Dunwoody choir creates "flash mob" at Perimeter Mall


      The shopping season.
      A busy mall.
      Holiday music in the background.
      People shopping, browsing, walking, eating and snacking and chatting.
      Then, from within crowd, without warning, in a flash.
      A mob.
      Clear, bold, ordered singing.
      Men and women singing.
      From the walkways, or riding the escalator, circling the atrium, sitting and standing, from the second floor, pushing a stroller, hidden behind pillars.
      The recognizable, intricate harmonies rained down on the gathered throng in a wall of sound, a fine, melodic order among the chaos.
      Soprano and mezzo-soprano, contralto, tenor, baritone and bass.
      The chancel choir of Dunwoody United Methodist, led by minister of music, Sonny Walden, paid a surprise visit to Perimeter Mall on Sunday, Dec. 19. They pulled off a metro Atlanta version of a cultural “flash mob,” performing the halleluiah chorus from Handel’s Messiah, in the middle of a surprise and delighted gathering of holiday shoppers. Mary Ruth Solem used a portable electric keyboard to led the music.
      Similar “random acts of culture” have become a You Tube phenomenon. One video of a similar performance of the halleluiah chorus at a mall in Ontario, Canada, has gotten 24 million hits.
       “It was exhilarating to hear Handel's great music rising above the din of the mall, to see the many shoppers stopping to listen and to participate,” said Jim McLean of Dunwoody UMC, “to see them responding with such joy to the sense of anticipation and hope that Christmas brings.”
     “It was a great deal of fun,” said Kathy Kuntz, from Dunwoody’s music staff. “It created a buzz throughout the mall. It was exhilarating.
     “We didn’t even tell members of the congregation because we wanted it to be a surprise.”
     It worked.