Hallelujah! Tupelo church choir surprises shoppers at the mall

By Danza Johnson/NEMS Daily Journal

TUPELO – When the man sitting next to him jumped up and starting belting out the words to the “Hallelujah” chorus, Michael Adams didn’t know whether to sing along or run away.
Adams began to notice others doing the same thing all around the food court that the Mall At Barnes Crossing. Before he knew it dozens of men, women and children were singing the chorus in perfect harmony and unison as if it was thoroughly rehearsed. Little did Adams and other mall patrons know, it was.
The Harrisburg Church Sanctuary Choir and Zamar Student Choir reenacted a popular YouTube video where a choir surprised patrons at a mall in Canada when they jumped up and started singing “Hallelujah” from Handel’s “Messiah”. The members of the choir were dressed in regular, everyday, “going to the mall” garb. And just like everyone else in the mall they were eating lunch, hanging with friends and just enjoying the day. But when the music blasted through the PA system, all the members began their performance.
“I was like what in the world is going on,” said Adams still a little confused. “I saw this guy stop reading his book and start shouting out Hallelujah. I thought he was either real crazy or real happy. But then I saw several people doing it so I figured it was planned. If they were going for the element of surprise it worked on me.”
Harrisburg music minister Aaron Tomes said singing the “Hallelujah” chorus was the brainchild of mall officials, Sean Johnson, the director of marketing at Tupelo Convention and Visitors Bureau and Harrisburg
He said after seeing the popular video on Youtube, they thought it would be a fun thing to do.
“We planned it well and we had a lot of fun doing it,” said Tomes. “We hope everyone enjoyed it. This was sort of our holiday gift to the community.”
When Charlotte Mathis heard the music and saw the different people stand up to sing, she said she immediately knew what was happening.
“I saw that on the computer a few weeks ago and thought it would be so fun if that happened here,” she said. “So when I heard that music and saw the people singing I knew it was the Hallelujah Chorus. They did a great job and I’m so glad I was here to see it.”
Contact Danza Johnson at (662) 678-1583 or danza.johnson@djournal.com.