Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Oratorio Society of Queens 2009 Annual Holiday Concert

The Blizzard of 2009 did not deter the Oratorio Society of Queens. Their full rehearsal on Saturday afternoon started before the snow and was over before much of the white stuff had fallen. By the time of Sunday afternoon’s Annual Holiday Concert (photo right), most of the roads had been cleared. Still, even though it was a sold out house at the Queensborough Performing Arts Center at Queensborough Community College in Bayside, NY, there were blocks of empty seats in the auditorium, and it was not until moments before curtain call that the guest Soprano Geraldine McMillian, her flight and train detained by the winter weather, arrived. Those who made it to the concert had their hearts warmed by the Society, singing from the heart since 1927.

This is my wife’s third season with the Oratorio Society of Queens, which rehearses (with the exception of its final full rehearsal) at North Church Queens, where I serve as Designated Pastor. Singing First Soprano, this was also her third Annual Holiday Concert.

Accompanied by the Orchestral Arts Ensemble of Queens and Conducted by Artistic Director David Close, the afternoon program began with selections of Handel’s Messiah (Part 1). After an intermission, the program continued with Sleigh Ride, Ma’oz Tsur, Ocho Kandelikas, Al Hanissim, Angel’s Carol, I Saw Three Ships, Pueri Concinite, Go Tell It!, A Christmas Cradle Song, O Holy Night, and O Come, All Ye Faithful. Guest Artist Cantor Jerry Korobow added guitar accompaniment and vocals to the Hanukah selections. As in previous years, once the printed program was concluded, an encore of the Handel’s Hallelujah Chorus wowed the crowd.

Of the three soloists, Soprano Geraldine McMillian, Tenor John Easterlin (who from where I was sitting looked like Kyle MacLachlan), and Bass-Baritone Vaughn Fritts, I was most impressed by the performance of John Easterlin and the gown of Geraldine McMillian.

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