A Singing Force for Good, Since 1909
John Palatucci's farewell concert
From the Podium
Hail, friends of music!
In early 1990, I received a call from Jim Bender, a well-respected NJ music educator and the then music director of The Orpheus Club. Though I had heard the name over the years, my first question at the time was still “What’s an Orpheus Club?” I learned from Jim that it was something of a glee club that had existed in Ridgewood since 1909. He was leaving to become a school administrator, and would I be interested in possibly replacing him?
After applying, an interview was held at the Glen Rock home of committee chair Oliver Heister. Then-OC president Frank Strobl and Richard Lane, who had been the piano accompanist since 1964, were also present. During the discussion, Ollie made it clear that “We are not a barbershop chorus.” Frank alerted me that the club was not interested in any high-minded music theoretical lectures during rehearsals. And Dick was very quiet.
I guess I said enough of the right things and won the job over five other candidates.
The ensuing 32 years have been filled with all kinds of wonderful growth for the club and for me personally. There have been challenging, boundary-stretching repertoire choices that would result in exhilarating, sometimes terrifying, music making throughout Ridgewood and the greater metropolitan area including Lincoln Center, Carnegie Recital Hall, and Saint Patrick’s Cathedral. From sparsely attended spring and winter concerts to multi-performance seasons with a place among New Jersey’s civic musical leaders. Most importantly, tentative conductor/chorus interactions grew into warm musical collaborations and friendships.
It is a wild and wonderful ride, but with the 2022-2023 Orpheus Club Men’s Chorus season will come the end of my time as music director. I have known that this time was coming but I could not and would not leave this group I love during the height of the Covid-19 pandemic. I am proud of what we together have accomplished over the years, no less so the challenges we as an organization have more than met through our virtual rehearsals and performances and recent return to live performing. Bravo, my friends!
Let me be clear that I am not leaving happily or because something better is on my horizon. Through all the “Are you sure?” conversations about my future with the OCMC, one point has been a constant for me. It is simply time for a change and an exciting new direction for the singing men of Orpheus. New singing members should come, try Orpheus out, and join the adventure.
Now and always . . . We sing as one!
John J. Palatucci, music director
THE ORPHEUS CLUB MEN’S CHORUS
The Orpheus Club Men's Chorus is a singing force for good throughout the greater New York/New Jersey metropolitan area. It comprises men who love to sing, enjoy the company of like-minded men, and perform with a sense of service to the larger community.
Copyright © 2023 Orpheus Club Men's Chorus of Ridgewood, NJ, USA