MEET THE OSQ BOARD OF DIRECTORS
Charlene was born and raised in Queens. She is proud to be recently inducted into the Conductor's Circle having been with OSQ for 20 years. She has worked in higher education during college and committed herself to this profession after receiving her M.A. in College Counseling from Hunter College. She is recently retired from her position as Director of Career Services at NY Institute of Technology where she had worked for 12 years. She and her husband, Bill Zlata, retired Director of Admissions from Hunter College, are the proud parents of their son, Jesse, who is a Java Developer at Warby Parker. She became "hooked" on music at the age of three or four when she was given a small phonograph to play records, primarily consisting of her grandfather's Italian/American recordings. Being a member of OSQ has opened doors for Charlene: to a world of music she never knew existed, lifelong friendships, and on-the-job training in writing grants, running board meetings and organizing fundraisers.
1st Vice President
Marsha studied piano and sang in glee clubs from elementary school through high school. She is retired from her career as a Budget and Financial Analyst with the Postal Service. Music has always been a part of her family life; virtually every member of her family is involved in music from Blue Grass to Jazz bands to hip-hop poetry to her performance of sacred and classical music with OSQ. Her most memorable and enjoyable musical experience was singing the Verdi "Requiem" with OSQ; a close second was Beethoven's "Ode to Joy," also with OSQ. Singing with OSQ brightens her life; musically and socially! She enjoys the company of the members and has made some very special friends. "It is a privilege to sing under the tutelage of our wonderful Maestro David Close, Assistant Conductor Ben Arendsen and our Accompanist Barbara Podgurski." Her interests and life goals are to continue singing, traveling and learning. She's married to Paul whom she met while in high school They have a son, daughter and twin grandsons who are the light of her life.
Lawrence M. Lutzak
2nd Vice President
Larry is a life-long Queens resident and has resided with his wife, Kathy, in Bellerose since 1987. He is both a father and a grandfather. His professional career, in the insurance and reinsurance industry, spans over 40 years and he is currently Claim Account Manager with AXA Liabilities Managers. He holds degrees from St. John's University in English Literature and Executive Management. Larry is an FCC-licensed Amateur Radio operator and past president of the ARC Emergency Communications Service, having served as a volunteer since 1967. Larry is also a runner, having run the NYC Marathon four times, most recently in 2014. On OSQ: "I never thought that I would be able to perform with such wonderfully talented human beings. It is an honor and a privilege to be a part of the OSQ family."
Irene C. Junge
Irene, from Forest Hills, joined OSQ in 1991 and again in 2007. She sang in school, in the choir of Our Lady Queen of Martyrs and with the Collegiate Choral (Manhattan) for 10 years. Irene studied violin, piano and played drums in a drum and bugle corps. Irene never fails to be moved at the sound of a chorus warming up - when a diverse group of folks settle down and produce their first harmonious sounds as a unit. Singing with OSQ is a highlight of her week.
Marguerite LeBron Secretary
Marguerite is a lifelong New Yorker and a native of Queens. Her love of music began at an early age listening with her father to classical and modern recordings on his huge old tape player, and singing while being accompanied by her grandmother who was a piano teacher, as well as church organist and choir director for a Congregational parish in Terryville CT. The expansion of her musical education came about through private piano and accordion lessons, in addition to playing cello and clarinet in junior high school and high school. As an elementary school teacher, Marguerite enjoyed working with children and established youth choirs in several of the schools where she taught. After singing with church choirs for many years, it is now a thrill to sing and work with the Oratorio Society of Queens, a community-based group with such excellent standards of musical selection and performance.
Artistic Director & Conductor
David is the Artistic Director and Conductor of OSQ and founder, Artistic Director and Conductor of The Orchestral Arts Ensemble of Queens. David is also the Music Director and Conductor of the Great Neck Choral Society. For more about David, go directly to his page.
Joseph J. Conforti
Joe says music has been his passion from birth - he learned to read music at age 4 and played several instruments including guitar, keyboard and accordion. Joe has sung with choirs all over the city and in front of 80,000 people at the last Billy Graham Crusade in Flushing Meadows Park. His biggest thrill was singing with contemporary Christian singer John Angotti in Carnegie Hall. He has been singing with the Saint Luke's folk group for the past 16 years and the Saint Luke's Adult Choir the past 4 years. "I feel very blessed to sing with OSQ. It offers me a great challenge and to be in the company of such wonderful, dedicated people with a great love of choral music."
Dr. Edgar S. Joseph
Ed's romance with singing started in his teens with the role of Dick Deadeye in HMS Pinafore. He has been singing ever since: the All-NYU Glee Club, temple choirs and the Queensborough Chorus, before joining OSQ. He was commissioned as a 2nd Lieutenant in the U.S. Infantry late in the Korean War and, after four years of Dental School, was recalled into service as a Captain in the Medical Corps. Ed is passionate about the Giants and the Yankees. He once pitched a one-hit shut-out in a semi-pro game and got hit in the head with a batted ball which ended his professional baseball career. A father and grandfather, Ed retired from private practice and now teaches post-grad dentists at New York Hospital Queens.
André B. Louis
André grew up in France, traveled the world for several years and immigrated to New York 46 years ago after getting married. He is a father and grandfather, who is proud to have several musicians in the family. He was introduced to music as part of a seminary choir, singing Gregorian chants, but did not have a chance to sing again until joining OSQ in 2014. André is a long time resident of Queens. He graduated from Queens College and afterwards Adelphi School of Social Work. He retired from a career devoted to the psychiatric care of institutionalized Holocaust survivors at Margaret Tietz Center for Nursing Care in Jamaica, Queens. Along with singing, André remains an avid cyclist, actively participating in sports events. For André, joining OSQ is a dream come true as well as a revival of a lifelong passion left dormant for too long.
Gwendolyn Manning Hiers
Gwendolyn joined OSQ in January 2016. What an experience it has been! Singing with a choral group in other languages has been exhilarating. She began her musical background in the elementary school glee club. Sunday mornings and some afternoons were spent with the Junior, Young Adult, and Senior choirs of Bridge Street African Methodist Episcopal Church in Brooklyn, NY. At a young age, she decided to become a teacher. Gwendolyn completed her studies at Queens College receiving her Bachelor's and Master's degrees in elementary education. After retiring with 35 years as an elementary school teacher, she decided that travel and singing would be her favorite activities. OSQ made the singing easy. Her son, John who works for the airlines as a flight dispatcher, made travel extremely affordable. Gwendolyn loves spending time mentoring her daughter, Enid who is a Pre-Kindergarten teacher. My children will tell you that "If Momma is not reading, she is singing." I am truly blessed to be a part of OSQ for it has been a source of healing for me.
Born and raised in Brooklyn, Linda attended public schools, where she played violin and was piano accompanist for school musicals. While attending law school and raising her family, she sang tenor (!) in her church choir. During her legal career, she worked as a trial attorney defending accident cases, and also wrote and graded the New York Bar examination for over 20 years. She became a member of the Community Church of Douglaston Senior Choir and piano accompanist to the children’s choir in 1994. In 2004, she became director of the Junior/Youth Choir. She served as President of the PS 98 PTA and was a member of the Board of Directors of the Douglas Manor Association. She currently serves as President of Hearts in the Community, a local charity, and the Sigsbee Road Civic Association. After residing in Douglaston for 36 years, she now makes her home in Kew Gardens with her husband, Peter Wolf, also an attorney, and enjoys spending time with her grandchildren. Linda first came to OSQ in 2011 to sing Mozart’s "Requiem," was happy to return in 2016 to sing Faure’s "Requiem," and hopes to make beautiful music with Maestro Close and the chorus for many years to come.
Dr. Barbara Raisner
Barbara, a Queens native, is a retired teacher, college instructor, and educational consultant. For 15 years she volunteered at the Library for the Blind, recording audio books. As an opera lover, she led an Opera Appreciation study group for the Brandeis University Women's Committee and was thrilled to attend Luciano Pavarotti's first solo recital at the Met. Years later, she was a volunteer backstage tour guide there, leading groups onto the great stage, and looking out at the vast empty house. She is a mother, grandmother and now a great-grandmother. Barbara says, "I always look forward to a new season at OSQ because I love the music, the people and the experience of being part of this great group."
Susan Rosenberg began her career working in record stores, from the worst (Musicland) to the very best (Waterloo Records). After earning a degree in International Business from the University of Texas at Austin in 1992, Susan moved to Pittsburgh, PA to become a buyer for the 120-store chain National Record Mart. In 1995, she moved to New York and held the position of National Marketing Manager for Koch International. In the late 1990s, Susan took a job as National Sales Director for Putumayo World Music. After 3-1/2 years at Putumayo, Susan was recruited by RCA Music Group to be Eastern Regional Sales Director. After a couple years, she made a lateral move within BMG to be a marketing director for catalog releases from RCA Red Seal, RCA Victor, BMG Classics, Bluebird Jazz, Windham Hill and Private Music. After a few years, Susan was lured back to Putumayo to be an equity partner and Senior VP of Sales & Marketing. Susan left Putumayo and founded Magenta Marketing in 2004. Clients included World Music Network, Artemis Records, Universal Music, Savoy Jazz, and Joel Dorn’s Hyena Records. In 2006, Susan was recruited by Palm Pictures to be Head of Music Marketing, overseeing the promotion of the Palm World Voices series among other projects. Susan expanded Magenta Marketing to include artist and label management, beginning in 2008. In 2012, the Magenta Label Group was launched, offering artist management, music marketing and distribution for North America through eOne Distribution. The label group continues to grow, with music releases and projects coming in from all genres – from Kids to Broadway, Jazz, Classical, Pop, Rock and World Music.
Sherri grew up in Forest Hills, and was a member of the Forest Hills High School Chorus and All City Chorus, singing second soprano. How the vocal chords have thickened! She also played guitar and sang with friends in Washington Square Park and small club venues. Her involvement in the visual arts brought her wonderful husband Joseph into her life. Returning to the musical branch of the arts, she finds OSQ fills her life’s palette. The joy of membership in the grand endeavor of bringing “oratorio” to Queens residents is immeasurable. In her professional life, Sherri has consulted with all manner of Queens' businesses to assist them in achieving their marketing goals, and is very excited to contribute her fundraising capabilities for the benefit of such an exalted society of singers.
Eileen E. Scott
Eileen is a retired elementary school teacher who taught on American military bases in Germany for 28 years. OSQ became her musical home as she readjusted to living in New York. Eileen's years abroad provided her with a wealth of travel and musical experiences from the fall of the Berlin Wall, meeting a Scottish Lord, singing Christmas Carols with some villagers in Austria's Wienerwald and attending ballet, jazz and opera performances throughout Europe. A life-long music lover who has belonged to various church choirs, Eileen is deeply honored to be part of this historic chorus and to sing the music she's always dreamed of singing.
Stephen M. Taylor
Steve Taylor (along with his wife, Patty) joined OSQ in September 2016, getting back into choral singing after a hiatus of 20 years. Originally from Connecticut, both of his parents were musicians. Though never a formally trained singer, Steve has a ton of experience singing—high school choir, church choir, barbershop, a 40’s-style tight harmony group, a bluegrass trio, and an early music group in college. In addition to working as a freelance graphic designer and developer, Steve has been playing string and electric bass with local jazz and pop groups in the NY-CT-NJ area for over 30 years. Steve studied music at Berklee and New England Conservatory in Boston and holds a BA in Music from Reed College in Portland, OR. Steve says “I’m proud to serve as the newest member of the OSQ Board.”