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The Oratorio Society of Virginia Michael Slon, Music Director

The Oratorio Society of Virginia
Michael Slon, Music Director

Mission

Dedicated to musical excellence, The Oratorio Society of Virginia enriches, inspires, and educates the community through regular performance of choral masterworks that express the best of the human spirit.

Background

The Oratorio Society of Virginia presents the beauty and inspiration of great music in four to five professional-level, affordable choral and orchestral concerts each year. Under the baton of Music Director Michael Slon, the Oratorio Society has expanded its appreciative audiences and is now widely regarded as one of the preeminent community choruses in this region. Founded in 1966 and giving its first performance, of Handel’s Messiah, in 1968, the Oratorio Society is Charlottesville’s longest-running community chorus and performs in the area's finest venues—such as the historic Paramount Theater on the Downtown Mall, Old Cabell Hall at UVa, First Presbyterian Church, and the Martin Luther King Jr. Performing Arts Center. Repertoire has included Bach’s Mass in B minor, Mendelssohn’s Elijah, Vaughan Williams’ A Sea Symphony, Handel’s Coronation Anthems, and Bernstein’s Candide. (For more on our repertoire, click here.)

The Oratorio Society is a volunteer organization. The members of the Chorus, Board of Directors, Music Director, Business Manager, and special friends of the Society invest many hours in rehearsing, planning, publicizing and staging to present first-rate musical performances to the community. Our concerts happen because each stakeholder commits something: mastering the music; selling tickets; toting chairs, risers and equipment; participating in fund-raising; distributing posters; and surrendering a few weekends to rehearsing and performance. The rewards of this labor are substantial. The exceptional quality of our concerts, year after year, reflects the commitment and hard work of every Society member.

Chorus members are of all ages and from all walks of life; most have considerable choral singing experience, and some are professional musicians and music teachers. They come together to perform choral masterworks and to share with their audiences the genius and enjoyment of the composers and works performed.

Maestro Slon’s leadership of the 90-person chorus is attracting new and returning singers from past seasons, and he continues to form exciting partnerships with other community arts groups, including Ash Lawn Opera, the Charlottesville Symphony, the Roanoke Symphony, the UVa University Singers, and more.


Our audiences have rewarded our performances with enthusiastic applause and supportive comments:

“GLORIOUS! Kudos all the way; best thing I’ve seen this year…”

Audience member, Candide, May 2014

“After the concert I was so elevated, so inspired to just live and work, that such artistic vision is available to us. It was for me one of those higher moments never to be forgotten.”

Audience member, Gems of the Baroque, June 2013

“Wow, what a great huge sound! I was just enthralled by such beauty! The concert was truly captivating.”

Audience member, Gems of the Baroque, June 2013

“[Michael Slon] has artistic talent and gets so much subtlety from the chorus! Bravo! Love the music!”

Audience member, Christmas at the Paramount, December 2011

“. . . generous and altogether moving. Thank you (and your fine musicians and volunteers) for drawing together our community for an hour of wonders.”

Former UVa president John Casteen, Christmas at the Paramount, December 2012


As we begin our 50th year, we strive to engage our community in our music, as singers and as audience. To achieve this, we are promoting our work to organizations that have similar constituents; inviting students to sing with us; and promoting our auditions and concerts to younger audiences.