​​The Sussex County Oratorio Society

Sussex County Oratorio Society © All rights reserved.

The Group Through The Years


The Society was founded in 1952 by the late Mrs. Florence Wenzel Scudder with the purpose of performing the ‘Messiah’ annually. The group was first known as “The Messiah Choral Society of Sussex County”.  Mrs. Wenzel, who later remarried to become Mrs. Scudder, was the organizer, soprano soloist, and first director of the society.

From a starting point of the ‘Messiah’, the society began singing other music and over the years has performed baroque, romantic and modern music.
The group originally rehearsed in Sparta, first at the Presbyterian Church, later the Municipal Building. In 1960 the group moved to Newton

Artistic Directors over the years have included Florence Wenzel Scudder, David Anderson, Willard Newton, Richard Pugsley, R. Lee Smith, John Arnedt, Albert Dorhout, Anita Meyer, John Lawson, Al Kopacka, and our current Artistic Director Joseph Piccirillo. 


In December of 2005, a major snowstorm hit Sussex County (no surprise there !!!), but it coincided with our Christmas Concert.  As a result the concert was reschedule to early January.

To everyone's surprise our audience significantly increased !!!  So, every year since we have performed our Christmas Concert on the first Sunday in January.

From time to time, depending upon the program, outside soloist and musicians are utilized to complement the chorus of approximately 50.

Some quotes from members:
“It’s harder than church music and it’s beautiful music”
“I joined the Society because it’s the only opportunity I get to sing classical music around here”
“It’s rewarding if you do something well”
“I sing with the group because in totally concentrating on music every Monday evening I am able to retreat from the pressures of the business world. It is total immersion”