The Oneonta Herald of Jan. 17, 1929 reported that while 500 memberships at $5 each were being sought, the local support was so robust that once the 675th membership was sold, no more were made available. That number was based on the seating capacity of the Oneonta High School auditorium, their initial venue, which was then found on Academy Street.
The first concert of that series took place Wednesday, Feb. 13, featuring the Russian Symphonic Choir. With the director, nine men and eight women gave a complete symphonic arrangement of classical, sacred and Russian folk music without accompaniment of any sort, with “all the orchestral effects being achieved entirely by the voices,” according to the Herald.
The Herald description said “the men in long red coats and the women in gowns of vivid red and blue, with jeweled Russian tiaras on their hair and many strings of beads about their throats, formed a glowing picture, which wakened long and sincere applause from their Oneonta audience.”
Celeste Brown-Thomas, co-chair of publicity for today’s OCA, said that attendance numbers at concerts remain at well over 500. Brown-Thomas added that while the all-volunteer organization is engaged in many 21st century endeavors, such as strong partnerships with several area venues and sponsors, as well as an active website, “the OCA mission remains the same as in the late 1920s, to provide world-class programs at an affordable price.”
Visit www.oneontaconcertassociation.org for complete details on upcoming performances and activities.