When the Orchard Park Chorale performs its Voices Across the Americas concerts Saturday and Sunday, it will be joined by an honors choir comprised of students from area high schools.
The students in the combined honors chorus are from Williamsville East, Buffalo Academy for Visual and Performing Arts and City Honors, and are involved in music programs at their schools. They were chosen by their school music instructors.
“Our students can feel part of the greater Western New York musical tradition of excellent choirs,” said George L. Davis II, music director at Performing Arts and a member of the chorale. “By working with other masterful teachers in the area, my students can learn from a broad spectrum of musical tastes, experiences, disciplines.”
“I believe that my role as a music educator is not only to educate students in music but to prepare them for lifelong musical experiences beyond graduation, whether it is singing in their church, local theater, community choir or as a professional singer,” said Maureen Riley, a featured soloist. “Hopefully after this event my students will want to continue singing and give back to their community.”
The Voices Across the Americas concert was developed to reflect North and South American traditions through a variety of songs.
“There is something for everyone,” said Riley. “There are familiar songs as well as lively new songs to the repertoire.”
The chorus will be singing “Frostiana,” which is a collection of Robert Frost’s poems set to music, as well as selections from “West Side Story,” which will feature solos from soprano Jessica Wheaton and tenor Ben Streeter.
Also on the program are a French Canadian folk song, “J’entends le Mouin” (“I Hear the Mill”), “Te Quiero” (“I Adore You”), “Salmo 150” (“Psalm 150”), “Everyone Suddenly Burst Out Singing,” “Lift Every Voice,” “The Battle Hymn of the Republic” and “Let There Be Peace on Earth.”
“Adding the student voices to these pieces brings a special energy to the selections,” said Kathleen Keenan-Takagi, music director of the Orchard Park Chorale, in a press release. “The student singers and the chorale began rehearsals separately and came together in April. It’s wonderful to see and hear how two groups work together to interpret this program.”
The concert will be performed at 2 p.m. Saturday at Bethel AME Church, 1525 Michigan Ave., and 7 p.m. Sunday at Orchard Park Presbyterian Church, 4369 S. Buffalo St., Orchard Park. Tickets are $5 to $25 and are available from OPC members or by visiting www.orchardparkchorale.org.
Rebecca Brandel is a freshman at Mount St. Mary Academy.