Long a highlight of the Buffalo Lenten and Christmas seasons, the Harmonia Chamber Singers is embarking on an ambitious new project with a new concert series and Kickstarter campaign.
"Into Light" is the title of Harmonia's new concert series that combines music and artistic light. To do this, Harmonia is working with Andy Chambers to design a medieval-style candelabra to become the centerpiece of the concert. Not only will the concert feature special lighting effects never before seen at a Harmonia performance, the group will sing music tied to the metaphors of light and darkness, life and death, and Lent and repentance.
"This is an idea that we've never tried before, which is pairing lightning effects with the music that we do," said Harmonia founder Rob Pacillo. "It drove the whole concept of this concert. It's a really neat atmosphere, but it's hard to describe. I wanted to do it a little differently."
Harmonia began in 2006 when Pacillo wanted to recruit some singers to perform regularly and professionally.
"It started off as a small group of friends," he said. "I wanted to start an a cappella group of about 12 singers who would eventually become professionals. It's grown (to 21 members) and it's been a great ride. We've done some innovative programming, (and) it's what we're known for. That was my mission from the beginning, to have a group that's versatile in all forms of music."
"Into Light" will feature a wide range of religious and secular music dating back a millennium. In order to pay for the design and creation of the candelabra, Harmonia turned to a new media method of raising money with a Kickstarter campaign. Kickstarter is a website initiative that allows people to seek out online donations for various projects, and donors receive special rewards and gifts depending on their level of
Harmonia is asking for a Kickstarter goal of $2,500, and achieved that benchmark by late February, but people can still donate to the campaign. Donor rewards include a set of Harmonia's three albums, preferred seating at concerts and even a private half-hour concert by the group. The Kickstarter campaign can be accessed at Harmonia's website and runs until March 4.
"We used the idea of Kickstarter because we've seen it successful with other people," Pacillo said. "We wanted to see if people were on board with the 'Into Light' idea. It's going very well."
"Into Light" will debut on Sunday, March 2, at St. Peter Church in Lewiston. The concert, which is Harmonia's first in Lewiston, will begin at 7 p.m. Harmonia will also perform the following weekend at St. Louis Church in Buffalo, March 7, 7:30 p.m., and SS. Peter and Paul Church in Williamsville, March 9, 7 p.m. The group requests a free will offering for all concerts.
Following the Lenten concerts, Harmonia will return to the studio to record 'Into Light' as its third album. Copies of the 'Into Light' album are among the Kickstarter donor rewards, and the group hopes to release the album in May.