The Gulf Coast Messiah Chorus holds the distinction of being the oldest continuously performing Messiah Chorus in the nation. It is a diverse group composed of volunteer community performers, and its regular free performances of Handel’s Messiah have become a grand musical tradition for thousands of people along the Gulf Coast of Mississippi.
The Start of a Grand Tradition
The first performance took place in December 1952 at Keesler Air Force Base under the direction of Glen Draper. This was the beginning of a 66-year history of performances by musicians from both the military and civilian communities. The thousands who enjoy this masterpiece of Handel’s genius year after year are a living tribute to those who have made it possible through dedication and hard work.
You don’t have to have sung Messiah before to join our ranks. If you have experience in choral singing, you are welcome to be a part of our community. Auditions are required for solo performances only.
We will be hosting an informal Messiah Sing In on September 15 at 3 pm at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints in Biloxi. Rehearsals for this year’s Christmas performances begin October 15.
Dr. Paul McGahie, D.M.A. – Has served as Music Director and Conductor of the Gulf Coast Messiah Chorus since 2008. Dr. McGahie holds a Doctor of Musical Arts degree from the Cincinnati College Conservatory of Music, a Master of Music degree from the University of Oklahoma, and a Bachelor of Music degree from Westminster Choir College of Princeton, NJ. He presently serves as Minister of Music at First United Methodist Church of Pascagoula.
Mr. Guy Bowering, Jr. – Has served as Accompanist of the Gulf Coast Messiah Chorus since 2003. Mr. Bowering has a Bachelor of Music in Music Industry from the University of Southern Mississippi and regularly accompanies singers, instrumentalists, and choirs in a variety of musical settings throughout the Southeast. He also serves as the Music and Choral Director at the Episcopal Church of the Redeemer and Blessed St. Seelos Catholic Church in Biloxi.
Dr. Edwin W. “Ed” Cake, Jr., Ph.D. – Has served as a member of the Board of director of the Gulf Coast Messiah Chorus for 20 years and as Board Chair for 14 years. He is a Life Member of the Chorus and has sung in the Chorus every year since 1975. Dr. Cake is a semi-retired private and public environmental consultant and has served as the Chief Science Officer of his Ocean Springs consulting firm, Gulf Environmental Associates, for the past 40 years.
“The primary purpose of the Chorus shall be to offer free of charge one or more performances of George Frideric Handel’s oratorio Messiah, or selections thereof, each year for the enjoyment and inspiration of the citizens and visitors to the Mississippi Gulf Coast. Performances of other compositions may be added as determined by the Board of Directors.”
– By-laws, Article II
February 26, 1996
The Gulf Coast Messiah Chorus is a registered nonprofit corporation in the state of Mississippi and has been granted a tax exempt nonprofit status [501(c)3] by the U.S. Internal Revenue Service. All performances are free and open to the public. All gifts in support of the Chorus are tax deductible.