Roy Schaefer is Community of Christ World Church community outreach minister and co-organizer of the “Messiah” ticket service project. The 93rd annual performance of the Independence Messiah Choir, with the Kansas City Symphony and the Kansas City Symphony Chorus, will take place at 8 p.m. Saturday in the Community of Christ Auditorium at River Boulevard and Walnut Street in Independence. Call 816-471-0400 between 10 a.m. and 5 p.m. through Friday to purchase tickets, or call the Messiah Festival Office at 816-521-3051 for more information.

Roy Schaefer is Community of Christ World Church community outreach minister and co-organizer of the “Messiah” ticket service project. The 93rd annual performance of the Independence Messiah Choir, with the Kansas City Symphony and the Kansas City Symphony Chorus, will take place at 8 p.m. Saturday in the Community of Christ Auditorium at River Boulevard and Walnut Street in Independence. Call 816-471-0400 between 10 a.m. and 5 p.m. through Friday to purchase tickets, or call the Messiah Festival Office at 816-521-3051 for more information.

1 What do you think has kept “Messiah” as a tradition for more than 90 years in Independence? I think there are several factors that apply to that. One is the quality of the “Messiah” and its build up over the years to retain that good quality. I also think the music piece is a very appropriate piece for any community, church and families.

2 What message do you think “Messiah” sends to listeners, regardless of religious affiliations? I think the one center piece for me is that it establishes Jesus was a peacemaker. In fact, he was the prince of peace. So for me, individually, I believe peace is first a person whose name is Jesus, not an anti-war or something event. “Peace” is a person. 

3 What effect do you think “Messiah” can have on less advantaged residents? (More than 200 tickets were made available at reduced costs to Independence-area housing projects and nonprofit organizations.)  Sometimes we think persons on that income level would not be interested in that sophisticated of music, but it’s not true. They are astonished by the quality of music. They love singing it. When you have it, they are just elated to be a part of something which has magnitude like the “Messiah.” 

4 What are your thoughts on those disadvantaged residents’ responses to seeing “Messiah” last year? (Many wrote letters and e-mails in 2008, thanking the Community of Christ for the opportunity to attend the concert.)
I think that helps establish the point that everybody can join in sharing beautiful music. When you give them a chance to do that, they are a part of the community and not shut out of something that they can’t attend because their circumstances don’t permit it.

5 How does “Messiah” continue the Community of Christ’s message of peace?
The last five years, the Kansas City Symphony has sponsored the “Messiah.” We have to give recognition that this is sponsored officially by the Community of Christ, but they have let us be partners with the Kansas City Symphony. That’s another aspect of a community when you can partner with other good groups in the metro area – both then benefit. It has a very profound effect on that message because that is the whole purpose of the Messiah – he was a peacemaker.
– Adrianne DeWeese