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The Westminster Bi-Line

The Westminster Bi-Line

2024 Messiah performance to be replaced with screening of Twilight


Each Christmas, the combined Westminster Chamber Orchestra and Chorus perform George Frideric Handel’s 1741 oratorio masterpiece: Messiah. Westminster’s abridged performance lasts over forty minutes and has several movements, culminating in the Hallelujah Chorus. Each year, there are two performances: one evening performance, open to all guests, and one morning performance, required for all students. 

However, for the first time, this coming year, the Messiah performance has been canceled, and the decision has been made to replace it with a screening of the 2008 film Twilight starring Kristen Stewart and Robert Pattinson, based on the novel by Stephanie Meyer. Twilight, a cult favorite among young people, details the story of a teenage girl named Bella Swan who moves to Forks, Washington, only to fall in love with both a vampire and a werewolf. 

Like Messiah, this screening will also take place in McCain Chapel, and also like Messiah, there will be a Thursday evening screening open to parents and guests, and a mandatory Friday morning screening for students, with detention given to students who do not attend.

This decision was made as a response to a student survey asking the student body if they would like to continue the tradition of the annual Messiah performance, and, if not, what they would like to replace it with. An overwhelming majority – over 80 percent – responded “no” to the first question, and a majority of 68 percent responded “Twilight screening” to the second question. 

Following the staggering results of this poll, Westminster had no choice but to surrender to the students’ common consensus.

Several students who both responded with these answers and support this decision have also been a part of this performance, including seniors Becca Hopkins and Taylor Creighton. 

Messiah has been a beloved Westminster tradition for decades, and as a senior section leader, it holds a special place in my heart. But, ultimately, the cinematic masterpiece Twilight has left a greater impact on world arts and it’s important to keep traditions modern and fresh,” said senior Becca Hopkins, the viola section leader in the Chamber Orchestra who has played Messiah for four years.

“I am sad to see Messiah go, but I welcome the new tradition of the Twilight screening, as Twilight holds a similar level of cultural significance and is equally as moving to the youth of today,” added senior Taylor Creighton, the Chamber Orchestra concertmaster, who has played the violin in Messiah for four years.

This is a controversial choice on Westminster’s behalf, as Messiah is a moving, important piece that is inspiring during the Christmas season. It is an event close to many people’s hearts –  including to alumni who often return to sing in the chorus or play in the orchestra. Yet, the school hopes that the Twilight screening, which is already significant to the majority of the student body, becomes a tradition itself that, like Messiah was for so many years, will be integral to Westminster.

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