As the film opens, the career of George Frideric Handel is in tatters. Invited to Dublin to present the premiere of a new choral work, The Messiah, he can't find singers adequate for the job. A boy who steals a chicken runs into Mr. Handel. The boy's Mother was NOT an employee at the Cathedral, she cleaned and ironed shirts, so the mother "bribes" Mr. Handel with non-starched shirts to save her boy from being in jail. The choir sucks until the washer lady's son is discovered by Handel.