Orpheus Club Men's Chorus
On October 11, 1909, eight men met at the Ridgewood home of Frank R. Pawley do discuss a men's singing club. A week later, 10 men gathered in the village library, a room in the First National Bank Building. The group paid 75 cents per night to use the room and began singing together, with Dewitt Clinton, Jr., as director. The Orpheus Club Men's Chorus was born.
Today, the Orpheus Club Men's Chorus includes about 50 singers from New York and New Jersey and generally makes eight to 10 appearances annually including four formal concerts. The Club has sung "Alto Rhapsody" (Brahms) with the Adelphi Chamber Orchestra as well as "The Testament of Freedom" (Thompson) and "Hymn to the Nations" (Verdi) with the Orchestra of St. Peter by the Sea. The men of Orpheus have joined with the Ridgewood Choral to sing "Song of Democracy" (Hanson) and appeared with the Ridgewood Concert Band to sing the music of Aaron Copland and Richard Wagner.
In the Spring of 2005, the Chorus made its Lincoln Center debut, performing at the Lincoln Center Library with the Palisades Virtuosi chamber ensemble. Additional performances in recent years have included concerts at the Kasschau Memorial Band shell in Ridgewood, singing in Ridgewood's Independence Day parade, area churches, and in November 2009, a presentation of Beethoven's Fantasia for Piano, Chorus, and Orhcestra, Op. 80 (the Choral Fantasy) with the Ridgewood Choral, the Ridgewood High School Chamber Choir, and the Eastern Christian High School Chorus.
Richard Lane's composition declares: "We are men who like to sing. We are the men of Orpheus." For more than 100 years.
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