The stage is set for a rare and dramatic performance by dozens of the most acclaimed choristers from both sides of the border. For the first time, singers from Canada, the U.S. and the Tuscarora Nation have joined hands to create the 1812 Bicentennial Tri-Nation Choir.
Sponsored in part by the Historical Association of Lewiston, this unique choir has scheduled their American debut performance, titled "Nations in Harmony," for Sunday, Oct. 6, at 4 p.m., at the Lewiston First Presbyterian Church, South Fifth Street. The concert is free and the community is invited.
The international group has been organized by Youngstown resident Claudia Andres, who is a music teacher in the Wilson School District.
"It's amazing how this has all come together over the past few months. Harris Loewen, Jeremy Printup, Lee Simonson and many others have been so supportive of this concert! I view the 1812 Bicentennial as a celebration of peace between nations despite previous, violent conflicts. What better way to represent our friendship than to have artists from all three nations combine their talents in a program that represents the time, the music and the emotions experienced during times of conflict," she said.
The 90-minute concert will feature 30 members of the Avanti Chamber Singers from St. Catharines, Ontario; 25 members from the Youngstown First Presbyterian Choir; and 15 Tuscarora Hymn Singers. The event will be held in the large sanctuary of the Lewiston First Presbyterian Church. This historic original portion of the church was completed in 1835.
Concertgoers will hear, for the first time, a newly composed work by Joseph Martin titled "The Hunters," which was commissioned by HAL.
Recognized throughout the U.S. for his many choral compositions, both sacred and secular, Martin's music is published by numerous publishing houses. More than 1,200 compositions are currently in print and the list continues to grow. His "Pieta" was recently honored with an award from the John Ness Beck Foundation. His music can be heard in such diverse locations as Carnegie Hall in New York City, the Lawrence Welk Theatre in Branson, Mo., and in hundreds of worship services in churches across the U.S. and Canada.
Other selections to be featured include "Peace" by composer Marty Wimmer, a WNED announcer from Buffalo, and "Peaceful Niagara" by noted director Harrison Loewen. The Tri-Nation group will sing songs arranged by Canadian composers Gail Poulsen and Penny Blake. Instrumentalists from U.S. and Canada will also be featured.
"The bicentennial has given us a tremendous opportunity to showcase our regional talent and emphasize the common ties that exist among the nations today," said Leandra Collesano, HAL president.
"Everyone is very excited about this concert," added Simonson, volunteer director of Lewiston's 1812 bicentennial. "Imagine the best choristers, the best directors, the best composers -- all coming together for this momentous occasion to commemorate 200 years of peace that were forged from the crucible of fire and war. Art and history: It doesn't get any better than this."
The concert is also sponsored by the KeyBank Foundation, Niagara Greenway, the First Presbyterian Church in Lewiston, the First Presbyterian Church in Youngstown and the St. Catharines Investment Program.