Sitting in motorized scooter, Laura Gibson tilts her head to the side, her eyes barely open.
Gibson’s listening to the music.
She was one of hundreds to attend the annual Handel’s “Messiah” concert Saturday night at the Community of Christ church auditorium.
“I love it,” Gibson said. “I come back every year.”
For her, witnessing the concert is like worshiping the Lord. Her son-in-law, daughter and granddaughter sing in the Independence Messiah Choir that performed along with the Kansas City Symphony and the Kansas City Symphony Chorus.
Gibson, of Lee’s Summit, attends the Community of Christ church, saying she was “born and raised” in the church.
To Gibson, the music takes her to a place in her mind other than the constant reminder of being subjected to a wheelchair.
“I go with the music,” she said. “It helps me escape reality.”
Gibson,78, has battled polio since 1953. Since then, she’s suffered from post polio syndrome that has attacked her legs, rendering her dependent on an electric scooter since 1996.
Sitting beside Gibson was Joyce Scales and her granddaughter, Geylynn Scales.
Geylynn Scales, a second-year student at Longview Community College, attended the concert for an assignment in her music appreciation class.
Her instructor told the students to attend a classical music concert, and they chose “Messiah.”
“I have to write a two- to three-page paper on this concert,” Geylynn said.
The student said she’s going to include in the essay how the music seemed to set a calm tone, making everyone at feel at ease.
“The musicians knew exactly what they were doing. They seemed at ease when I was watching them. This made the music flow very nicely.”
Melanie Schuler, a five-year volunteer usher with the Kansas City Symphony, said in all the concerts she’s attended, she has picked up on how the music is a tranquil influence on people, especially the disabled.
“It takes your mind off the world,” Schuler said. “You have to be really quiet and focused on the orchestra.”
Frank Byrne, executive director of the Kansas City Symphony, wrote in the program that “few works of music are more inspirational to the audience” than Handel’s immortal oratorio ‘Messiah.’ ”