For only the second time in 50 years, the Messiah will go unsung on St. Simons Island this year as it, like other events, falls victim to COVID-19.

The performance heralds the beginning of the Christmas season for many, but it is also a community event that provides meaningful fellowship for the singers who come from choirs and choruses around the area, organizers say.

The steering committee composed of Debbie Vogel, Rhonda Hambright, Sharon Proudfoot, Laura Edenfield and Zach Marshall, the new music director at Wesley United Methodist Church, met to discuss this year’s performance and concluded it was not prudent to rehearse and perform the classic piece this year, the committee said in a release.

Because of the age and vulnerability of the performers, the restrictions on possible venues and the fellowship and community component, it was best to cancel this year’s performance, the committee said.

They also declined to stream the Messiah online.

“If we created a virtual event, it would cost money that we don’t have and wouldn’t fulfill the purpose of the event,’’ the committee said.

It is thought to be only the second cancellation of the Christmas tradition in 50 years, but the committee expressed optimism that conditions will improve in 2021 so it can be resumed.

Those who wish to continue contributing to the event may do so by mailing donations to Wesley United Methodist Church, 6520 Frederica Rd., St. Simonss Island, GA, 31522, and designating them as “Messiah Performance.”

The committee asked for prayer for the health care workers, victims, family members and others whom the coronavirus has effected physically, emotionally and economically.

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