As Chautauquans say goodbye to one another on Sunday night in the Amphitheater, they will be celebrating and reminiscing on the community they found this summer.
To honor this community, the Buffalo Philharmonic Chorus will come together themselves as the last guest performers on the Amp stage at 2:30 p.m. Sunday. The music for the concert will be a variety of pieces from the chorus’ repertoire. Adam Luebke, music director of the chorus, said Chautauqua Institution is an important place for the group.
“Being a part of this first season (in the new Amp) is a thrill for us,” Luebke said. “We are honored to be able to present a concert there, and the fact that it’s the closing concert is even more special.”
Much like Chautauqua, the Buffalo Philharmonic Chorus is a testament to the power of unity. About 110 singers, ranging in experience from college students to 40-year veterans, come together to share their voices with the world, Luebke said.
A challenging aspect of a chorus, Luebke said, is that the voice is “perhaps the most distinct and unique part of us.” The vocalists receive a lot in return, though.
“The chorus provides an outlet for them to get away from the rigors of every day and the stress of every day and to come together with people from all walks of life who share a similar passion,” Luebke said. “And that is to make beautiful music and to elevate one another in song.”
Vocalists are also able to be a part of something bigger than themselves, Luebke said, which he constantly reminds them of. He said he takes joy in facilitating the experience for the chorus members and feeding off the love they have for one another.
The chorus regularly shares this love at Chautauqua — their last performance was summer 2015 — but are usually accompanied by the Chautauqua Symphony Orchestra, or other performers. Luebke said the group is excited to be commanding the stage themselves for this special occasion.
With this freedom, the group will be performing a variety of pieces from their own repertoire. These include Johannes Brahms’ “Ein deutsches Requiem” and a set of opera choruses from Giuseppe Verdi.
They will also perform a handful of African-American spiritual songs and American folk songs, including the American folk hymn “Unclouded Day” arranged by Shawn Kirchner, and the African-American spiritual “Ride On, King Jesus” arranged by Moses Hogan.
Luebke said the chorus will be bringing some of their best work to Chautauqua because it is such an important place to them.
For some chorus members, the Chautauqua events are the highlight of their season because they love the atmosphere and the chance to add to the greater conversation that Chautauqua is having. Just like Chautauquans, they are able to add their voice to a greater purpose in the chorus, too.
“In every chorus — I tell my chorus this all the time — every voice is necessary and needed because their voice adds to our whole,” Luebke said. “Without them, it’s a different choir.”