Ninety-five 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 campus of Calvin College, near the intersection of Burton and the East Beltline.

2016-2017 Season

Handel's Messiah

Sean Ivory, conductor

*Friday, December 2, 2016 | 8:00 pm
*Saturday, December 3, 2016 | 8:00 pm

Covenant Fine Arts Center Auditorium
Calvin College
3201 Burton St SE
Grand Rapids, MI 49546 [map]

Anne Nispel, soprano
Emily Marvosh, mezzo-soprano
Brian Pfaltzgraff, tenor
Stephen Lancaster, baritone

*Tickets may be purchased online from the Calvin Box Office or by calling (616) 526-6282.

Conductor & Administrative Director

Sean Ivory

Adjunct Faculty
(Campus Choir, Oratorio Society)
Full profile

Victoria Van Wingerden

Oratorio Society Administrative Director; Alumni Choir Business Manager
Full profile

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 6 and 7, 2016 (Tuesday and Wednesday) from 7:00 to 8:30 p.m. (Rm #168).


Covenant Fine Arts Center | Rm #168
Calvin College
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 13, 2016


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

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