The production of Handel’s Messiah is an Eastertime institution at Bethany College in Lindsborg. But this year will see “a radically new” twist to the 132-year-old tradition on Easter Sunday: African-American spirituals sung by four guest soloists from the nationally acclaimed American Spiritual Ensemble, following the story arc of “The Messiah.”
This will be the first performance of “A Spiritual Messiah” by the classically trained vocalists, who travel the world to teach and perform African-American spirituals, said Blakely Bunning, coordinator of the Messiah Festival of the Arts in Lindsborg. A representative of the American Spiritual Ensemble approached the festival last year asking to be a part, and a program developed for Easter Sunday is the result, Bunning said.
Handel’s Messiah was performed in Lindsborg as usual on Palm Sunday. Normally the performance is repeated on Easter Sunday.
“A Spiritual Messiah” will be at 3 p.m. Sunday at Presser Hall on the Bethany campus, 335 E. Swensson St. Tickets are $17 and $22; call 785-227-3311, ext. 8137, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday and 1 to 5 p.m. Saturday, or order online at messiahfestival.org.
The festival also includes Bach’s “Passion According to St. Matthew” performed by the Bethany Oratorio Society at 7:30 p.m. Friday at Presser Hall. Tickets are $12 and $17.
Easter weekend also brings other special events to the Wichita area:
• Children are encouraged to bring their Easter baskets to the Sedgwick County Zoo, 5555 Zoo Blvd., on Saturday, where kids can gather treats — and watch zoo animals receive their own — as well as visit the Easter bunny, go on a scavenger hunt, play games and get their faces painted. Special-needs kids can register for a special event at 1 p.m., and visually impaired children for beeper eggs at 2 p.m. The day runs from 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. and is included in zoo membership or admission, $13.70 for adults, $11.70 for seniors and $8.70 for children ages 3 to 11. For the full schedule of events, go to thewebsite scz.org and click on Easter Eggstravaganza
• The Easter bunny also will be at Botanica on Saturday for
. Hours are 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. A fairy-inspired egg hunt will start at 10 a.m., the MGM Fairy Dancers will teach and perform fairy dances, and there will be a tulip scavenger hunt. Admission is $7 for adults and $5 for children ages 3 to 12.
• Bartlett Arboretum in Belle Plaine will be open Sunday for two events: an ecumenical sunrise Easter service, free and open to the public, at 7 a.m., and vintage jazz by Nouveau Quintet from 2 to 5 p.m. Luciano’s will have Italian cuisine available for sale in the afternoon. The concert is $5 at the gate.
Some other Easter-related events: