In the summer of 1959, an enthusiastic group of volunteer singers gathered together to perform Handel’s Messiah to celebrate the 200th anniversary of the Blooming Grove Congregational Church. They had such an enjoyable experience they decided to continue singing together, and named themselves Classic Choral Society. Almost sixty years later, they are still singing together – in the same church (now the Blooming Grove United Church of Christ), making them unquestionably the oldest music organization in Orange County in continuous operation.
“We are centrally located near Washingtonville – so we’ve always drawn members from all over Orange County,” said artistic director and conductor, Janiece Kohler, who is only the third individual to lead the group, having been at the baton for almost half of its history. “We have an almost equal number of people coming from Newburgh, Monroe and Middletown areas and many folks rideshare.”
Classic Choral Society will begin rehearsals for their December 2018 concerts on Monday, September 10, and new singers (for all voice parts – soprano, alto, tenor and bass) are encouraged to join. “We will be preparing a diverse program including works that are very old (Dietrich Buxtehude), and brand new (Ola Gjeilo, Dan Forrest and Kim Andre Arnesen), as well as work that joins the voices of our audience with ours – always a requested favorite,” said Kohler.
Classic Choral Society does not require auditions (adult singers with a passion for choral music and experience with a school, community chorus or church choir are welcome to join) and meets from 7:30 – 9:30 p.m., Monday evenings in the historic sanctuary of Blooming Grove United Church of Christ located at 2 Old Dominion Rd. in Blooming Grove NY (Between Washingtonville and Chester on Route 94) beginning September 10, 2018. Concerts are scheduled for Sunday, December 16 at 7:30 p.m. at First Presbyterian Church, Goshen, NY and on Sunday, December 23 at 4:00 p.m. at United Church of Christ, Blooming Grove, NY.
“We’re finding that many of our newest members have made the decision to join CCS after attending just one of our concerts. On the other hand, some have ‘gone shopping’ and done some basic research, finding our website, Facebook page and YouTube videos, and then contacting me directly by phone or messaging. I’m thrilled to be able to say we’ve been truly blessed with some very fine voices -- of those who have recently moved to the Hudson Valley area from out of state, or are locals who have been associated with other area choruses and feel they are ready for the challenges Classic Choral Society has to offer,” said Director Janiece Kohler, happily concluding, “That tells me we must be doing something right! After nearly 60 years, the Society still warmly welcomes singers who strive to experience the joy of performing in a well-rehearsed group. Those singers who are especially passionate about choral music performance and who value working toward a professional level of ensemble singing will always be encouraged to become part of Classic Choral Society – and I will greet them with open arms!”
More information about membership and directions may be obtained on the website or 845-713-4543, as well as on Facebook and YouTube