Arcadia Players presents Handel’s Messiah

Saturday December 17th at 7pm

Abbey Memorial Chapel, Mount Holyoke College, South Hadley, MA

After years of waiting, Arcadia Players renews a treasured holiday tradition: George Frideric Handel’s masterpiece Messiah, live in concert. This production, led by Artistic Director Andrew Arceci, brings together a strong cast of local and regional artists, including Illuminati Vocal Arts Ensemble and soloists Hailey Fuqua, Christina English, Zachary Fisher and John Taylor Ward. Performed on instruments similar to those Handel would have known, this Messiah will offer moments of intimacy and tenderness alongside the well-known dramatic choruses.

Tickets are $35 and are available at or at the door; students with valid ID $10. Group rates available – contact our office at or (413) 584-8742. Masks required.

Arcadia Players’ 2022-2023 concert season is made possible through the support of our patrons and donors, by our media sponsor New England Public Media, and by the Cultural Councils of Amherst and South Hadley, local agencies supported by the Massachusetts Cultural Council, and by direct support from the Massachusetts Cultural Council, a state agency.

Founded in 1989, Arcadia Players is a professional ensemble of musicians specializing in historical performance practice and dedicated to presenting music of the past in a fresh light for audiences old and new. We offer a series of concerts each year in communities around western Massachusetts and beyond, bringing together artists and audiences from throughout the region to engage listeners and showcase the work of area performers. Andrew Arceci became our new Artistic Director in the spring of 2022. Arcadia Players is Ensemble-in-Residence at the Arthur F. Kinney Center for Interdisciplinary Renaissance Studies at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst.  

About the soloists:

Idaho native Hailey Fuqua has been hailed for her “gorgeous tone” (San Francisco Classical Voice), and made her debut at the Carmel Bach Festival stepping in at the last minute as the Queen of the Night. Noted for her “pure and ample soprano” (Boston Classical Review), she was the first soprano to sing the role of the Stage Manager in Ned Rorem’s Our Town. Hailey has appeared with the American Bach Soloists, Boston Opera Collaborative and the Berkshire Choral Festival. She received degrees from Boston Conservatory in Vocal Performance and Boston University in Historical Performance.

Noted for her “rich and mellifluous” voice (Opera News) and “striking” presence (The Arts Fuse), mezzo-soprano Christina English brings dramatic commitment and musical sensitivity to an array of opera, concert and musical theater performances throughout New England. Solo appearances include Boston Symphony Orchestra, Odyssey Opera, Hudson Valley Philharmonic, Rhode Island Philharmonic, Lyric Stage Company, and New Repertory Theater. Christina belongs to Beyond Artists, a coalition of artists who donate a percentage of concert fees to organizations they care about.

Zachary Fisher has been praised as a “dreamy, lyric tenor” with “gorgeous, spine-tingling vocals” (Ellsworth American). A 2019 graduate of the University of Maine where he completed bachelor’s degrees in vocal performance and music education, he was the 2018 Marville Young Artist Fellow for the critically acclaimed organization Blue Hill Bach, and regularly sings with that company each season. He is currently a student of William Hite at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst where he is pursuing a master’s degree in voice performance.

John Taylor Ward’s performances have been praised for their “Stylish abandon” (Alex Ross, The New Yorker) and their “finely calibrated precision and heart-rending expressivity” (Washington Post).  He performs regularly with the world’s finest baroque ensembles, including L’Arpeggiata, the Boston Early Music Festival, Les arts florissants, and the English Baroque Soloists. Taylor holds a BM from the Eastman School of Music and an MMA from Yale School of Music.

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