St. Louis Symphony In Unison® Chorus Presents Too Hot To Handel: A Gospel Messiah

Choral group receives $160,000 from the Monsanto Fund to support shows, program

ST. LOUIS - The renowned IN UNISON Chorus performed two holiday concerts at Powell Hall this holiday season. Thanks in part to a $160,000 grant just received from the Monsanto Fund, IN UNISON presented Too Hot to Handel: A Gospel Messiah at Powell Hall December 12-13, 2013. The program, led by Kevin McBeth, gave a jazz and gospel twist to Handel’s holiday classic, Messiah.

“IN UNISON speaks to the importance of the St. Louis Symphony’s community partnerships, which include an ongoing and deepening relationship with a rich diversity of communities,” said Fred Bronstein, President/CEO of the St. Louis Symphony. “The history of the program is robust, and its future is strong thanks to the continuing commitment of our partners in the IN UNISON churches around St. Louis, and to the Monsanto Fund for recognizing the importance of these partnerships.”

Designed to provide music-related resources to predominantly African-American churches in the region and increase the community’s access to Powell Hall, the IN UNISON program began in 1992 with only five churches. Today the program reaches more than 20,000 people from more than 40 churches in St. Louis. Funds from the Monsanto Fund grant will be used to continue and strengthen the program’s mission.

“Since music is the world’s universal language shouldn’t everyone have access to it?” asked Monsanto Fund President Deborah Patterson. “I’m thrilled we are able to support a program that touches so many lives--from those in the audience at IN UNISON’s wonderful concerts to the youth who advance their education through its scholarships.”

Through the IN UNISON program, St. Louis Symphony musicians also visit churches and provide music for services as well as other events. IN UNISON church members are eligible for discounts at Powell Hall. In addition to its college scholarship program, IN UNISON also provides financial assistance to church youth so they may attend summer music camps and/or receive year-long music instruction.

The IN UNISON Chorus also performs February at Powell Hall as part of the Lift Every Voice: Black History Month performance (Thursday, February 14, 2014 featuring soloist Jennifer Holliday).