Medieval & Renaissance Choral Music at BRAC

by Doreen E. DeBoth

The Buffalo Religious Arts Center (formerly St. Francis Xavier RC Church at East & Amherst Sts.) was the venue for the Western NY Chorale on Sunday afternoon.

Under the musical direction of Herbert Tinney, sixteen members of the group with heavenly voices sang pieces that were written in the eleventh through the sixteenth centuries. Some were sung in Hebrew, Greek, and Latin with soloists interspersed throughout the program.

Halfway through Tinney stopped to give the audience an in-depth explanation of the evolution of music that took place during these centuries and to explain stories that were within the musical piece.

This style of music has a very calming and spiritual element that inspires peace within the listener. The twelve figures in the mural above the chorale was the perfect backdrop for creating a setting for this. They are painted in the Beuronese style that was founded by Benedictine monks at the end of the nineteenth century.

Characteristic of this style was to create a tranquil place of worship. The band of motionless figures above was repeated in the choir below as they were very still, only moving their mouths while singing.

An audience of about thirty attended the performance which will be repeated on Tuesday, May 19 (8 pm) at Parkside Lutheran Church, located at 2 Wallace Avenue in Buffalo. The Chorale would like to come back to BRAC for another performance, only this time including music played on the historic 1932 Herman Schickler organ.

If you would just like to take in the murals and artifacts of the Center, you can take a tour on Saturday at noon, Sunday at 1 pm or large groups can book reservations for weekdays by visiting their website at buffaloreligious