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, including participating in our services or attending events in our Casual Concert SeriesMore information about service music can be found below.

Choir
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 7:30-9:30pm 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 (jdowns@buffalouu.org) if you are interested in joining us!

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 (jdowns@buffalouu.org) with a proposal.

Upcoming Service Music
Services are held every Sunday at 10:30am. Services are being held In-Person, and you can livestream them from our YouTube page. Below is a list of the artist that will provide our special music for these upcoming services.

Many fun musical surprises await in the last pre-summer month at UUCB!

On June 5th, the UUCB Soloists, along with guest musicians Shaun Doyle (voice), Alex Huddleston (guitar), Paul Zanolli (bass), and Charlie DeRose (piano) will share celebratory tunes that bring the energy of the Pride Parade inside our sanctuary walls. Michael Harris will kick off the service by singing “Rainbow Connection” as a whimsical nod to the beauty of the full LGBTQIA+ spectrum. Helen Lowry and Jessie Downs will then pay homage to two great trailblazing Queer artists – Amy Ray of the Indigo Girls and Freddie Mercury of Queen – with songs that capture these legends’ fearless self-expression. Finally, Liam Allen and Shaun Doyle will present meaningful contemporary songs whose messages challenge the powers of oppression.

On June 12th, Taryn Goehrig, Liam Allen, Michael Harris, and Chris Sierzchula will share contemplative numbers ranging from a Michael Harris original, to a Hindu chant, to the piano music of Eric Satie.

Saturday June 18th at 7pm (note the evening time) is the next event in the Casual Concert Series – A Musical Feast: Dance of the Spirit. A Musical Feast is an organization founded in 2006 by retired Concertmaster of the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra, Charles Haupt. Their enlightened programming melds contemporary and classical music with poetry and dance in a setting featuring locally- and internationally-acclaimed musicians and artists. All donations at this event will go to support our Music Ministry.

June 19th is Flower Communion and the last day of choral music until the fall. This special service will feature the beloved “Flower Duet” from Delibes’s opera Lakme, sung by Taryn Goehrig and Helen Lowry, as well as two flowery solo piano numbers – one from the classical canon and another from a contemporary Japanese film score. The service’s two choral numbers are the ephemeral “Afternoon on a Hill” – a contemporary composition that captures awe for nature’s beauty, and the triumphant finale of Leonard Bernstein’s operetta Candide, “Make Our Garden Grow,” which will also feature solos from Liam Allen and Taryn.

After service, stick around for a summer celebration featuring music by Helen Lowry and Paul Zanolli’s band The Bitter Nasties.

The final service of the month will also likely be the final service with our full Music Staff team until September, for which they will present a variety of tunes relevant to the service topic of criminal and racial justice.



​Our Music Director, Dr. Jessie Downs, is a composer, soprano, and vocal instructor with a passion for combining tradition and innovation. She is active as an acclaimed composer of opera and chamber music, performs regularly as a concert soloist with a focus in bel canto, and teaches private voice lessons – online and in person – to a diverse cohort of students. She holds a Bachelors of Music from Oberlin Conservatory (2013) and a PhD in Composition – awarded  “with distinction” – from the University at Buffalo (2021).

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