The Church Musicians’ Guild (CMG) is excited to invite the community to attend their Children’s Choir Festival on Sunday, March 26th. The performance will begin at 5:00 pm at the lovely SS. Peter and Paul Church located at 5480 Main Street in the village of Williamsville. There is no cost to attend, but there will be a free will offering.
The guild has hosted several children’s festivals in the past that provide the children with unique musical experiences. This year, CMG hopes to provide area Catholic school children with the unfamiliar experience of singing as a part of a large choir. “This is a bigger experience for the kids,” says Gail Shepherd, event chairperson and music director at SS. Peter and Paul. “They get to see kids from other schools and see the kind of work that they do.”
The Festival will include children in grades 2 through 8 from four Catholic schools, including St. Gregory the Great, SS. Peter and Paul in Williamsville, Notre Dame Academy in Buffalo, and Our Lady of Victory in Lackawanna. The four music directors from the schools worked together to craft a program that reflects the wide range of music used in their churches. Selections will include a Latin chant; an African processional, Siyahamba; a traditional spiritual; and newly composed piece, Dona Nobis Pacem, which includes quotes from St. Francis of Assisi, Gandhi, and Martin Luther King Jr.
The choir will be accompanied on piano by the talented Angela Sandy, music teacher from the Lockport City School District. The children will also get to sing with other instruments as the concert will feature performances by Peter Gonciarz, organist from Our Lady of Pompeii; Jamie Pitnel, flautist from SS. Peter and Paul; percussionist Terry O’Shei, and a saxophone quartet from St. Katharine Drexel.
The children’s choir will be directed by Heather Lovelace, music director at the Parish of St. Katharine Drexel.
Heather has been an active member of the guild for several years and serves on the board of directors. Heather also has nine years of experience teaching vocal music in Erie County, where she has been recognized as an exemplary teacher. She has presented at the Classroom Music Festival, conducted the 2016 Erie County Elementary All-County Blue Chorus and the 2017 Allegheny County All-County Senior High Chorus. Heather is the founder and director of the Genesee Children’s Chorus in Batavia and the director of the WNY Festival Chorus.
“This festival will be a wonderful experience for these children,” says Ms. Lovelace, “Music plays such an important role in our lives and especially in liturgy. The directors have worked very hard to ensure this will be a rewarding experience for everyone and we can’t wait to share it with the community.”
The Church Musicians’ Guild is a chapter of the National Association of Pastoral Musicians. The Church Musicians Guild of Buffalo is a local chapter of the National Association of Pastoral Musicians. Our membership includes organists, choir directors, singers, instrumentalists, clergy and many others involved in music ministries throughout the Buffalo Diocese. The Church Musicians' Guild was founded in 1945 by a group of visionary musicians and clergy who recognized a need for education among the church musicians of the time. Their work focused on chant and organ playing skills. They created the Catholic Choir Masters Guild and attracted church musicians eager to improve their choirs. The group later became an affiliate of NPM in 1983. For more information about the Church Musicians’ Guild, please visit cmgbuffalo.org or call (716) 531-8986.