UUCB’s Casual Concerts aim to share the universal ministry of music and the power of sound with the broader Buffalo community. As we do in our services, these concerts showcase a diverse range of musical styles and sound-based experiences so that there is something for everyone. We hope these monthly offerings help lift our community’s spirits as we climb out of the recent times of COVID isolation. Events generally occur every third Saturday of the month at 2pm, or at the specific days and times listed below. You can watch the shows in our sanctuary or stream them on our YouTube page. A free-will offering will be taken and proceeds are split between the musical presenters and the church.
Upcoming 2023-24 Concerts:
Saturday October 21st at 2pm – Zane Merritt, guitar
Zane has been playing and writing music for over 25 years, and his work covers a lot of stylistic ground–orchestral, chamber, jazz, metal, chiptune and more. Find out more about Zane.
photo credit: Abhipsa Chakraborty (instagram: @abhipsa_photography)
Saturday November 18th at 2pm – Alex McArthur Jazz Combo
We are delighted to have Alex return to our Casual Concert series. She is a versatile vocalist/performer residing in Buffalo, NY. Winner of the JazzBuffalo Poll Female Vocalist of 2021 & 2018, she can be found regularly performing with a variety of groups at various venues in the area.
Saturday December 16th at 2pm – SAVE THE DATE for the Jay/Sharptet!
Based in Buffalo, New York, and founded by Jacob Jay and Dalton Sharp, the Jay/Sharptet performs music with a focus on original compositions and arrangements. Inspired by the ensembles lead by the great Miles Davis, the group strives to make every performance a unique musical statement. Past performances include the Northwest Jazz Festival, the Queen City Jazz Festival, the Colored Musicians Club Jazz Festival, and Pausa Art House.
Saturday January 20th 2024 at 2pm – Tyler Westcott
Tyler Westcott is a poet, singer/songwriter, and multi-instrumentalist based out of Buffalo, NY. Westcott breathes new life into roots music spanning multiple genres and decades. Also creating new music inspired by the old. He specializes in original songwriting, folk, country blues, traditional jazz, bluegrass and old time, western swing, and more. Armed with his trusty guitar, banjo, and harmonica, he has a knack for describing the human condition with humor and joy, Often in timely and topical songs reflecting the current state of the world. Westcott will guide you through a myriad of genres and decades of eclectic roots music while seamlessly weaving in his own original cuts.
Saturday February 17th 2024 at 2pm – Lecture Recital on Sotto Voce’s The Magic Flute
More information to come.
Saturday March 16th 2024 at 2pm – Matt Venuti
Matt Venuti is a multi-instrumentalist/singer-songwriter and modern day touring troubadour known for his captivating acoustic and electronic instruments and songs “from the heart of the road”. He’s also an award-winning recording/music video artist and soundtrack composer/video editor.
Saturday April 20th 2024 at 2pm – Duo Purla.
We are thrilled to welcome back Duo Purla! They are a Buffalo-based violin and guitar duo performing classical and contemporary chamber music. They pride themselves on presenting widely varied and engaging repertoire for any audience. In addition to classical works by Beethoven, Haydn, Paganini, Piazzolla and others, their sets include newly commissioned pieces and original compositions. They were a featured ensemble at the 21st Century Guitar Conference held in Muncie, IN and were the resident ensemble for the 2021 Festival virtual conference.
Saturday May 18th 2024 at 2pm – Stephen Guerra, Solo Brazilian Guitar
Like Spanish flamenco, Brazilian guitar is a distinct technical and aesthetic approach to the instrument we recognize as the classical guitar, an approach strongly associated with Brazil’s first two and longest-living musical genres: choro and samba. In this program, Stephen will perform a selection of his favorite compositions for solo Brazilian guitar from the late 1800s (João Pernambuco) to the 1960s (Baden Powell) to today with a few of his compositions.
Italian American guitarist-composer Stephen Guerra performs and teaches Brazilian choro around the world, often touring with legend Rogério Souza. Stephen’s published multiple albums and scores with Mel Bay, Guitar Chamber Music Press, and independently on Bandcamp and streaming platforms, including his album of originals recorded in Brazil, No Balanço do Choro-Samba (Oct 2023). Stephen teaches music theory and the choro ensemble at the University at Buffalo.
Saturday June 24th at 2pm – Andrew Chukwuka Egbuchiem, countertenor
We are delighted to have countertenor Andrew Chukwuka Egbuchiem performing for our Casual Concert series this coming June! Andrew is a native of Illah in Delta State Nigeria, and studied Voice at the Adeniran Ogunsanya college of Education, Ijanikin. An award-winning performer, Andrew made his Carnegie Hall debut in 2018.
Learn more about this versatile and enchanting singer at https://andrewegbuchiem.com/bio.html
*The Royall Consort, originally appearing in June, needed to reschedule.
PAST CONCERTS 2023
Saturday September 16th at 2pm – Cheek to Cheek – an INCIPIO Vocal Jazz Debut
Join INCIPIO as we debut our brand new breakout vocal jazz group for an afternoon of pop covers, old standards, and 80s hits. Featuring music by Billy Joel, Michael Jackson, Kirby Shaw, the Real Group, k-os, and more! INCIPIO is directed by Julia Anne Cordani and Elizabeth Vennari. The group’s mission is to give young and burgeoning singers an opportunity to perform groundbreaking, evocative music in a group that prepares them for the professional vocal world. INCIPIO aims to perform a diverse repertoire – everything from video game music, folk songs, Broadway and pop ballads, and some classic madrigals. Our singers, who come from a diverse array of backgrounds united by their musicianship, include several young music educators, choir singers, and professional performers from around Western New York.Cheek to Cheek Singers:
Julia Anne Cordani, Philomena Vennari, Elizabeth Vennari, Tyler Huk, Brandon Mecklenberg, Ryan Clemons.
Saturday August 19 at 2pm – Saranaide
Saranaide will be joined by multi-instrumentalist and percussionist Ravi Padmanabha for a meditative journey that awakens your spirit. Bringing you rhythms from Latin America to India, this duo will create soundscapes that take you through the earth elements. Listeners are encouraged to do what feels best: sit and receive the vibrations, write, meditate, move your body- connect with your mind, body and breath in the present moment and see what unfolds.
Saranaide is an accomplished vocalist, songwriter and musician based in Buffalo, NY. With parents from Panama and Puerto Rico, Saranaide has dipped into her DNA to embrace and celebrate the pulses and sounds of Latin America and has exploded on the Buffalo Jazz Scene with a new vigor. Inspired by the legends of soul and jazz riding on the rhythms of the world, Saranaide’s unique sound is sweet honey dripping over a spicy stew.
Ravi Padmanabha is a percussionist, multi-instrumentalist, improviser, and composer. His initial interest was in a drum set, which later led to a variety of world instruments. From an early age, Ravi was exposed to Indian Classical music. At age 18, he began his formal Tabla studies with Pandit Ananda Gopal, and later with Pandit Samar Saha of Calcutta. Ravi spent many years performing in a wide variety of musical styles, including jazz, world, and experimental music.
Saturday July 15th at 2pm – Little Cake
Little cake (Ana Vafai) creates songs, teaches music, and builds community in Buffalo, NY. Ana earned a Bachelors in Music Education at Eastman, and a Masters in Piano Performance at the University at Buffalo. She currently teaches full time at Performing Arts (BPS#192) as Director of Orchestras. Little cake is praised for her unique, engaging stage presence, and her musical arrangements, performed by an ensemble of strings and vocalists. Her compositions have been known to overwhelm audiences with joy, emotion and whimsy, earning the award for “Best Local Music Act” by the Buffalo Spree in 2017. As Little cake, Ana has recorded two studio albums, self-produced over 60 songs, and performed for 10 years in her hometown. Find solo and group recordings at littlecake.bandcamp.com and join us for Ana’s solo performance at UUCB!
Saturday June 17th at 2pm – The Bitter Nasties
We are excited to have the Bitter Nasties return to the Casual Concert Series! The Bitter Nasties are an eclectic folk rock amalgamation. They write original, thought provoking and quirky music with a fresh take on the classics. Website: bitternasties.com.
Saturday May 20th at 2pm – Pianist Chris Sierzchula and the Magic Mazurka
This afternoon’s concert will be a brief history of the Mazurka. This dance form Inspired some of Chopin’s most intimate musical ideas. Chris will be contrasting selections from early to late Chopin interspersed with 3 composers also inspired to write their own: Alexander Scriabin, Claude Debussy and Karol Szymanowsk.
Saturday April 15 at 2pm – Duo Purla.
Duo Purla is a Buffalo-based violin and guitar duo performing classical and contemporary chamber music. We pride ourselves on presenting widely varied and engaging repertoire for any audience. In addition to classical works by Beethoven, Haydn, Paganini, Piazzolla and others, our sets include newly commissioned pieces and original compositions. We have recently been a featured ensemble at the 21st Century Guitar Conference held in Muncie, IN and were the resident ensemble for the 2021 Festival virtual conference.
Saturday March 18th at 2pm – Bruce Pfeffer and Martha Malkiewicz, Piano Four Hands Recital.
Martha Malkiewicz and Bruce Pfeffer began their four-hand piano collaboration in 2017, inspired by a mutual interest in hosting musical “house parties” in the spirit of the 19 th -century Schubertiades. They have followed up on an annual basis with cultural soirees that also showcased the work of visual artists and photographers to augment the musical programs. Their repertoire includes masterworks by “The Immortals,” as well as rarities by lesser-known composers that deserve a hearing. For their March 2023 Casual Concert at the UUC Buffalo, Martha and Bruce offer “Keyboard Duets from Four Centuries,” featuring compositions by Mozart, Schubert, and Debussy, as well as what may be the earliest example of an original work for two players at one keyboard.
Saturday February 18th at 2pm – The Royall Consort
The Royall Consort was founded by Roland Hayes, David Abbott and Nancy Nuzzo 20 years ago to enjoy the music of the Renaissance and Baroque eras, and share that enjoyment with the community through their performances at local venues in the Buffalo area.
This concert will feature the rich texture and luscious harmonies of the French baroque chamber music of Marin Marais (1656 – 1728) and Jaques Bodin de Boismortier (1689 – 1755) and two suites by Englishman William Williams (1675 – 1701).
Saturday January 21st at 2pm – Sound Healing with Meagan Marcus.
Meagan Marcus is a Reiki Master and Sound Healer that will guide you through a journey of self love and inner healing with her reiki infused, sacred instruments. These include an ocean drum, crystal triangle, and crystal sound bowls.
Sound Healing has been used for centuries to help realign the bodies vibrations, clear energetic blockages, and improve emotional, mental and physical well being. It can help reduce anxiety, improve sleepy quality, reduce pain and inflammation within the body, and provide a meditative experience, among so many other wonderful benefits.
This one hour offering will leave you feeling relaxed and grounded and more in tune with your highest self.
Please bring a yoga mat, blankets, pillows or whatever else will help you be the most comfortable as you will be lying down for the entirety of the offering.
December 17th @ 2PM – Nusantara Arts Javanese Gamelan
Gamelan music from the island of Java in Indonesia is one of the oldest continuously played musical art forms in the world. It grew out of the bronze age and has remained popular as both a community and royal tradition on the island of Java for the last 1800 years. Gamelan music is a community art that can work only with cooperation, listening, empathy, and learning. It teaches patience, listening skills, and music philosophy, challenging players to change their perspectives on what music can be. In gamelan we create beautiful music together, with each player adding pieces to the whole.
October 15th @ 2PM – Buffalo String Works
Buffalo String Works opened its doors in September 2014. We offered violin lessons to 17 students and had a volunteer staff of 4 teachers and 3 teaching assistants. In 7 short years, we’ve grown significantly; we now offer free lessons in violin, viola, cello, and bass to 93 students and have a dedicated staff of 14 teachers and 25+ teaching assistants. In the fall of 2021 we moved into our own space on the West Side of Buffalo where we hope to continue to serve a growing and diverse population of youth throughout Buffalo!
Suggested Donation: $10.00
September 17th @ 2PM – Alex Huddleston: Guitar and Electronics
Alex Huddleston is a composer of chamber and electronic music, and a visual artist producing digital and algorithmic art. His music seeks to occupy a liminal space in which serendipitous relationships emerge and collapse in a play of familiarity and otherness. Centered on themes of alienation, sorrow, anxiety, schizophrenia, and fear, his work embodies a singular affect – there is too much and too little, it is too fast and too slow, it is elegant and awkward, it makes too much sense and makes no sense. Contradictions accumulate; all have the form of two yeses pointing outwards, rather than two nos pointing in.
August 20th @ 2PM – Alex McArthur Jazz Combo
July 16th @ 2PM – Derick Evans & Nick Randall
Singer-songwriters and multi-instrumentalists Derick Evans and Nick Randall will perform an original 1 hour and 18-minute song-cycle for 2 voices, electric guitar, and electric bass. This new work – entitled “Darryl Donahue: One Day.” – paints a musical portrait of a fictionalized white-collared stranger, with each song dedicated to an hour of that day.
June 19th @ 11:30AM – The Bitter Nasties
The Bitter Nasties are an eclectic folk rock amalgamation. They write original, thought provoking and quirky music with a fresh take on classics. Website: bitternasties.com
May 21st @ 2PM – The Buffalo Silver Band
Spend an afternoon with the Buffalo Silver Band at the beautiful Unitarian Universalist Church of Buffalo (695 Elmwood Ave, Buffalo NY 14222). The program will have something for everyone, from music written specifically for British Brass Band music (Montclair Citadel by Stephen Bulla) to virtuosic soloists (Hunting Wabbits featuring Diana Bley) to jazz (Opus One).
Find them on Facebook!
View the Performance!
April 23rd @ 2PM – The Stringatarians
“Homegrown Grass,” a program of tunes and songs from the Bluegrass, Celtic, and Old Time traditions by the Stringitarians: Leslie Nickerson, Fiddle and Dulcimer; Athena McCrory, Banjo; Fran Manly, Guitar; Paul Zanolli, Bass.
View the Performance!