The Owensboro Choral Society’s annual performance of Handel’s “Messiah” has been a large part of Owensboro’s holiday tradition for decades. The event has been an equally big part of Bonnie Bittel’s life.

“I started when I was 18,” Bittel, 80, said. In the years since, Bittel has only missed performing twice. One of those years, Bittel. had planned to sing but was interrupted by the birth of one of her children.

“I made the rehearsals, but I didn’t get to go to the performance,” Bittel said.

The cancelation of this year’s “Messiah” was a disappointment for Bittel and the Choral Society, and seemed like it was also going to be a blow to the Goodfellows Club. Every year, donations the Choral Society receives from its “Messiah” performance are donated to Goodfellows to help children in need.

Bittel, who has supported Goodfellows over the years, said she wanted to honor the Choral Society and its work, and donated $205 in the Choral Society’s name in honor of the “Messiah.”

“It just became a part of me,” Bittel said of the annual performance, adding, “it’s a spiritual thing. It seems to send me to a different orbit when you sing it.”

Connie Ford, choral director for the annual “Messiah,” said the group had posted a video of a past performance online to solicit donations for Goodfellows. Ford said she didn’t know the identity of the person who gave the donation in the Choral Society’s name.

“I’m delighted and just thrilled,” Ford said Wednesday morning. “I just don’t know who did it.”

Not being able to perform the work this year hurt, Ford said.

“This has been such an important event for a lot of people since 1941,” Ford said. “It was heartbreaking, but I’m glad Goodfellows is doing well” this year.

Every penny of each Goodfellows donation goes directly to helping children, particularly by getting new clothes, coats, shoes and even dental care to students in need.

Bittel said she hopes the Choral Society will be able to perform the “Messiah” for an audience again next December.

“It’s not really a performance. It’s a feeling,” Bittel said. “It’s sending a message.”

Contributions to the Goodfellows Club can be mailed to: Goodfellows Club, Messenger-Inquirer, P.O. Box 1480, Owensboro, KY 42302 or made online at Another link to donate online is Or, text RollCall to 41444.

Because of COVID-19, in-person donations at the Messenger-Inquirer are unavailable at this time.

Goodfellows Roll Call, Dec. 24, 2020

Previously reported … $145,581.77

First Christian Church Legacy Fund … $3,500

Anonymous … $2,050

Coronavirus (Covid-19) relief … $2,000

In honor of Mr. and Mrs. Robert L.

Harper by the William M. and Sherry

O’Bryan charitable fund … $1,000

Messenger Inquirer Virtual Soup Day

for Kids … $578

In honor of Dr. Dattatraya and Rita

Prajapati … $300

Bob and Heather Clark … $259.84

In honor of Glenn Taylor by the staff

of Glenn Funeral Home and Cardinal

Cremation Society … $233.86

Ray and Dot Biscopink … $207.87

Patsy Vessels … $207.87

In memory of Joe and Sue Riney and

Helen Murphy … $200

In memory of Leslie and Jean

Van Meter and the family of Leo and

Pauline Collignon … $200

In memory of Nell and Ralph Wible and

Lucille and Bill Scott by Gayle and

Ralph Wible … $200

In memory of John and Charlie

Conkright, and Charles Daum

Conkright by Laura and David … $103.93

Steve and Sarah Ford … $103.93

In memory of my husband, Jamie C.

Henry by Joyce Henry … $100

In memory of Maybell Chapman, Mary

Tucker, Betty O’Bryan, Chuck O’Bryan,

Donald Peek, and Donnie Peek … $100

In memory of Roy Dene Wells,

Bonnie Wells, and Milton “Mick”

Wells … $100

In memory of Bill and Glennie

Wright, Bertha A. West, Ed Basinger,

William G. Dobbs, and Rachelle Dobbs

Gilles by Phyllis W. Dobbs … $100

In memory of Robert and Mary

Shadwick, and Herbert and Helen

Conder … $100

In loving memory of my grandparents,

Arthur (A.D.) and Deanna Cowgell by

Tammy Bradley … $100

Anonymous … $100

In loving memory of Dick and Dorothy

Payne and our Little Angel Cammie by

Keith, Marcy, Dori, and Logan … $100

Anonymous … $100

In memory of Bandit … $100

In memory of Baxter … $100

L.W. … $60

In honor of Cordelia Roberts and

Otto Roberts, Jr. by Jimmy Calhoun,

Mary Calhoun, David Calhoun, and

Jennifer Calhoun … $50

In loving memory of Bonnie Carter

Love, Mark, Terri, Emily, and Matt … $50

In memory of my nephew, Kevin, and

nieces, Lori Ann, Lisa Dianne, and

Sara Beth … $50

Tony Cox … $41.57

Victor Miller … $25.98

In memory of our parents, Richard

and Gwen Hutchinson by Dan and

Debbie Hutchinson … $25

In memory of our parents, James and

Mary Van Fleet by Dan and Debbie

Hutchinson … $25

James Philip “Phil” Alexander II by

Sheila … $20

Total as of Dec. 24, 2020 … $158,174.62

Correction: A listing in the

Dec. 18 Roll Call should have

read: In memory of Don Gross by

Hester and Dave Cronin … $200

A listing in the Dec. 23 Roll Call should have read: In loving memory of Luke Woodward by Brooke McKinley … $51.96

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