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Buffalo Philharmonic Chorus offers a musical holiday homecoming

by jmaloni
Sat, Nov 24th 2012 07:00 am

The Buffalo Philharmonic Chorus has announced the return of the ever-popular, annual holiday concert "Messiah," presented by M&T Bank. The BPC returns to the OLV Basilica after spending a year away due to restoration, performing live on Sunday, Dec. 2, at 8 p.m. with the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra.

This concert is not only a homecoming for the BPC, but for the guest musicians as well.

Dr. Gerald Gray, associate professor of voice at the State University of New York at Fredonia, will lead the performance. As director of choral activities at Fredonia, he has established an annual holiday concert performing Bach's "Advent" and "Christmas" cantatas and Handel's "Messiah" with international players and soloists. Gray is also a finalist auditioning for the position of BPC music director.

Joining the performance are soloists Colleen Marcello (soprano), Victoria Vargas (mezzo-soprano), Joe Dan Harper (tenor) and Brian Zunner (bass). All soloists currently live in Western New York, except for Vargas, who is a graduate of SUNY Fredonia's music program. All have national, and some international, acclaim as performers and have spent time outside of this area perfecting and sharing their art.

A piece written in 1741, "Messiah" has become one of the most popular and beloved musical performances in Western music, not to mention its appeal at the holiday season. It celebrates the arrival of the Messiah, his death, and his subsequent resurrection by weaving together scripture from the King James Bible with melodies and chorales.

While this is not the first time Gray has conducted "Messiah," it will be his first performance of the piece with the BPC.

Tickets are $20 per person and can be purchased online at www.BPChorus.org, by phone at 716-833-6642 and at the BPO box office. Group discounts are also available for 15 or more.

The Buffalo Philharmonic Chorus is an accomplished symphonic choir representing a multi-generational membership of dedicated vocal musicians. As an independent, non-profit organization, the BPC produces an annual concert series and enjoys frequent collaborations with the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra.

The BPC is an independent, non-profit organization known widely as the principal guest chorus of the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra. An auditioned chorus, whose members include volunteer and professional singers, the BPC appears at various locations throughout Western New York and has performed in Germany and the Czech Republic. The symphonic-sized professional chorus represents a diverse membership who love to sing and are committed to enhancing the cultural life of Western New York. The Buffalo Philharmonic Chorus celebrates its 75th anniversary in 2012.

As Buffalo's cultural ambassador, the Grammy Award-winning BPO, under the leadership of music director JoAnn Falletta, presents more than 120 classics, pops and youth concerts each year and reaches more than 40,000 students per year (K-12) across all eight counties of Western New York. Since 1940, the orchestra's permanent home has been Kleinhans Music Hall, a National Historic Site with an international reputation as one of the finest concert halls in the U.S.

The BPO has been invited to perform at Carnegie Hall as a participant in the prestigious Spring for Music festival in 2013. This will be the orchestra's 24th appearance at Carnegie Hall and its first since Falletta led the orchestra in an appearance there in June 2004.

Pictured is "Messiah" by Enid Bloch (2010).

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