Fredonia students to be featured on April 7 broadcast of ‘Chichester Psalms’

Marketing and Communications staff
the Fredonia Chamber Choir

Members of the Fredonia Chamber Choir.

WNED Classical 94.5, the public radio station in Buffalo, will broadcast a recent performance of Leonard Bernstein's “Chichester Psalms,” conducted by Maestro JoAnn Falletta and featuring students from the Fredonia School of Music, on Tuesday, April 7 at 7 p.m.

Fans of the Fredonia School of Music and the Buffalo Philharmonic are urged to tune in to the concert.

The performance features members of the Fredonia School of Music Choirs along with the Buffalo Philharmonic Chorus and the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra. The recording is of performances in February.

Fredonia School of Music faculty involved are: Adam Luebke, assistant professor of Voice and Choral Conducting and music director of the Buffalo Philharmonic Chorus who prepared the Buffalo Philharmonic Chorus; Vernon Huff, associate professor of Music Education who prepared the Fredonia Chamber Choir; Bernd Gottinger, associate professor of Sound Recording, who was the audio engineer; and Jonathan Lombardo, adjunct instructor of trombone, and Alex Jakopii, adjunct instructor of trumpet, who are principal trumpet and trombone, respectively, in the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra.

Reflecting on preparation of the Fredonia students for the performances and their overall experience, Dr. Huff noted, “As someone who had a strong undergraduate and graduate choral education, I had the experience of working under the direction of world-class conductors at a young age, and I knew that our singers were in for a transformative week of music making. Once the singers stepped onto the [Kleinhans Music Hall] stage for the first time and began to work with Maestro Falletta, I could see the looks on their faces and knew the change that this level of music-making would have on them. The concerts were sublime, not only because of Bernstein's beautiful music, but because of the level of artistry of the singers, players and conductor.

“It was a once-in-a lifetime event for our students and I am so grateful that they had the opportunity," Dr. Huff noted.

“It was a once-in-a lifetime event for our students and I am so grateful that they had the opportunity," Dr. Huff noted.

Dr. Huff added, “Our participation in the event was totally thanks to [SUNY Distinguished Teaching Professor] Julie Newell's idea. Julie has a great relationship with JoAnne [Falletta], and when Julie heard that she was looking for another choir to sing the ‘Chichester Psalms’ with the BPO/BPC, she immediately suggested that Fredonia might participate. So, with [School of Music Director] Dr. [Melvin] Unger's encouragement and approval, we actually expanded the curriculum in the choral area to include a fall ‘masterworks’ course for the 36 participating students. Every Friday, from 1 until 3 p.m., we met to prep the piece for the February concerts.

“The Friday before concert week, [Dr.] Adam Luebke, our new Assistant Professor of Voice and Choral Conducting -- and Chorus Master of the BPC -- took over the rehearsal. He then assumed responsibility for the mass choir (Fredonia Masterworks and the BPC) before and after rehearsals with Maestro Falletta.”

Asked to describe the masterpiece, Dr. Luebke, noted, “I think the Chichester Psalms is perhaps Bernstein's best work. It is a succinct encapsulation of many of his compositional and expressive ideas. It has rhythmic, dance-like sections of praise; calm, expansive melodies; and closes with a clear a cappella choral hymn. This final section sets the words of Psalm 133, ‘how sweet and pleasant it is for humankind to dwell together in unity.’" It's always a treat to sing this work with the orchestra because the orchestration is just brilliant: with shimmering strings; and bright and clamoring percussion.”

The concert can also be heard online at https://www.wned.org/radio/wned-classical-945/ and on 89.7 WNJA in Jamestown.

Fredonia students who participated in the performance include: Amie Adams, Andrea Harris, Julia Lavelle, Adina Martin, Hannah Varghese, Mickie Wadsworth, Rachel Wagman, Cassandra Marcotte, Katie Steele, Rory Buscaglia, Lily Eager, Vaughn Lachenauer, Grace Mingeoa, Natalie Salphine, Keara Zerillo, Katie Cymerman, Loretta Scherrer, Nicole Kelly, Rachel Proffit, Zach Bills, Nick Farrauto, Tyler Huk, Bobby Kleinertz, Avery Saccente, Sam Wersinger, Danny Barna, Ross Wiley, Josh Kane, John Coates, Ed Hennessey, Nectarios Papadopoulos, Joey Paris, Naji Powe, Jason Rober, Zach Willmart ,Corey Dale-Miller ,Kenneth Krempl, Michael Redmond and Shane Keyes. Several School of Music alumni are members of the Buffalo Philharmonic Chorus.

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