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Songs of holiday cheer

By Aaron Davis

Winter is coming on and it’s time to mark Dec. 21 on your calendars for the annual holiday concert presented by the Oratorio Society of Queens. Conducted by Maestro David Close, this festive gathering will have you singing and clapping along with joyous Christmas carols and Chanukah favorites.

Some of the featured songs for this year’s program include the Christmas portion of Handel’s “Messiah,” a brand new arrangement by Mack Wilberg of the beloved West Indian carol “The Virgin Mary Had a Baby Boy” and Maestro Close’s own arrangements of “A Christmas Cradle Song” and the Chanukah favorite “Ma’oz Tsur.”

A graduate of the Queens College music program, Close has been directing the OSQ, which celebrated its 80th anniversary last year, since 1970. “While there have been ‘Messiah,’ ‘Judas Maccabeus’ and carol presentations during the last 80−plus years, the concerts have been geared specifically to a holiday theme only since 1991,” he said.

Singing along with the chorus and Orchestral Arts Ensemble of Queens at the performance will be featured soloists Geraldine MacMillian, soprano; John Easterlin, tenor; and Vaughn Fritts, bass baritone. Occasionally, the audience will join.

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