"Music gives a soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination, and life to everything," Plato once said. Holding true to that philosophy, the Church Musicians' Guild of Buffalo will present a Children's Choir Festival on Sunday, March 26, at 5 p.m. at SS. Peter & Paul Church in Williamsville.
The guild has presented children's concerts several times in the past to introduce Catholic school children to the importance of liturgical church music and the big choir experience.
"Kids who go to public schools, they're often in choirs with 100 kids or more. That's a typical experience for them. But, our kids don't get that kind of experience," explained Gail Shepherd, music director for SS. Peter & Paul Parish in Williamsville. "This is a bigger experience for the kids. They get to see kids from other schools and see the kind of work that they do. We think that's a great thing for kids to be able to do once in a while."
Each of the four schools involved - St. Gregory the Great and SS. Peter & Paul in Williamsville, Notre Dame Academy in Buffalo and Our Lady of Victory in Lackawanna - have healthy choirs of about 35 students each. Shepherd hopes to have 100 voices in the choir of students from second through eighth grade.
"The directors are all excellent musicians, well-trained, they understand choral music. I'm expecting this to be a pretty quality performance," she said.
The four music directors and conductor Heather Lovelace, music director at St. Katharine Drexel Parish in Buffalo and a member of the Church Musician's Guild board, chose a selection of works that span musical genres.
"We picked a very wide repertoire. There will be a piece in Latin, because of our Catholic heritage. There's a Christmas piece. There's traditional American repertoire. So, it's a pretty vast field that we thought we'd like the kids to experience," Shepherd said.
Selections will include the traditional African "Siyahamba" or "We Are Marching" used as a processional, followed by "Jesus You are Bread for Us" by Christopher Walker and "This Little Light of Mine," among others.
The CMG was founded in the 1940s and has been a vehicle for promoting education and support of church musicians ever since. This very committed to developing musicianship and love of liturgy in its youngest music makers.
The concert is open to the public. A free will offering will be accepted at admission.