Music Notes: 'Tis the Season

Preparing for several presentations of Nine Lessons and Carols

Buffalo, NY – With Christmas drawing closer, several area churches will present Festivals of Nine Lessons and Carols. Good morning. I'm Bill Raffel with Music Notes.

The most famous ceremony occurs every Christmas Eve at Kings College Chapel in Cambridge, England. But if that's a bit too far to travel, you have many choices here in Western New York. Tonight (Monday, 12/15) at 7:30?p.m., the Choir of Saint Joseph's Cathedral downtown presents the first such service under the direction of Mark DiGiampaolo. Tomorrow (Tuesday, 12/16) at 7?p.m., go to Saint Joseph's Church on Pine Street in Niagara Falls. The Church of the Ascension hosts one Wednesday (12/17) at 7:30?p.m. at the corner of Linwood and North.

More will take place on Sunday (12/21), at Blessed Sacrament Church on Delaware Avenue at 4?p.m. and at Fourteenth Holy Helpers in West Seneca starting at 5?p.m.

But perhaps the biggest such celebration takes place Sunday (12/21) at 4?p.m. in Saint Paul's Cathedral, at the corner of Pearl and Church downtown. As you might recall, Saint Paul's former organist and choirmaster Dale Adelmann left earlier this year. The church has named his successor, Andrew Cantrill, who will be coming from New Zealand. But in the interim, Gerald Wheeler has been the interim organist and choirmaster. He's been a church musician for 61 years now, ever since being pressed into service at a moment's notice during World War II.

See Gerald Wheeler lead the Saint Paul's Cathedral Choir of Men and Boys with contributions from the Girls' Choir, Sunday (12/21) at 4?p.m. in the Cathedral downtown. The church's new Assistant Organist and Choirmaster, Andrew Scanlan will accompany. This is a busy time of year for the Saint Paul's choirs. On Saturday (12/21) at 7?p.m., they'll bring Nine Lessons to Saint James' Church in Batavia. And the Cathedral Girls' Choir will present Benjamin Britten's Ceremony of Carols with Buffalo Philharmonic harpist Suzanne Thomas Friday (12/19) at 12:30?p.m. in the Cathedral.

Speaking of the BPO, Marvin Hamlisch leads the annual holiday pops on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday nights (12/19-21) nights at 8?p.m., with a 2:30 Sunday matinee. The concerts coincide with the release of a new holiday CD with Hamlisch on the podium.

The Cheektowaga Community Chorus presents From Madrigals to Merriment Thursday (12/18) at 7:30?p.m. in the Lancaster Opera House and Saturday (12/20) at 7:30?p.m. in University Presbyterian Church at the corner of Main and Englewood in Buffalo.

The Festival Chorus and Orchestra perform holiday favorites with "The Glory of Christmas" on Friday (12/19) at 7:30 and Saturday (12/20) at 12:30 and 4:30?p.m. That's in the Riviera Theatre at 67 Webster Street in North Tonawanda.

The Harmonic Brass Quintet gives a recital Thursday (12/18) at 7:30?p.m. in Saint Peters Episcopal Church on Rainbow Boulevard in Niagara Falls.