Music at Westminster

We have been blessed with a truly magnificent sanctuary. It is only right that equally exquisite music goes in it.

Westminster believes “they that sing pray twice.” With this in mind, we are dedicated to bringing enriching music to our church and the wider community. Since 1854, music has played an integral role in the worship life of Westminster, and Westminster has played a significant role in music and the arts in Buffalo. Today, we have two Aeolian-Skinner pipe organs, five Steinway grand pianos, six-octave handbell and hand chime sets, and choirs comprised of professionals and lay musicians from all walks of life. Come celebrate with us and bring your friends to share in the gift of music.

Choirs

Westminster is well known for its broad tradition of choral music ministry. Its choirs offer a wide range of music, including plainchant, European continental masterworks, African-American spirituals, music of the Protestant and other American worship traditions, and premieres by living composers. 40 volunteer singers, 14 staff singers, youth choristers, and two organists provide choral music and vocal leadership for approximately 85 regularly scheduled worship services each year.

Our gifted and dedicated adult choirs help create meaningful worship, and our talented choristers lead special services and concert performances that bring a sense of fun and adventure. Choir members use their gifts to elevate the worship experience while building friendships that last a lifetime. If singing is your gift, joy, and passion, consider joining one of our choral groups!

THE WESTMINSTER CHOIR

The Westminster Choir is an auditioned group of adult volunteers and professional singers. The choir sings for the 10:30 AM service each Sunday and for special services as assigned throughout the liturgical year. In addition, the Westminster Choir presents sacred masterworks annually, most often with orchestra. The Westminster Choir has toured to the United Kingdom and Europe, most recently in July 2018, when it served as choir-in-residence at Truro Cathedral in England. In July 2020, the choir will travel to Pittsburgh to sing services for Shadyside Presbyterian Church and St. Paul Cathedral, and will again be traveling to the UK in 2022 for a residency.

The Westminster Choir rehearses Thursdays from 7:30 to 9:30 PM. Auditions are required. Contact Garrett Martin at gmartin@wpcbuffalo.org​ if you are interested in scheduling an audition.

 

WESTMINSTER SCHOLA

The Westminster Schola is a highly skilled chamber choir of auditioned singers selected from the ranks of the Westminster Choir. They are called on as needed to provide choral leadership in special worship services throughout the year and when the Westminster Choir is on respite. Contact Garrett Martin at gmartin@wpcbuffalo.org​ to learn more.

 

Westminster Choir School

Children ages 4 to 18 may join one of three ensembles in the Westminster Choir School, based on their age and experience. Choristers pursue a professional-level course of musical training (Royal School of Church Music America) and play an important role in leading worship at Westminster. In addition to musical and faith training, choristers learn confidence, time management, and leadership. As with other extracurricular activities, participation in rehearsals and services must be a priority to the choristers and their families to ensure that they are able to get the most out of the program. Choristers are also eligible to participate in local, national, and international tours with Westminster’s adult choirs. For more information, please contact Garrett Martin at gmartin@wpcbuffalo.org.

 

Westminster Handbell Choir

The Westminster Handbell Choir plays at special services throughout the year, including Easter, Christmas Eve Lessons and Carols, and other special events. Due to busy schedules, handbell choir members work in seasons: those individuals who are available for the service dates and rehearsals play, and those who can’t serve as substitute players. Contact W. Steve Mayo at wsmayo3@msn.com​ to learn more.

INSTRUMENTS

INSTRUMENTS

Westminster is fortunate to house two Aeolian-Skinner organs and five Steinway grand pianos. Each instrument is featured regularly in worship, concerts, and education.

The Sanctuary organ is the work of the Aeolian-Skinner Organ Co. of Boston, Massachusetts. The company’s legendary designer, G. Donald Harrison, prepared the specification and signed the contract for the organ but died before the organ was completed in 1958. The instrument contains 84 ranks, five divisions in the gallery, and an echo division in the chancel. A four-manual console controls the nearly 5,200 pipes.

The Holmes Chapel instrument is regarded by some Aeolian-Skinner aficionados as one of the finest small organs ever built under the direction of G. Donald Harrison. The organ is a 25 rank, two-manual instrument with a floating positive division on the rear wall of the room.

The Westminster Choir

The Westminster Choir is an auditioned group of adult volunteers and professional singers. The choir sings for the 10:30 a.m. service each Sunday and for special services as assigned throughout the liturgical year. In addition, the Westminster Choir presents major sacred masterworks annually, most often with orchestra. The Westminster Choir has toured to the United Kingdom and Europe, most recently in July 2018, when it served as choir-in-residence at Truro Cathedral in England. In July 2020, the choir will go to Pittsburgh to sing services for Shadyside Presbyterian and will again be traveling to the UK in 2022 for a residency.

The Westminster Choir rehearses Thursdays from 7:30 to 9:30 p.m. Auditions are required. Contact Garrett Martin at gmartin@wpcbuffalo.org if you are interested in scheduling an audition.

Westminster Schola

The Westminster Schola is a highly skilled chamber choir of auditioned singers selected from the ranks of the Westminster Choir. They are called on as needed to provide choral leadership in special worship services throughout the year and when the Westminster Choir is on respite. Contact Garrett Martin at gmartin@wpcbuffalo.org to learn more.

Westminster Choir School

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Westminster Handbell Choir

The Westminster Handbells play on Easter at a special handbell concert called “Lessons and Carols” and during other special events throughout the year. Due to busy schedules, handbell choir members work in seasons: Those individuals who are available for the presentation dates and rehearsals play, and those who can’t serve as substitute players. Contact Garrett Martin at gmartin@wpcbuffalo.org to learn more.

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Instruments

Westminster is fortunate to house two Aeolian-Skinner organs and five Steinway grand pianos. Each instrument is featured regularly in worship, concerts, and education.

The Sanctuary organ is the work of the Aeolian-Skinner Organ Co. of Boston, Massachusetts. The company’s legendary designer G. Donald Harrison prepared the specification and signed the contract for the organ but died before the organ was completed in 1958. The instrument contains 84 ranks, five divisions in the gallery, and an echo division in the chancel. A four-manual console controls the nearly 5,200 pipes.

The Holmes Chapel instrument is regarded by some Aeolian-Skinner aficionados as one of the finest small organs ever built under the direction of G. Donald Harrison. The organ is a 25 rank, two-manual instrument with a floating positive division on the rear wall of the room.

[Client Note: Please provide the PDFs you would like associated with “The Sanctuary organ” and “The Holmes Chapel” above as well as any videos (titles and files) you would like embedded. They should be added to the photo and assets folders we provided.]

Westminster Presents

Westminster Presents brings world-class artists to Buffalo for services, concerts, and recitals. Unless otherwise noted, all concerts are free and take place in the Westminster Sanctuary. Donations of support are gratefully accepted to benefit the Westminster Friends of Music.

December 6, 7:30 PM

Christmas Concert

Friends of Harmony
Meredith Zimmer, Conductor
Marshall Kelkenburg, Conductor

Complimentary holiday refreshments provided at intermission!

Your $10 ticket will go towards FeedMore WNY (formerly the Food Bank of Western NY) to help feed the hungry, and to provide transportation for the Friends of Harmony as they sing Christmas carols throughout the Buffalo Medical Corridor including Oishei Childrens Hospital, Buffalo General, Roswell Park Cancer Institute, Buffalo Veterans' Hospital and Sisters of Charity.

December 20, 7:30 PM

Christmas at Westminster

The Choirs of Westminster 
Members of the Western New York Chamber Orchestra
Buffalo Brass Ensemble
QED Vocal Ensemble
The Westminster Handbell Choir
Rosanna Moore, Harp
Garrett F. Martin, Conductor
Walter S. Mayo, Handbell Choir Conductor

Westminster presents Buffalo’s favorite new holiday tradition with something for everyone! Nearly 100 musicians will help ring in the Christmas season with classical masterworks, handbell favorites, and treasures Christmas carol singalongs. Bring your family and friends!

PROGRAM WILL INCLUDE:
SAINT-SAENS: ORATORIO DE NOEL
WILLCOCKS: CAROLS FROM KING’S COLLEGE
​ ​ ​ 
…AND OTHER WORKS
January 24, 7:30 PM

Bach’s Cello Suites

David Rose, Viola

David Rose has performed internationally as a member of the San Francisco Symphony, Vancouver Symphony, Kitchener-Waterloo Symphony, and G27 Chamber Orchestra in Toronto. As a baroque performer, he was a member of the Pacific Baroque orchestra, and has toured and recorded with Toronto's Tafelmusik. He currently serves as head of the string area at SUNY Fredonia, and teaches at the Rocky Ridge Young Artists Seminar in the Colorado Rockies, as well as the Fredonia Summer String Festival.

february 9, 4:00 PM

Greater Buffalo Youth String Orchestra

Lynne Ruda, Conductor

Since 1983, the Greater Buffalo Youth String Orchestra has afforded young string players from Western New York an opportunity to study repertoire and technique under the guidance of gifted teachers and conductors. The orchestra has performed concerts at dozens of venues around Buffalo, Rochester, and surrounding areas.

February 23, 7:30 PM

A Musical Feast

Salvatore Andolina, Clarinet
Claudia Hoca, PIano
Tiffany DuMouchelle, Soprano
Brahms: Sonata in E-flat
Schubert: Shepard on the ROck
Bernstein: Sonata for Clarinet
Yadzinski: a Paganini pour Clarinette
Eubie Blake: MEmories of You
eddie Sauter: Clarinet a la King
March 27, 7:30 PM

Mozart’s Solemn Vespers

The western new york chamber orchestra Artist-in-residence
Sonja Ingfeld, Harp
Barry Crawford, Flute
The Choirs of Westminster Buffalo
Glen Cortese, Conductor

For their annual masterworks presentation, the Westminster Choirs are joined by artist in residence, the Western New York Chamber Orchestra. Mozart’s Vespers were composed specifically for liturgical use at Salzburg Cathedral on the feast day of a certain saint. That saint has been lost to time, but the popularity of Mozart’s work has remained.

Debussy: Children’s Corner
Mozart: Concerto for Flute and Harp, K. 299

Mozart: Vesperae Solennes, K. 339
April 25, 7:30 PM

A musical feast

David rose, viola
dmitri novgorodsky, piano
Program TBA
may 8, 7:30 PM

5th annual friends of music gala

Join the Westminster Friends of Music for the 5th annual gala at the Saturn Club, featuring delicious food, dancing, and music provided by the Joey Donahue Trio. Purchase your tickets early as last year’s event sold out!

Tickets will be available at wpcbuffalo.org​ in Spring 2020; $75 or $125.

may 10, 4:00 PM

The Westminster Handbells in Concert

Dr. Walter S. Mayo, Director
Guest artists to be announced

Bells resound at our handbell choir’s annual concert. Each year, the group presents their favorite sacred and secular favorites and collaborate with other local artists, including the Buffalo Gay Men’s Chorus, the Hamburg High School Steel Drum Band, and ballet artists.

MAY 15, 7:30 PM

WESTMINSTER CHOIR CONCERT

TBD

MAY 30, 7:30 PM

BUFFALO GAY MEN’S CHORUS

GARRETT F. MARTIN, ARTISTIC DIRECTOR

ABIGAIL ROCKWOOD, ASSOCIATE ARTISTIC DIRECTOR

Join the Buffalo Gay Men’s Chorus in their final performance of their 2019-2020 season, titled BGMC:Evolution, as they prepare to perform at the GALA (Gay and Lesbian Association of Choruses) Festival in Minneapolis-St. Paul this summer. You Are Proud marks the beginning of Pride Week in Buffalo and celebrates diversity in the LGBTQIA+ community and in Western New York. Westminster is proud to be a More Light Presbyterian Church, welcoming all to membership and full participation in our diverse ministries.

WEDNESDAYS @ WESTMINSTER

Midday Music & Musings • Noon in the Sanctuary

Each Wednesday at noon, local artists deliver a 30-minute “Midday Music & Musings” performances in our historic sanctuary. After the performance, the audience is invited to enjoy a light lunch and discussion with the artists. This series is free and open to the public.

December 18 at noon

Christmas Carols and Classics


The American Caroling Company

No holiday celebration is complete without everyone’s favorite caroling quartet. The American Caroling Company performs traditional and contemporary Christmas classics in classic Dickens attire. This truly unique ensemble has performed for Macy's, Nicole Kidman & Keith Urban, NBC's Rockefeller Tree Lighting, and many, many others.

JANUARY 15 AT NOON

The Holocaust Remembered in Music and Poetry

Artists will be announced at a later date

Music and poetry by artists who perished in the Holocaust frame our annual remembrance. Local clergy will offer their reactions and prayers.

February 19 at noon

THE ART OF THE SPIRITUAL

Lorenzo Parnell, Tenor

Tenor, Lorenzo Parnell, has appeared in opera and musical theater productions throughout Buffalo and Western New York. He will share his favorite spirituals, including modern interpretations and arrangements.

MARCH 18 AT NOON

Celtic Music and Art

Rev. Beth Hennessy, Speaker
Rev. Bill HEnnessy, Irish Penny Whistle

In celebration of St. Patrick’s Day, local musicians, artists, and clergy will share music, artwork and prayers from the Celtic tradition.

APRIL 15 AT NOON

Le Sacre du Printemps

Matt Marco, piano
Garrett F. Martin, piano
Stravinsky: The Rite of Spring

Considered by many to be the most important piece of music written in the 20th century, The Rite of Spring sparked riots and backlash at its 1913 premiere. 106 years later, audiences appreciate the dramatic moods, visceral rhythms, and colorful tonality. The composer’s own arrangement for two pianos was originally premiered by the Stravinsky himself and Claude Debussy at French salons.

All of our free public music events are funded through the Westminster Friends of Music and the yearly operating budget of the church.

We invite you to join us in supporting the arts by donating to the Westminster Friends of Music. Through your generosity, we are able to bring nationally and internationally renowned artists to our church and city. It is an important way to keep the arts thriving and to help bring new music lovers and guests to this divine space.

724 Delaware Avenue
Buffalo, New York 14209

7168849437

724 Delaware Avenue
Buffalo, New York 14209

716.884.9437

Photos by David Ray, Erin Feuerstein, Jessica Ahrens, Julie Kracke, Lisa Grisanti and Mike Shriver

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Photos by David Ray, Erin Feuerstein,Jessica Ahrens,Julie Kracke, Lisa Grisanti and Mike Shriver