More About Messiah 2.0


Messiah 2.0 is a modern interpretation of G.F. Handel’s time-honored oratorio. An oratorio is a large work similar to an opera with solo vocalists, chorus, and orchestra but without acting or scenery. Although it is a staple of the standard classical repertoire, because of the libretto (extracted directly from the Bible) Messiah is also a defining narrative of the prophecy, passion and transfiguration of Jesus Christ, and therefore beloved by Christians worldwide.  Consequentially, it is often considered a “holiday” work, although it could appropriately be performed during both the Christmas and Easter seasons.

Sections of the original opus have been selectively omitted. Obscure and usually omitted sections were automatically excluded. This arrangement provides for an approximately ninety minute performance and includes some of the most popular and significant sections from Parts I, II and III.

Conceptually, the arrangement was created to meet specific objectives:

  • Handel’s original score is left virtually intact. Chorus and soloists can safely use traditional vocal scores, and most orchestral transcriptions will work perfectly.
  • The parts for the three lead contemporary players (Guitar 1, Keyboard and Drum Set) are written at an advanced level to respectfully complement Handel’s original score and make it interesting and fun for serious players. The remaining parts (Guitar 2, Bass and Percussion) also require good, competent players.
  • On a grand scale, the use of an actual full or Baroque-sized orchestra makes for a most awe-inspiring production. No orchestra on hand? No problem. Included is an Orchestra Reduction part that is played by an additional keyboardist. It can also be used as reinforcement for the strings if needed or preferred.
  • The use of sound reinforcement has become ubiquitous to modern concert-going and worship experiences. Messiah 2.0 is ideal for such applications, especially with larger productions.
  • The work is intended to introduce the original to a whole new set of listeners and provide an exciting, devotional, fun, and powerful experience to musicians, singers and audiences who know and love it well.


Music aficionado Mark Edwards is one of the most active educators and performers in Southeastern Pennsylvania. Known for his intellectual, expressive, and humorous mannerisms, he can be regularly seen playing and hosting events at many of the area’s finest entertainment and concert settings.

Mark received his Bachelor of Science in Music Education degree from West Chester University where he concentrated in both instrumental and vocal fields of study. In 2005, he has retired from service with the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania with an exceptional twenty-year career as an Institutional Music Teacher at the State Correctional Institution at Graterford. During his tenure, he provided comprehensive and innovative programming and activities for the residents who wish to improve themselves through the musical experience. His music program was featured nationally in the October 2002 premiere episode of the VH-1 series Music Behind Bars.

Mark continues to participate within a wide assortment of musical genres – classical, jazz, pop, rock, Gospel, country, and others. He has held the position of artistic director and conductor of the Audubon Symphony Orchestra from 1997 through 2009, and apart from the pandemic period has been the music director and pit orchestra conductor for numerous musical theater productions at Upper Merion High School and with Firebird Children’s Theater in Phoenixville. He currently teaches individual lessons with a variety of instruments (percussion, piano, guitar, brass, woodwinds, and strings). In addition, he provides disc jockey, sound reinforcement, and karaoke services for local festivities and private events, and also enjoys performing as a jazz and pop cocktail pianist and as a rock/pop guitarist and vocalist. He has composed and arranged music for orchestral, band, choral, and jazz ensembles, and has worked in audio editing, recording, and sound engineering.


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