Get carried away with divine symphonies: orchestra ensembles are bound to amaze
Seymour attended SUNY Fredonia, where he studied music and played in the brass quintet. He has been working in the Lancaster district 11 years now; five years ago, he started the high school brass choir, which features the top brass instrument players in the high school. At the chamber music concert, the brass quintet will be featured, as well as the woodwind choir, directed by Dan DeAngelis, and the men’s choir, directed by Gary Lee.
“The definition of a chamber group is a small ensemble with certain instrumentation," said Seymour. "Within those ensembles, different solos will be featured and there will be a horn quartet featured. The acoustics are so incredible in a church, so we decided to keep going back.”
Seymour approached Annunciation, and their priest was excited and welcoming. The chamber ensembles will be performing “Fanfare for the Common Man” by Aaron Copland, Bruckner's “Os justi,” as well as pieces by Strauss and Lauridsen.
Chamber music was originally performed in churches, in a royal court, or any small setting. Chamber music is simply music that has been written for a small group of instruments or voices. It’s ideal for intimate venues and halls, like Slee Music Hall in UB, and churches. So what makes churches so acoustically resonant and remarkable?
“The shape of ceilings and what they’re made of," Seymour said, "and the shape of the angles of the room will change it. Most auditoriums will have some cushioning. If you go to a performing arts center, you will see it has things that go all the way up and out to the audience, and that literally pushes the sound out to the audience. No matter where you’re sitting, the sound is going to reach you.”
Annunciation Church features a lot of stone and concrete inside, which makes for a very big, strong sound. The ensembles from William Street School performed last year at St. Philip the Apostle Church on Losson Road. In fact, the Lancaster School District as a whole performs in churches quite often. Lee also puts on a majestic Christmas concert at Our Lady of Pompeii Church every year.
“I went this year because I wanted to see these seniors go through it," Seymour said. "It was so beautiful, I got all teary and choked up because it was just so spiritual.”
Plus, the men’s choir performed at a church downtown this past weekend. This varied and fast-paced itinerary could be a reason why Lancaster was voted one of the top communities in America by the National Association of Music Merchants (NAMM).
“It's so quick for school districts to cut arts programs, because certain programs are not mandated by the state," Seymour said. "We’re always trying to help people understand the importance of music. Instrumental music helps children at all ages. They can come into the music room and play their instrument and express themselves through music."
The concert at Annunciation will be under an hour, for those with busy schedules to keep in mind. Instead of settling down on the couch with your familiar reality show drama, perhaps it's time for a dose of classical music in a strikingly-beautiful and sublime space? The concert is completely free as well - the groups will not even ask for donations.
"At least two of the pieces the woodwind choir is doing, people will know right off the bat,” Seymour said. “There will be a lot of recognizable classical favorites that will be played by these groups."
For more information, call Annunciation Church at 681-1327.