In 1952, a young music professor at Wartburg College called Ernst Hagen assembled an orchestra of 38 community and 16 college performers to hold the first symphony concert, during the college’s Christmas with Wartburg celebration.

Seventy years later, a collaborative opus will pay homage to the Hagen legacy and reinvigorate it with a performance of Messiah, the 1741 piece composed by George Frideric Handel. The oratorio features lyrics from the King James Bible and the Book of Common Prayer.