About the OSNJ
The Oratorio Society of New Jersey was founded in 1952. It has joyously served to enrich the cultural environment of our community with more than a half-century of choral masterpiece performances. Under the direction of Dr. Jack Sacher of Montclair State University, the organization received widespread acclaim and membership increased to approximately 100 performing members. Following the death of Dr. Sacher in 1999, Gary M. Schneider became Music Director and Conductor. Mr. Schneider's experience helped enhance the Society’s artistic mission through the introduction of innovative musical presentations such as Cherubini’s Requiem in C Minor that elicited critical praise and stimulated public awareness of our activities.
In 2005, the Society selected Dr. Sándor Szabó as its Music Director. Classical New Jersey Society Journal describes Dr. Sándor Szabó as “the busiest musician in New Jersey” and one of its “leading organists.”
OSNJ hires a range of first-class soloists for our programs. Many have performance careers on an international level. We choose instrumentalists from the superb free-lance musicians available in this area. Noted music reviewer Paul Somers has found OSNJ’s music “electrifying” and performances that “lived up to the music in every way.” The Oratorio Society sings “with sureness and clarity.” Our “a capella singing was first rate, filled with expressive detail.”
We are proud that members of OSNJ, together with other choirs, sang Brahms’ Ein Deutsches Requiem on June 12, 2010 at Carnegie Hall under the direction of Maestro Ragnar Bohlin.
OSNJ includes individuals of diverse racial, ethnic, and religious backgrounds who come together weekly. A wide range of ages is represented, with seniors constituting approximately 30% of the group. While other regional organizations provide opportunities for certain singers, most have membership restrictions. OSNJ is open to all with choral singing experience who agree to commit their time.
OSNJ is a membership-based organization that selects its committees and appoints its Music Director. Volunteer elected officers serve on our board. Together with our Music Director and other member volunteers, they manage the day-to-day operations of the organization. Committees include the Music Committee, the Membership Committee, the Finance Committee, and the Publicity Committee. OSNJ sponsors sing-along events that offer the broader community a friendly opportunity to participate in a choral singing experience. They expose the less initiated to the nuances of well-known presentations such as the Messiah. The organization also has other types of fundraisers and promotional events.
Our annual dues are $75 for the entire year or $40 if you can only join us for one concert season.
In its welcoming spirit, OSNJ does not require auditions. However, it is expected that members have some prior singing experience and make a commitment to master the selections. This involves faithful attendance, and rigorous practice during rehearsal time and on their own. Certain rehearsals also offer the opportunity to learn about historical style, voice production, the vocabulary of music, principles of interval and metric organization, and more.
At the same time, OSNJ’s musical activity is meant to be joyous, as well as educational. We consider it part of our charge to create a singing experience that is uplifting and inspiring. Whether working or retired, members can look forward to an environment that momentarily sets the tensions of the day aside.
Join us and experience the delight of wonderful choral music!