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Go ahead, deck the halls. But for real holiday inspiration, head over to any one of four fantastic concerts scheduled for this upcoming, jam-packed weekend. The fun begins on Friday with a special show at Queens Museum featuring the Corona Youth Orchestra, the Corona Children’s Orchestra, and the No Frontiers Children’s Orchestra playing Beethoven and other classics. There’s a double dose on Saturday, as the Forest Hills Choir performs a collection of choral pieces, such as “Magnificat” and “O Magnum Mysterium,” which honor the Virgin Mary. At night, the Queens College Choral Society, whose membership includes high school students and adults who have been with the group for more than 40 years, does Handel’s Messiah and other favorites with a full orchestra. Finish the fix — and get another dose of Handel’s Messiah — on Sunday when Our Lady of Martyrs Church’s Sacred Music Society joins forces with the Oratorio Society of Queens to offer an annual concert that always involves tremendous audience participation.

Four sets of details after the jump.

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This is truly an out-of-this-world experience. On Sunday, the Queens Museum will facilitate Solar System Walk, Vol. 2, a guided, 1.5-hour, family-friendly stroll through Chris Burden’s Scale Model of the Solar System, which is located in the museum and throughout the surrounding area.

Some explanation. Burden has created a scale model in size and distance of the solar system. The sun is represented by a sphere 13 inches in diameter and 40 inches in circumference that shines above the Panorama of the City of New York (above photo). The other planets are placed at the correct relative distances from the sun.

The tour — led by PJ Gubatina Policarpio, a curator and museum educator who is interested in the intersection of art, history, creativity, and identity — will start at the sun and end at pluto, which is at Leo’s Latticini, the famous Italian food store at 46-02 104th Street in Corona. (Forget about whether Pluto was downgraded as a planet or not.)

Details: Solar System Walk, Queens Museum, New York City Building, Flushing Meadows Corona Park, September 21st, 3:30 pm to 5 pm, free, but spots are limited. For more information and to RSVP, send an email to exhibitions@queensmuseum.org.

Photo: Chris Burden

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Hindus cleanse their sins by making an offering into a body of water. India’s Ganges River is the world’s most famous spot for this ritual, which is called “Ganga Pooja,” but the most common Queens venue is a Jamaica Bay beach on the Broad Channel side of the Joseph P. Addabbo Memorial Bridge.

Of course, practitioners of this religion are not the only ones who leave litter in Jamaica Bay, but many of their offerings are not biodegradable. Thus, after the Ganga Poojas first appeared roughly 25  years ago, they immediately attracted negative attention from residents of Howard Beach, Broad Channel, and the Rockaways. Enter Sadhana, an NYC-based coalition of Hindus bent on asserting principles of tolerance and inclusiveness.

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Almost exactly 50 years ago, the event organizing committee decided that June 30, 1964 would be “Louis Armstrong Day” at the 1964 World’s Fair. So on that afternoon, the legendary jazz trumpeter left his Corona home in a motorcade (below) and rode through the fairgrounds in Flushing Meadows Corona Park while greeting fans. Satchmo and his band then gave a concert at the Singer Bowl, which is now called “Louis Armstrong Stadium” and sits on the grounds of the USTA–Billie Jean King National Tennis Center. This Sunday, June 29th, a concert and exhibition opening will celebrate the musician and his participation in the World’s Fair, thanks to a partnership between the Louis Armstrong House Museum and the Queens Museum. At 4 pm, Catherine Russell (above) — a Grammy winner who has recorded with such superstars as David Bowie, Cyndi Lauper, Paul Simon, Steely Dan, and Jackson Browne — will perform at the museum. The event will also launch Ambassador Satchmo at the World’s Fair, a series of never-before-published images of Pops during the day he was honored. His personal photographer, Jack Bradley, documented the event. 

Details: A Jazz Soirée with Catherine Russell, Queens Museum, New York City Building, Flushing Meadows Corona Park, June 29th, 4 pm, free with suggested donation.

Bonus details: Ambassador Satchmo at the World’s Fair, Queens Museum, New York City Building, Flushing Meadows Corona Park, June 29th through September 14th, free with suggested donation.

Top photo: Catherine Russell; bottom photo: Louis Armstrong House Musuem

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Image Source: Queens Museum of Art

Know-it-alls can be very annoying, but in this event, they are essential. Participants test their mastery of NYC geography against the experts during the sixth annual Panorama Challenge at the Queens Museum of Art on February 28. The world’s only geographical trivia-based game involving the world’s largest architectural model, The Panorama of the City of New York, the challenge involves audio clues and laser-pointers highlighting assorted NYC landmarks, bridges, neighborhoods, parks, etc. Teams — divided into New York Novices and Panorama Pros — try to identify all 30 locations as per rules set by the quizmaster, Jonathan Turer from Levys’ Unique New York. The winning teams in both divisions are added to QMA’s Champions Trophy. Though the competition is fierce, this is actually a charity event, and all proceeds go to Williamsburg’s City Reliquary Museum, a nonprofit community museum and civic organization.

Sixth Annual Panorama Challenge NYC Team Trivia Game
Queens Museum of Art
New York City Building, Flushing Meadows-Corona Park
Friday, March 1
6pm – 9pm | $10 suggested donation with proceeds going to charity