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Three choral groups combine for ‘Prisms of Song’

Doreen Rao is back on Buffalo’s music scene. The former director of the Buffalo Philharmonic Chorus, and a celebrated figure in the choral world, is now the music director of a new singing group, the Buffalo Master Chorale. John Fleischman is the associate conductor.

Both Rao and Fleischman will be on hand at St. Joseph’s Cathedral on Saturday, when the Master Chorale presents a concert with three other eminent ensembles: the Harmonia Chamber Singers, the Cathedral Choir of St. Joseph and the Church Choir of St. Louis Roman Catholic Church.

The concert is called “Prisms of Song.” Each choir will perform several different pieces on its own. In an intriguing twist, each will sing from a different place in the cathedral, a tradition known as prism formation. The music ranges from Renaissance composers including Thomas Tallis and William Byrd to intricate choral music of the present day. As a grand finale all the choirs will lift their voices under Rao’s expert direction in the great gospel hymn “Precious Lord,” Randall Thompson’s “Alleluia” and a “Dona Nobis Pacem” by Peteris Vasks.

“Prisms of Song” takes place at 7:30 p.m. Saturday in St. Joseph Cathedral (50 Franklin St.). Admission is free, but a $15 free-will donation is suggested. For information, visit

– Mary Kunz Goldman