Jamie Gibson has performed Handel's "Messiah" before but says the visual aspect of the rendition she's a part of at Utah State University makes it particularly fascinating.

She's one of 100 singers who will perform the fourth annual "Multicultural Messiah," as 11 theatrical interpreters translate the lyrics into American Sign Language. One piece will be performed in Spanish.

Gibson says it will be difficult to keep her focus on the director, rather than the sign language interpreters, "it's so fascinating."

The performance will be April 8 and 9 at 7 p.m. in USU's Kent Concert Hall. It will be accompanied by a full orchestra and slides of 140 works of art.

"I think it's a great way to allow more people to enjoy it," says Gibson, a senior at Brigham Young University. "I love watching the interpreters, and I like to sing."

The concert is free, but donations will be accepted to help fund an annual hearing health-care mission to Mexico, says John Ribera, director of audiology in the department of communicative disorders and deaf education and the event's organizer and conductor.

The purpose is to provide hearing evaluations and services to underserved and underprivileged people in Mexico, he says.

Ribera says the performance has grown every year. This year, he says, there will be nearly twice as many sign language interpreters, and Miss Deaf Utah Ellen O'Hara will be among them.

"This is a multicultural, multimedia, multilingual performance," he said. "Each year about 1,000 people attend. This year we'd like to double that if we can."

Many of the choir members, including True Rubal, are repeat performers who are looking forward to this year's concert.

"No one is paid to be part of this group," Rubal said. "It's just people who love to sing and want to contribute . . . it has drawn out a diverse group of people from our community."


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