Oratorio Society

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One hundred years ago, the Calvin Oratorio Society made its debut with the first of its now traditional Christmas season performances of Handel's Messiah.

Since that time, the Calvin Oratorio Society has grown under the outstanding leadership of its music directors: Reese Veatch (1920–1923), Seymour Swets (1923–1967), Harold Geerdes (1967–1981), Howard Slenk (1981–1998), Pearl Shangkuan (1998–2003), Joel Navarro (2003–2014), and its current director Sean Ivory.

Chorus members are of all ages and from all walks of life; all have considerable choral singing experience, and some are professional musicians and music teachers.

The Oratorio Society performs at the Covenant Fine Arts Center Auditorium on the Calvin's campus, near the intersection of Burton and the East Beltline.

Conductor and Administrative Director

Sean Ivory's staff picture
Sean Ivory

Adjunct Faculty
(Oratorio Society)
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Explore Oratorio Society

Since its founding, the Oratorio Society has performed many of the greatest oratorios of our time. In addition to the annual performances of Handel's Messiah, the Society's performances have ranged from a staged version of Mendelssohn's Elijah to a United States premiere of MISA 2000, a work by celebrated Filipino composer Ryan Cayabyab.

Other highlights of past performances include works by Bach (Easter Oratorio, St. Matthew Passion, St. John Passion), Brahms (Requiem), Handel (Saul), Haydn (Creation), Mendelssohn (St. Paul), Mozart (Exultate), Rutter (Requiem), and Vaughan Williams (Five Mystical Songs).


Auditions will take place on September 3 and 4, 2019 from 7 to 9 p.m. (Room 168).


Covenant Fine Arts Center | Room 168
Calvin University
3201 Burton St SE
Grand Rapids, MI 49546 [map]


Tuesday evenings from 7:30 p.m.–9:30 p.m.
Covenant Fine Arts Center Recital Hall
Rehearsals begin on Tuesday, September 10, 2019


Prepare a hymn of your choice to be sung in your voice part. An accompanist will be available at your audition.


To schedule a time, please contact the administrative director or complete the form below.

Oratorio Audition Form

First Name: *
Last Name: *
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ZIP/Postal Code:
Area Code and Phone: *
Email: *
Voice Part: *

*required fields

Visit the Oratorio Society beta website where you can access MIDI practice files, receive updates, and more!

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