How do you get to Carnegie Hall? Be a member of the Harmonia Chamber Singers, as the local a cappella group has been chosen to perform at the world famous New York City venue on Friday, March 13. But if you don't have enough money for airfare, hotel and concert tickets, you can catch Harmonia perform locally on the first weekend of March.
Currently comprised of 21 singers and directed by Robert Pacillo, Harmonia has been performing at parishes throughout the diocese for several years now. The group offers a mix of classical and modern music to appeal to audiences of all tastes and ages.
Their work and reputation caught the attention of Matthew Oltman, a former music director of the Grammy award-winning male vocal group Chanticleer and current program director for Distinguished Concerts International New York. Oltman helped organize "A Cappella Next," a chamber choral concert performed last year at Carnegie's Weill Recital Hall. When it came time to plan the sequel for this year, Oltman contacted Pacillo.
"He came across us and really liked what we did (through videos) on YouTube and our website," Pacillo said. "He liked that we had diverse programming. He thought we would be a perfect addition (to the show). We're hoping that this Carnegie performance is going to open many doors for us."
While this is Harmonia's first performance at Carnegie, Pacillo sang there three times as a member of the University at Buffalo's choir group.
"It's different than anything," he said of the experience. "Just walking to the stage is amazing because there have been some world-class performances there."
While the Carnegie Hall concert will not be recorded or broadcast elsewhere, you can preview Harmonia's performance with their "Into Light" shows set for 8 p.m. Friday, March 6, at St. Louis Church, Buffalo, and 7 p.m. Sunday, March 8, at St. Peter Church in Lewiston.
"Into Light" is a concert by candlelight, as a medieval candelabra, lighting effects and choral music create a unique church experience for the audience. The concert will feature pieces by Peter Philips, Carlo Gesualdo, Anton Bruckner, Edvard Grieg, Edward Bairstow, Michael McGlynn, Leonardo Schiavo, Frank Ticheli and Jester Hairston, as well as the premiere of "Eulogy" by Rob Deemer, a composer and SUNY Fredonia instructor.
Local Harmonia concerts are a free will offering for the group. Tickets for the "A Cappella Next" performance at Carnegie can be purchased through Harmonia's website. You can purchase their "Into Light" album there as well.