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Singing with the pros

For a high school singer, it can't get much better than this.

Every year the Buffalo Philharmonic Chorus hosts a high school choral affiliate program which gives 35 high school juniors and seniors the chance to sing with the chorus.

Students who are serious vocalists and disciplined in learning music are nominated by high school counselors and music teachers. Rehearsals began in February. Affiliates learn sight-reading techniques, warm-ups and this year, the piece "Carmina Burana" by Carl Orff, which they will perform with the BPO Chorus and Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra at 8 p.m. Saturday and 2:30 p.m. Sunday at Kleinhans Music Hall. The piece, designed for a choir and soloists, has 25 movements. The text is based on poems in Latin, Old German, and Old French and is mostly about love.

Affiliates work with Buffalo Philharmonic Chorus director Brett Scott. A graduate of the College Conservatory of Music at the University of Cincinnati, he currently teaches and directs at the University of Rochester.

Michael Heubusch, a junior at St. Joe's, sings with the Varsity Singers at school. He also plays guitar, mostly rock and folk music. "I have learned from the BPC that sight reading is very important, and you need musical knowledge beforehand. You can't just come in having a good voice, you need to work at it daily," said Michael.

Lake Shore senior Joel Kumro plans to attend Fredonia State College and hopes to become a music teacher. "It's nice to be singing with a professional group. Brett Scott is very clear on his direction, and he knows which direction he wants to put the group into," said Joel.

Rebecca Montijo, a senior at the Buffalo Academy of the Performing Arts, hopes to major in music therapy. She also appreciates working with Scott. "He is very direct, yet subtle and always to the point," she said.

Paul Trinca and Bart Loos are both seniors at St. Francis High School who are passionate about music. Although they will not major in music in college, they plan to continue singing in choirs. Paul said: "I have learned how to get the music down quickly because practices go so smoothly here. Brett Scott is respected by many people and therefore no one would ever consider messing around during rehearsal." Paul said: "The more focused you are, the product will come out better from all the hard work you have put into your music." Bart was quick to add, "This has been a challenge but it definitely has expanded my horizons."

Affiliates are paired with a BPO Chorus mentor who sings the same voice part.

Nardin junior Brianna Panzica participates in many choirs, musicals and theater. She hopes to continue musical theater and singing in college. "I have learned what is like to sing with professional musicians and how much personal effort needs to be put in. The musicians in the BPC are on a much higher level than a high school chorus and participating in this program has given me a good realization of what I can expect as I pursue music in the future. It is a real wide-awakening to see how many talented vocalists there are in the chorus and the necessary steps I need to take to be prepared for a college choir and beyond."

Karlyn Tramposch is a junior at Nardin.

For ticket information, visit Tickets can be purchased online or at the box office before the performances.

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