From correspondent Flo Johnston
Shoppers at Durham’s Northgate Mall were treated to a bit of unexpected Christmas music, a random act of musical kindness, when a flash mob of 50 to 60 singers from the Duke Chapel Choir turned up in the food court after church last Sunday.
Although some flash mobs across the country have been escorted out when they brought different kinds of surprises to malls, that was not the case for this talented bunch of dedicated musical chapel-goers.
Rodney Wynkoop, the director, had made previous arrangement with Northgate honchos and when the introductory music to Handel’s Messiah began, singers who were eating lunch and seated all about the food court stood and gave a rousing rendition of the Hallelujah Chorus from Handel’s Messiah.
Karen Witzleben, a member of the choir and president of the Congregation at Duke Chapel, said that after the initial shock, other folks eating lunch began to get out their phone cameras and some began to sing along. There was much smiling, she said.
“We were facing in different directions, but I think people could hear all four parts because of the openness of the food court,” she said. “For me, it fed my spirit and made me want to do it again. It made me thankful for such gorgeous music and for choir members. We are like family and were doing this for other families. It felt joyous and wonderful.”
This year’s concert, a long-standing and beloved tradition at Duke Chapel on the university campus, will include the full choir of about 100 singers who will be joined by a professional orchestra and soloists. Performance times are 7:30 p.m. Friday at 7:30 p.m., 2 p.m. Saturday at 2 p.m. and 3 p.m. Sunday at 3 p.m.
Tickets are on sale at tickets.duke.edu. General admission is $15. Admission is free for Duke students and $5 for other students.