Radio Column

Asa Arkansas's Governor

Christmas at the Mansion


Column Transcript

One August day in 1741, George Frideric Handel sat down in his England home feeling so inspired by the Biblical account of Jesus Christ’s birth, death and resurrection, that he began writing what would become one of the most famous musical compositions in history. Handel finished the 259-page oratorio in less than four weeks, and still, today, this piece of music, known as Handel’s “Messiah” continues to awe and inspire crowds 275 years later. When Handel’s “Messiah” first hit the musical stage in the spring of 1742, it was intended to be Easter music. But today, when we hear this compelling piece of music, we are reminded of the beauty of the Christmas season.

It is that beauty that the Arkansas Governor’s Mansion hopes to inspire in the imaginations of Arkansans this year as it celebrates the holidays with decorations themed as a “Tribute to Handel.”

Last month, more than thirty volunteer designers and artists gathered from across Arkansas to transform the Governor’s Mansion into a Baroque European-style hall, reminiscent of the great cathedral where Handel’s “Messiah” was performed almost 275 years ago.

The Arkansas Governor’s Mansion is sometimes called “The People’s House,” and the First Lady and I hope that the moniker becomes truer than ever before as guests from every corner of the state visit and enjoy the spirit of the season at the Arkansas Governor’s Mansion this year.

The First Lady and I welcome you to come see “A Tribute to Handel” at any of this year’s holiday events at the Governor’s Mansion. I encourage you to stop by this Sunday, December 4th for the annual Governor’s Mansion Christmas Open House, or to attend the Tribute to Handel Concert on Friday, December 9, featuring choirs from Ouachita Baptist University and Fellowship Bible Church in Little Rock. You can also enjoy the “Christmas High Teas” every afternoon from December 12-16.

All proceeds from the Mansion’s holiday events benefit the Arkansas Governor’s Mansion Association, a nonprofit organization that raises funds for the renovation, improvement, furnishings and endowment of the Mansion.

To learn more about the Governor’s Mansion Holiday Events, visit It is my hope that Arkansans statewide will come to The People’s House and experience “A Tribute to Handel” this Christmas season.