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Oratorio Society

Academics / Departments & Programs / Visual and Performing Arts / Student Experience / Ensembles / Oratorio Society

One hundred and one 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 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.

2020 Season

We are excited to announce that our annual tradition of, Handel’s Messiah will continue this year.  There are many obstacles that will prevent us from holding an in-person concert as usual this year, however, we are very excited to be working on a virtual Messiah.  This will be a smaller performance that will certainly not replace our professional level concert.  We are excited to put something together that continues this rich tradition.  

We hope to release the FREE virtual Messiah in early December. 

Please check back for updates. 

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Administrative Director

Lisa Funk's staff picture
Lisa Funk

Community Arts Coordinator

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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).


Thank you for your interest. Audition information will be posted at a later date. Please check back.

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