Queens Oratorio Society Raise Their Voices
By LeeAnn Close
its longtime audience well knows, the Oratorio
Society of Queens (OSQ) is not a society of orators,
debaters or "speechifiers" but a community of
people who love to sing great choral masterpieces,
including oratorios - which are biblical dramas,
set to music for chorus, soloists and full orchestra.
|Maestro David Close leads a group that loves to sing.
in 1927 by Flushing folks who loved to sing, the
Oratorio Society was Queens' answer to the prestigious
Oratorio Society of New York, founded 54 years
earlier. Without the acoustics and grandeur of
Carnegie Hall, the Flushing Oratorio Society brought
the best of classic choral music across the East
River into Queens. As the population of Queens
grew and prospered, so did the Flushing Oratorio
Society and in 1985 the Society incorporated as
the Oratorio Society of Queens, reflecting the
expanding participation of voices from neighborhoods
beyond Flushing. Today the membership is borough-wide
and even includes several Bronx and Nassau County
In the upcoming newsletter of OSQ called "The
Singers' Voice," Maestro David Close shared his
thoughts on the recent Spring concert and the
community spirit of OSQ.
"As we look toward the fall, we turn again to
our inspiring holiday programming to which every
year, we and our audiences look forward," he said.
"Great masterpieces have a way of continuing to
be fresh and exciting. If that were not the case,
Handel's 'Messiah' would not have had as long
a run as it continues to have. 'The Fantasticks'
and 'Phantom of the Opera' have some catching
up to do!"
|Queens Oratorio Society members are practicing for this year’s holiday concerts.
traditionally presents two or more concerts a
year, in winter and spring, and several benefit
concerts around the holidays. If you pass the
North Presbyterian Church in Flushing on a Monday
night between September and May, you will hear
the sounds of music, for rehearsals are in session.
Over 100 singers are having their weekly rest
"It is what I do Mondays," said Charlene DeGregoria,
an alto with almost 20 years in OSQ.
"To the very best of my ability, I refuse to make
exceptions. Singing is my soul food," added second
alto Karen Mauer, "and my soul needs constant
What makes Oratorio particularly unusual is their
togetherness. Yes, they meet and sing together
every Monday night nine months of the year, but
they're friends as well. They enjoy each other's
company and grab every opportunity to spend social
time together. Deep, lasting friendships are common
among their members.
The OSQ Holiday Concert is at 4 p.m. Sunday, Dec.
21 at at the Queensborough Performing Arts Center.
For more information about OSQ concerts or becoming
a member, call (718) 460-0726 or visit www.queensoratorio.org.