memorial (about 700 feet away); Dag Hammarskjöld (approx. 0.2 miles away); The Terrible Swedes • Coach Ray Hahn • Dr. Ted Kessinger (approx. ¼ mile away); Womans Missionary Society (approx. 0.3 miles away). Click for a list of all markers in Lindsborg.
Also see . . .
1. The Messiah Festival History. (Submitted on June 24, 2016, by William Fischer, Jr. of Scranton, Pennsylvania.)
2. 1981 Messiah Festival's "Hallejulah!" Chorus on YouTube. (Submitted on June 24, 2016, by William Fischer, Jr. of Scranton, Pennsylvania.)
3. Bethany College, Lindsborg KS. (Submitted on June 24, 2016, by William Fischer, Jr. of Scranton, Pennsylvania.)
Categories. • Arts, Letters, Music • Entertainment •
Credits. This page originally submitted on , by William Fischer, Jr. of Scranton, Pennsylvania. This page has been viewed 141 times since then. Photos: 1, 2, 3. submitted on , by William Fischer, Jr. of Scranton, Pennsylvania. This page was last revised on June 24, 2016.