Rodgers began the event when he went to the church 10 years ago. He had taken part in similar programs but said he "had the idea to make this one a little unique."
Unlike other Messiah sing-ins, he said, there will be no soloists or guest choirs at tonight's performance. The participants will handle the work themselves.
That is not to say that the bass section will attempt to sing music that was composed for a soprano soloist. Pieces that were composed for soloists will be sung by the entire respective voice group, Rodgers said. The chorus numbers will be sung by the entire group.
For the last few years, that group has numbered about 600 people, Rodgers said, some of whom have come back year after year.
All the singers "have a lot of enthusiasm," he said, and many are good vocalists. But singers of all ability are welcome - and of course, there are a lot of voices to cover the efforts of the less talented.
Rodgers said that people have expressed skepticism about having a group of 600 unrehearsed vocalists come in, sit down and sing such a complicated piece, but it has worked every year. "Haven't heard an ugly sound yet," he said.
Before the sing-in begins, Rodgers will give the participants a brief introduction and instructions. And he will direct throughout the performance.
"It helps to have some familiarity with it," he said. "But most people do."
At the sing-in, the Messiah will not be sung in the order it was written, Rodgers said. "We sing the entire Christmas section, complete," to start the program, he said. That takes about an hour, and is followed by a 45-minute intermission with refreshments.
After the intermission, the second and third parts - with some deletions - are sung, and the evening concludes with the famed "Hallelujah Chorus."
IF YOU GO
TIME: 5 to 8 p.m. today.
PRICE: Participants may bring their own score or purchase one at the door for $6.95. Child care will be available and a freewill offering will be taken.
PLACE: First United Methodist Church on Camden Avenue and Pleasant Valley Road in Moorestown.