History of Huntington Choral Society

Formally organized and incorporated as an independent not-for-profit organization in 1962, the mission of the Huntington Choral Society, Inc. has been to bring the great choral works of the world to the Long Island community.  The voices of this 100-member chorus are complemented by some of the finest professional soloists and orchestras in the metropolitan area.  Past concerts have united the Society with well-known orchestras in our area including the New York Virtuosi, Long Island Symphony, Nassau Symphony, Sound Symphony, and the Opera Orchestra of New York in such venues as Carnegie Hall, Tilles Center and Hofstra University.  Our yearly spring and winter concerts are presented at Huntington High School.

The Society’s vast repertoire includes a variety of works spanning the Baroque, Classical, Romantic, Post-Romantic, and Modern eras.  We have performed Bach’s St. Matthew Passion, Brahms’ A German Requiem, Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony, Handel’s Messiah, Verdi’s Requiem, Haydn’s The Creation, along with the works of Schubert, Mendelssohn, Mozart, Vivaldi, Puccini, Dvorak, Fauré, Rachmaninoff, Bernstein, Bloch, Britten, Copland, Eychenne, Lauridsen, Orff, Rutter, and many more.

Demonstrating its range and versatility, the Society has presented original revues and musical theater productions, including Brigadoon, HMS Pinafore, The Mikado, Oklahoma, South Pacific, Carousel, Fiddler on the Roof, Hello Dolly, Funny Girl, Anything Goes, and Man of La Mancha, to name a few.  In 1991, the Society made its debut at the Inter-Media Arts Center in Huntington Village with a fully staged production of Gilbert and Sullivan’s The Pirates of Penzance.

The Society sponsors an annual Messiah Sing-Along, holiday caroling at local nursing homes and Huntington Hospital, and participates in various town and community events.  The latter has included performing at the Heckscher Park Summer Arts Festival; the Huntington Community Interfaith Candlelight Vigil and The Rolling Requiem at the Tilles Center in 2002 to honor those lost on September 11, 2001; the 2006 Freedom Salute to recognize members of the New York Army National Guard and their families at Crab Meadow Beach in Northport; the Annual Holiday Reception to Benefit The INN at Martin Viette Nurseries in East Norwich; and the 2012 Town of Huntington Inaugural Ceremony.

The Huntington Choral Society was founded by Dorothea Waddell Tonnesen, who was its first music director.  In 1975, she was succeeded by Andrew Housholder.  Today, the chorus is led by an inspired and dedicated music director, Steven Finch, who joined the group in 1984.