Imagine more than 125 singers, a few dozen musicians, four soloists, and a cagey, veteran conductor performing in several languages and various ranges.

The Oratorio Society of Queens will harmonize with the Orchestral Arts Ensemble of Queens at its signature Holiday Concert at St. Kevin Church in Flushing on Sunday, Dec. 22, at 4 p.m.

The first half of the two-hour-plus gig will consist of excerpts from “Messiah,” George Frideric Handel’s 1741 oratorio that relates Jesus Christ’s birth and life via text from the King James Bible and the Anglican Church’s Book of Common Prayer. It includes the world famous “Hallelujah” chorus. At times, guests Nathan Bahny (bass-baritone), John Easterlin (tenor) and Jennifer Gliere (soprano) will do solos with the chorus in the background.

The same vocal team will return for the second half, which is more folksy. Cantor Jerry Korobow, who works Saturdays at Flushing’s Temple Beth Sholom, will lead the spirited Hannukah favorite “Nun Gimel/Chanukah, O Chanukah” and “Ocho Kandelikas,” which is in Ladino, a Spanish-influenced language that Sephardic Jews spoke on all sides of the Mediterranean Sea in past centuries. Then it’s back to Jesus with C.B. Hawley’s “A Christmas Cradle Song,” “Won’t You Come A-Christmasing,” and “O Holy Night.”

General admission is $40, but seniors and students can attend for $35 and children (12 and under) pay only $10 each.

Founded in 1927, the Oratorio Society of Queens is the borough’s oldest nonprofit dedicated to the arts. For more than 40 years, Maestro David Close (below) has been the conductor. The Bayside resident is the music director/organist at Our Lady Queens of Martyrs Roman Catholic Church in Forest Hills and Temple Am Echad in Lynbrook, Long Island. He also helped found the Orchestral Arts Ensemble of Queens and Musica Reginae Productions, which organizes classic music concerts in the borough.

Here’s a look at the special guests.

Nathan Bahny has appeared with the Wagner Society of Washington D.C., the Kennedy Center and even “Late Night with David Letterman.” He made his Broadway debut in Puccini’s “La Bohème.”

John Easterlin has won five Grammys and two Emmys. He just finished a run on Broadway with “The Phantom of the Opera.”

Cincinnati native Jennifer Gliere has appeared in recital and oratorio in Austria, France, Germany, Italy, Russia, Ukraine, and throughout the United States. Plus, she gave two recital tours in Mexico. Closer to Queens, she’s been involved with productions at the Bard Opera Theatre and New Opera New York.

Plus, Audrey J. Edelstein will appear as an assistant conductor. She has guest-conducted the Moscow Symphony Orchestra, the Metropolitan Youth Orchestra of New York, the Queens College Orchestra, and the Brooklyn Conservatory Community Orchestra, among other ensembles.

St. Kevin Church is located at 45-21 194th St.

Images: The Oratorio Society of Queens


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