For Arlene Johnson, Eldon Borgen and Carol Braaten, participation in Rugby’s community concert performance of “The Messiah” is a family affair.
The siblings were part of the nearly 80 musicians who packed the Rugby High School band room on Nov. 19 for one of the final practices leading up to the Dec. 2 concert.
Growing up in the area, music was always present in their home.
“We grew up in a musical family,” Braaten said. “Our parents played in a band. Music has always been a part of our life.”
All three have just fairly recently been reunited in Rugby.
“We didn’t dream we’d all end up in Rugby,” said Johnson, who plays violin.
It’s all been a musical reunion for the family.
“We kind of stopped for three decades, so this is a re-unification for us,” Braaten said.
“The Messiah,” written by George Frideric Handel, is a familiar piece around the holidays, and a challenging one for the Heartland Civic Orchestra, which has been rehearsing since early October.
It also takes some stretching of the vocal chords for the singers according to Borgen, who is a tenor in the choir.
“There are some very talented people,” he said of the collection of musicians.
The performance is open to all ages, and musicians of all ages are involved, with string players as young as sixth grade and a handful of senior citizens performing with the groups.
It also includes musicians of all skill level, which Johnson quickly found out when she got back into playing the violin for the first time in awhile.
“They’re so encouraging.” Johnson said. “The first time, I couldn’t read a note. You know what they did for me? They put it on a CD and I learned it from that. They didn’t give up on me, and now I’m trying to read the notes.”
It’s community support that has helped the arts thrive in the area, according to Braaten.
“This community has always appreciated the arts, and supported and promoted the arts,” Braaten said. “I think that’s why they have the turnout.”
The concert is scheduled for 3 p.m. on Sunday, December 2, at the Tilman Hovland Auditorium, and also includes popular Christmas tunes.
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