It was 46 years ago that Virginia Vinal started the Hamilton Christmas Concert featuring Handel's Messiah. It was a tradition that continued annually, first in the gymnasium of what is now the Hamilton Middle School, and now in the Hamilton High School Performing Arts Center on Fairgrounds Road. Along the way, Virginia handed the baton to Peggy Bucheit, who has conducted the concert ever since. This year, Virginia passed away. The concerts Saturday and Sunday will be dedicated to the legendary music instructor.

The concert is free to the public, but donations are always encouraged to help pay for sheet music and other expenses. The program includes various Christmas songs and includes selections from Handel's Messiah. The full chorus, the children's choir and the musicians will fill the stage at the Hamilton PAC. The music starts at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, December 8, and at 2 p.m. Sunday afternoon, December 9.

bitterroot chorus
Chorus singers at rehearsal. (Steve Fullerton, Townsquare Media)

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