Service Music

We are a community who believe in the spiritual power of music. There are many ways to hear or get involved in music-making at UUCB. Our weekly services are filled with music made by our volunteer choir members, staff musicians, guest artists, and instrumental volunteers. More information about our choir, musical guests, and upcoming service music can be found below.

Though not actually a part of our weekly services, every third Saturday at 2pm we also present monthly Casual Concerts at the church that feature an incredible variety of local musicians and sound artists. We also offer bi-annual Music Weekends that feature full-length performances of musical masterworks, and we hold an annual Cabaret Fundraiser filled with showtunes, food, and funClick on the links to find out more about these fabulous musical offerings!

Are you looking for an opportunity to sing in a welcoming community? The Unitarian Universalist Choir of Buffalo is a diverse group made up of primarily volunteer singers, ranging from beginners to semi-professionals, from folks in their 20s to their 80s, that does not discriminate on bases of race, gender, or sexual identity. Our musical repertoire is diverse – with recent and upcoming performances including traditional, folk, rock, contemporary, and classical music dealing with topics both sacred and secular. Rehearsals are every Thursday night 7:30-9:45pm from early September through mid-June. We perform once or twice a month in services, as well as at select events around town. Feel free to show up at a rehearsal or to reach out to Music Director Dr. Jessie Downs ( if you are interested in joining us!

Choir Members Photobook (password protected)

Musical Guests
In addition to performances by our choir and staff musicians, we also regularly feature guest musicians in our services, both volunteers from our own congregation and featured artists from the greater Buffalo area. These guests represent a broad range of musical styles. If you are interested in being a guest, you can reach out to Music Director Dr. Jessie Downs ( with a proposal.

September Service Music

The month of September kicks off with an exciting service on 9/3/23 that will help us to get to know our new interim minister, Rev. Cathy Harington! Since we will be getting to hear her story, the service will begin with “If You Knew My Story,” performed by the HoUUse Band and featuring our new tenor soloist Shaun Doyle. At the Offertory, Jessie and Taryn will sing the Indigo Girls classic about searching for faith and meaning, “Closer to Fine” – recently featured in the Barbie movie. As the Reflection, Bass Soloist Michael Harris will sing the moving “When You Believe” about the tenuous yet powerful nature of belief, drawing on the story of the Israelites in the desert. Finally, pianist Chris Sierzchula will close out the service with a meditative piece by Greek-Armenian spiritual teacher G. I. Gurdjieff and Russian composer Thomas de Hartmann.

9/10/23 will be this year’s in-gathering Water Communion for which the Music Ministry will provide a variety of watery wonders. As the Prelude, Chris will perform Claude Debussy’s “The Sunken Cathedral” to welcome us back into our sacred space. As the Centering, the UUCB Choir will perform an arrangement of “Shenandoah” and at the Offertory they will share Benjamin Britten’s “Time and Concord,” both traditional Water Communion choral offerings. As the Reflection, Soprano Soloist Taryn Goehrig will sing the moving spiritual “Deep River.” As the Postlude, Alto Soloist Helen Lowry will sing the folksy favorite “Swimming to the Other Side” by Pat Humphries of Emma’s Revolution.

On Saturday 9/16 at 2pm, UUCB is thrilled to welcome Buffalo’s newest young adult choir Incipio into our space to debut their breakout vocal jazz group. Their program – entitled “Cheek to Cheek” will feature arrangements of tunes by Billy Joel, Michael Jackson, Kirby Shaw, the Real Group, k-os, and more. Incipio is co-directed by soprano Julia Anne Cordani, who has sung as a guest with the UUCB Choir on multiple occasions and co-directs the opera collective Sotto Voce with Music Director Jessie Downs. Come out to support Julia and her amazing troupe of young singers!

On Sunday 9/17, the theme of both the sermon and the music is “Walking Together.” The service will open with a Moses Hogan arrangement of the traditional spiritual “Walk Together Children,” performed by the UUCB Chamber Choir. At the Offertory, Shaun and Mike will share the meaningful “You Walk With Me” and as the Reflection, Mike will share the sweet “Not While I’m Around” – both music theatre favorites about being with and for one another. For the Postlude, the UUCB Chamber Choir will share a choral arrangement of “You’ll Never Walk Alone” from the classic musical Carousel.

Finally, on September 24th, Our music will feature numbers by Bob Dylan, Jason Shelton, Leonard Cohen, and Ysaye M. Barnwell – performed by the UUCB Choir and Soloists.   

Our Music Director, Dr. Jessie Downs, is a composersopranovocal instructor and conductor with a passion for combining tradition and innovation. As a composer, Jessie has created new works for solo, chamber, and operatic contexts, as well as for young and amateur musicians. As a vocalist, Jessie can regularly be heard bringing to life tormented leading operatic ladies such as Lucia, Gilda, and Mimì, but on operatic off-seasons she also enjoys paying tribute to rock idols such as Freddie Mercury and Tina Turner. In addition to her regular directorial work at UUCB, Jessie serves as Artistic Director of Sotto Voce – a collectively run opera company. She also teaches weekly voice lessons to a diverse cohort of students. She holds a Bachelor of Music from Oberlin Conservatory (2013) and a PhD in Composition – awarded  “with distinction” – from the University at Buffalo (2021).