History of The Northern Delaware Society

NDOS Medallion

NDOS (en-dose) as it is affectionately called by its members and others “in the know” was formed in 1970 by Robert Dilworth, President and Founder of the Dickinson Theatre Organ Society, and a group of singers, several of whom are still singing with the chorus today.  The express purpose was to use the Dickinson Kimball Theatre Organ in a performance of Handel’s Messiah.  Area church choirs were contacted and nearly 200 singers united to prepare and participate in the grand performance.  Conductor Dr. Robert King and organist Stoddard Smith were hired, and the concert was a tremendous success.  A spring performance of Brahms’ Reqiuem under the baton of Dr. John H. Duddy was planned, and the long and wonderful history of NDOS began.  Each year the NDOS Board of Directors would choose a major work for the spring concert.  The annual December performance of Messiah was a standard.  Conductors were chosen for each work and then paired with their favorite organists. In 1983 the husband and wife team of Calvin Bourgeault (who had conducted three previous performances) and Sheila Grady Bourgeault was brought on board as permanent artistic directors and conductors.  After 35 seasons, Sheila Bourgeault Dowdy retired as Artistic Director of NDOS in May 2018.

As the chorus has changed over the years you see today a smaller, consistent, caring, totally dedicated ensemble.  Among our ranks are working and retired visual and performing artists, medical professionals, educators, engineers, business people, homemakers, students, and countless others who love to sing larger scale choral works.  Nearly every member of this chorus sings with at least one other local church or community choir as well.  The NDOS no-audition policy, begun at the group’s founding, continues, bringing in singers who love the art and prepare diligently to present quality, traditional choral music of the highest level.  

Now beginning our 49th season, we continue to be totally self-supporting, and should you be so inclined to help us financially, we would be deeply grateful.   We truly appreciate your continued support attending in our concerts, introducing us to your friends and families, and contributing financially as you are so moved and able.  We look forward to welcoming you again this season.  It promises to be very exciting.

Singing with NDOS

NDOS rehearses on Sunday afternoons, usually from 2:30pm to 5pm at the Parish Hall of St. James Episcopal Church Mill Creek, 2106 St. James Road (just off the Kirkwood Highway), Wilmington.  The Parish Hall is across the road from the church.  NDOS is a non-audition chorus and welcomes new members - contact us if you are interested in singing!

Artistic Staff


Mark Reagan, Artistic Director 

Dr Mark Reagan joins the Northern Delaware Oratorio Society as Artistic Director in July 2018.   Dr Reagan has a doctorate in choral conducting from the University of Iowa and a MA in Choral Conducting from Washington State, a MA in Composition from Michigan State, and a BA in Composition from Taylor University.  He was a Visiting Fellow of Music and Choir Director at St Andrews College in Moscow Idaho for three years.   Dr Reagan teaches music and literature at the Tall Oaks Classical School (middle and high school) in Bear.