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Parade of hits

The Buffalo Gay Men's Chorus knows how to celebrate in style, and this weekend, the group is toasting its fifth anniversary with what promises to be a spectacular concert. The first half is fresh material, music the chorus has never before sung. The second half consists of the chorus' hits.

The hits are many. Since its founding in 2001, the BGMC has achieved impressive brand recognition. Its fans, and they are a legion, have come to associate the singers with certain numbers. Among them are "How Can I Keep From Singing?" the Quaker hymn that has become the chorus' anthem; "Seasons of Love," from the musical "Rent"; and Gabriel Faure's lovely "Cantique de Jean Racine." Especially thrilling is Patrick Doyle's rousing "Non Nobis Domine," heard in Kenneth Branagh's "Henry V" as King Henry, after the Battle of Agincourt, makes his way across the body-strewn battlefield.

Local music is also on the menu. The chorus is singing two of Roland Martin's "Adamic Songs," set to poetry of Walt Whitman. And Martin Wimmer, a familiar name to WNED-FM audiences, has written a song called "To a Stranger," dedicated to the chorus and to Martin, who leads the Freudig Singers.

Other selections range from Mendelssohn's "Laudate Pueri" to "You Can't Stop the Beat," from "Hairspray."

The concert takes place at 8 tonight in the Unitarian Universalist Church of Buffalo, 695 Elmwood Ave., and at 8 p.m. Saturday in Westminster Presbyterian Church, 724 Delaware Ave. Tickets are $18 for adults, $16 for seniors and students.

-- Mary Kunz Goldman

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