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.

December Musical Events

As we move into the season of giving, our church overflows with musical gifts.

On December 4th, the vocal soloists and Chris will help us welcome the changing of the season with a variety of winter-themed music. Robert Schumann’s “Winterzeit [Wintertime]” piano pieces will begin and end the service, and two seasonal classics – “Walking in the Air” from the movie The Snowman (sung by Helen) and “In the Bleak Midwinter” by Gustav Holst (sung by the soloist quartet) – will speak to the different emotions that the season can bring.

On December 11th, songs about wonderment will help bring to life the panel discussion topic of the day. Michael will kick things off with an arrangement of the Appalachian folk hymn “I Wonder as I Wander.” At the Offertory, Helen will share the whimsical “Moonlight’s Watermelon” by Richard Hundley with a puzzling text by Jose Garcia Villa. As the Reflection, the choir will share the meditative “Snow” by Stephen Chatman, which captures the wonder of frosty weather, and Chris’s Postlude – “Snow is Dancing” by Claude Debussy – will share a different side of that same enchanting phenomenon.

December 18th‘s service will be a varied musical feast, starting with an off-Broadway small ensemble number entitled “Winter Blooms,” which contemplates the necessity of both change and darkness. At the Offertory, Jessie will share the aria “The Trees on the Mountains” from Carlisle Floyd’s opera Susanna, which uses a description of a barren winter landscape to capture the psychological aftermath of abuse. As the Reflection, the choir will share the more optimistic “Sure on this Shining Night” by Morten Lauridson, and Debussy’s frosty “Footprints in the Snow” will close this Winter Solstice service.

And of course, on Saturday December 24th we will hold our two Christmas Eve services. At 7pm, join Chris for a few holiday piano favorites and a carol sing-along. At the 11pm candlelight service, join the choir for a musical service featuring UUCB favorites by Benjamin Britten, Gustav Holst, Francis Poulenc, Tomas Louis de Victoria, Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky, and Randall Thompson, as well as the singing of two classic Christmas hymns.

The music keeps going for a more low-key service on Christmas Day, with musical offerings by Mike and Chris, and more opportunities to sing in the season with carols.



​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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