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Rejoice with Christmas and Hanukkah music — and a little Buon Natale and Joyeux Noël as well.

The Oratorio Society of Queens will present its annual Holiday Concert – secular carols mixed with Catholic, Jewish, and Protestant songs — at the Queensborough Performing Arts Center in Bayside on Sunday, Dec. 17, at 4 p.m.

Dating back to 1927, this is the borough’s oldest arts-related nonprofit’s signature show. For the first half, Maestro David Close will conduct the chorus, which has more than 125 members with string and wind sections, and the Orchestral Arts Ensemble of Queens through excerpts from “Messiah” as per a tradition that began in 1984. Composed in English in 1741 by Germany’s George Frideric Handel, this oratorio covers the life and times of Jesus with text from the King James Bible and the Anglican Church’s Book of Common Prayer.

Then it’ll be time for an intermission before a multi-cultural second half featuring “Gloria,” a rhythmic and lyrical celebration of the season’s goodwill that Randol Bass wrote for the New York Pops Orchestra in 1990. The chorus will also do John Rutter’s French carol “Noel, Nouvelet,” “Radetzky March” by Johann Strauss Sr., “O Holy Night,” and “Joy to the World.”

The audience will also hear 18th century composer Benedetto Marcello’s Italian Ashkenazi melody “Ma’oz Tsur” and sing along to “The Many Moods of Christmas,” a suite of carols arranged by Robert Shaw. Plus, guest artist Jerry Korobow, the cantor at Flushing’s Temple Beth Sholom, will lead the chorus and orchestra in the Hebrew song “Al Hanissim,” which offers thanks for miracles and salvation in a new arrangement by Maestro Close.

Tickets are $35 in advance, but $40 at the door. Seniors (62 and over) and students pay $30, while children (12 and under) pay $10 apiece.

The Oratorio Society of Queens was founded before the 7 train was completed in 1927. For more than 40 years, Maestro Close has been the conductor. He’s also the music director and organist at Our Lady Queen of Martyrs in Forest Hills and Lynbrook’s Temple Am Echad. This year’s vocal team includes Jennifer Gliere as soprano, Byron Singleton as tenor, and Vaughn Fritts as bass-baritone.

The Queensborough Performing Arts Center is located at 222-05 56th Ave.

Images: Dominick Totino Photography


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