Performances of Handel’s “Messiah” are a holiday tradition, but one group in Louisville is doing it the old-fashioned way.

Bourbon Baroque uses musical instruments that are authentic to the 18th century style, and works with its performers to present historically accurate arrangements.

Instead of performing just the first section of the piece that tells the Christmas story, as many traditional December performances do, Bourbon Baroque will also present the second and third parts of the work, which tell the story of Easter.

Co-artistic director Austin Clark said that much like “The Nutcracker” is a standard for ballet companies, Handel’s “Messiah” is a way for a baroque ensemble to test its mettle. Performing the full-length piece has been one of his goals for the group.

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