Keeping a Handel on a community tradition

Photo by Bobbie Hayse, Hundreds watch Sunday at the Owensboro Choral Society presents the 79th annual performance of Handel's "Messiah" at Third Baptist Church. The performance benefits the Goodfellows Club of Owensboro.

Matthew Constant has seen first-hand the benefits of the Goodfellows Club of Owensboro.

Constant, this year's Goodfellows spokesman, is the chief academic officer for Owensboro Public Schools, and in his 24 years in public education he has seen the Goodfellows in action helping students in need. On Sunday he also participated in an annual Owensboro tradition, the Owensboro Choral Society's performance of Handel's "Messiah," which has collaborated with the Goodfellows since its first performance in 1941.

The Goodfellows Club of Owensboro has been helping the underserved in Daviess County for more than 100 years. It was founded by Lawrence Hager Sr., publisher of what was then the Owensboro Inquirer, and the club was carried on by Hager family's Public Life Foundation and the Messenger-Inquirer. Every dollar that is raised by Goodfellows goes to assist children in need.

"What Goodfellows provides is are basic needs for kids," Constant said. "If kids basic needs are met, they can learn."

He said Goodfellows helps children with clothing, or with healthcare and dental needs.

Constant has been singing in the "Messiah" performance for at least 25 years, he said.

"It's a great tradition," he said. "Our community is just the most generous place that I've ever been. They always step up to the plate and help families in need. I'm just so impressed and humbled to be a part of it."

During each "Messiah" performance a goodwill offering takes place, the proceeds of which are given to the Goodfellows.

"It's all for the Goodfellows," chorus director Connie Ford said. "That connection has been since day one."

She said the Goodfellows are important to the community.

Leslie Wigginton Ferguson was the soprano soloist for the "Messiah" performance. Fergurson, a native of Owensboro, currently resides in Cincinnati, but says she comes home each year to participate in the "Messiah."

She has been singing in the performance since the late 1990s.

"It's an honor to be a part of this great tradition," she said. "I look forward to it every year."

Contributions to the Goodfellows Club can be mailed to or dropped off at the newspaper office, 1401 Frederica St. Owensboro, Ky, 42301. Donations can also be made online at

Goodfellows Roll Call, December 9, 2019

Previously reported $27,869.10

Eleanor Brown $100

God bless! $50

In memory of Mary Margaret and Janie Kurre by the Kurre family $40

In memory of David House by Martha House $20

Total as of December 9, 2019 $28,079.10

Bobbie Hayse,, 270-691-7315.

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