Ah, Christmas & Handel's Messiah. They go together like ketchup and eggs (in that they don't really, but a lot of people think they do).
Full disclosure: I love ketchup with my eggs.
We performed in Messiah this past Sunday in Richmond Hill with Vocal Horizons and Voices. My favourite part of performing Messiah is always when the audience stands up for the Hallelujah Chorus. It is said that at the first London performance of Messiah at the Covent Garden Theatre, King George II, who was in attendance, stood up for the duration of the number. Since it was protocol to stand when the king was standing, the entire audience also stood for the whole chorus, and the tradition remains to this day.
It's not exactly known why the king stood. Perhaps he was moved by the performance, or wanted to pay tribute to God as the King of Kings. Personally, I prefer the explanation that he had dozed off and was startled to his feet. :)
Anyway, just for fun, here's a recording of a different performance that I was also in, a couple of years ago, at the Newman Centre.