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The region's major presentation for the Christmas 1990 season of Handel's "Messiah" will be the two performances sponsored by Holy Trinity Lutheran Church, on Wednesday and Thursday at 8:15 p.m. Performing will be the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra, the Concert Choir of Holy Trinity Lutheran Church, soprano Julie Newell, alto Gwendolyn Bowers-Lentz, tenor Gary Burgess and bass Brian Zunner, all under the baton of Arie Lipsky. In that the church is presenting these performances, tickets will not be available through the orches tra, but only at Holy Trinity, the UB North Campus and Buf falo State College. It will be a busy time for the Philharmonic, because for the two days follow ing the "Messiah" performances it will be back in Kleinhans Music Hall for a pair of Christ mas in Vienna Pops concerts conducted by Mitch Miller. Those dates are next Friday and Dec. 22 at 8 p.m. The New York vocal duo of Marilyn Brustad and Will Roy will be on hand to assist Miller and the orchestra in presenting an attractive mixture of music, including Strauss waltzes and polkas, selections from Mozart's "Don Giov anni," and other music with strong Viennese associations. -- Herman Trotter

Still Singing, Still Dancing Though most remember them from their spate of R & B hits in the early '70s, Harold Melvin & the Bluenotes date back to 1956, when Melvin put together his first singing and dancing group. Noted first for their choreography (the O'Jays and the Delfonics went to them for tips), they made their breakthrough when they merged with another Philadelphia group in the late '60s, picking up a drummer named Teddy Pendergrass. In short order, the charismatic Pendergrass became the group's lead singer and they were picked up by the hit Philadelphia writing and production team of Kenny Gamble and Leon Huff. The result was a succession of major singles, notably "If You Don't Know Me by Now" and "The Love I Lost." Pendergrass left in 1976 and the hits stopped coming, but the Bluenotes have remained a classy act. They visit the Marquee at the Tralf on Saturday for shows at 8 and 11 p.m. -- Dale Anderson
Not Forgotten You could always count on Bob Mueckl for at least two things -- generosity and joie de vivre. A burly, bespectacled mainstay of Record Theater's Main and Lafayette store for 13 years, he happily obliged requests large or small, whether for spare boxes from the back room or for job recommendations. As for his twin passions -- food and music -- he always was brimming with a new discovery, a restaurant that cooked super spicy or a hot band on an obscure label. Today is Bob Mueckl's birthday, or rather it would have been if he had succeeded in sticking with the drug rehabilitation program he entered last summer. Had he not succumbed to an overdose a month ago, it's quite likely he'd usher in his 43rd year by spending the evening in Marshall's, 1678 Main St., nibbling chicken wings, hoisting beers and digging the bands. To commemorate his spirit, Bob Mueckl's family, friends and co-workers will be in Marshall's for his birthday, starting at 10 p.m. Marty Boratin will create the buffet. A steady parade of musicians will play -- the Pine Dogs, the Fibs, the 7th Sons, Paisley Tease, Rose Marian, Buck Naked, Steve Gustafson and Jerry Augustyniak of 10,000 Maniacs (after their date at Nietz sche's) and the Stains, specially reunited for the occasion. There will be T-shirts, prizes, even a historian on hand to record the best Bob Mueckl stories. Proceeds will benefit the Renaissance House Drug Treatment Center. -- Dale Anderson

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