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History of the CPOS

Central PA Oratorio Singers (CPOS) was organized to study and perform the major masterworks for chorus, soloists, and orchestra. We perform works of various forms, but emphasize oratorios. We believe we should perform these great and noble works as the composers conceived them, and in doing so we are privileged to share in their creation. We also believe that our performances can be profound religious experiences, both for audience and oratorio members alike.


We are more than 70 professional and amateur musicians, individuals from many walks of life: Pastors, Lawyers, Engineers, State Workers, Teachers, Nurses, Medical Doctors, Scientists, Retirees, ... Many religious denominations are represented including United Methodist, Brethren in Christ, Brethren, Presbyterian, Baptist, Catholic, Lutheran, Non-Denominational, ... We range in age from 20-somethings to 80-somethings, representing Lancaster, Lebanon, Dauphin, Cumberland, York, Adams and other counties throughout Central Pennsylvania. What he have in common is a love for glorious music!


Founded in 1996 CPOS was organized by singers who wished to maintain the traditions of the Grantham Oratorio Society and the original Harrisburg Singers, and also by members of the Grace United Methodist Church choir who were interested in singing oratorios and other large choral works.

For three seasons the CPOS was associated with the West Shore Symphony Orchestra, presenting one concert per year in November in both Carlisle PA and Harrisburg PA. The Carlisle concert was conducted by the Orchestra conductor; the Harrisburg concert by the Choral conductor.

Starting in 1998 the CPOS added a concert in March and expanded its mission with the addition of an independent, professional orchestra. In 1999 the CPOS discontinued its association with the West Shore Symphony. In 2003 one concert was cancelled due to the conductor’s open heart surgery -- from which he fully recovered -- and a single-concert schedule was continued for three more years.

From 2007 to the present the CPOS has presented two concerts each season, a "Fall Concert" in November and a "Holy Week" concert on the Tuesday before Easter Sunday. It continues to look forward to the future, when more great masterworks will be brought to life through voice and instrument!


Prior to the Fall 2010 Concert presentation of Elijah, founding conductor Dr. Ron Sider and his wife Beth announced their intention to retire. Eric Riley was called as the new conductor in the spring of 2011, and the CPOS transitioned from Grace United Methodist Church to its new hosting congregation, Market Square Presbyterian Church. The fall of 2016 saw the departure of Eric and the calling of a new conductor, Brett A. Terry.