A long-standing tradition in Mesa, the community is asked to once again participate in a sing-along of Handel’s “Messiah” to increase the East Valley holiday spirit.For about 20 years, the Hermosa Vista & Citrus Heights Stakes of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has hosted the sing-along, which includes the Christmas portion of the “Messiah” and a few additional choruses and solo numbers. This year’s event will be on Dec. 15 at the LDS chapel at 2549 N. 32nd St. in Mesa.Community members of all faiths are asked to bring their own sheet music or borrow from the church and rise and sing to the music of a full orchestra and organ.“There are so many people who are connoisseurs of the Messiah and they look for places where they can participate,” said returning director Marc Denton, the director of choral music studies at Chandler-Gilbert Community College.For Denton, his attachment to Handel’s “Messiah” is personal. He was introduced to it as a young boy and began singing as an alto before his voice changed. Since then, he has performed Handel’s “Messiah” with Arizona State University multiple times at Grady Gammage Auditorium. The sing-along version of Handel’s “Messiah” in Mesa originated after Denton was called within the Church to direct it.“It’s one of the greatest choral works, if not the greatest choral work,” Denton said.
Downtown Mesa’s Arizona Museum for Youth is inching closer to becoming the i.d.e.a. Museum. The re-branding, set to launch to the public on Feb. 7, 2014, will transform the much-loved family venue with creative innovations, including — fundraisers hope — a place called The HUB.The Arizona Museum for Youth Friends, Inc., a nonprofit tasked with fundraising for the institution, is asking the community to donate to its Kickstarter campaign. It’s trying to raise $12,500 to build The HUB, a hands-on space designed to foster creativity.The project will only be funded if the entire $12,500 goal is met. If the effort comes up even one dollar short, the museum gets nothing (and donors’ credit cards will not be charged).“We need you, members of the community, to join us in making a donation in order to make this space a reality,” says AMY Friends board chair and longtime Mesa artist and musician Carmen Guerrero. “Your support will help children and families of all backgrounds and abilities achieve their dreams and aspirations by helping lay a foundation which fosters their creativity, imagination and problem-solving skills.”The HUB, just one aspect of the new museum brand, will include ten engaging experiences for children and their families, including an Oodles of Doodles station, where drawing on the walls is encouraged, a Recyclery where bins full of re-usable materials can be turned into sculptures and other items, and a place to design and build eyewear.“Kickstarter is a great way for the community to get involved in helping us provide creative opportunities for everyone. Only 50 percent of public schools in Arizona offer some type of creative, artistic opportunity as part of their standard curriculum. Creativity is listed as the single most important attribute of the future according to an IBM survey of 1,500 CEO’s worldwide. By backing this project, you will help us ensure that the creativity in all of us continues to thrive,” says AMY executive director Sunnee O’Rork.