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3 nations will gather in ‘Celebration of Peace’

LEWISTON – It’s being called a “Celebration of Peace” among three nations.

The newly formed 1812 Bicentennial Tri-Nation Choir will present its American debut performance at 4 p.m. next Sunday in First Presbyterian Church on South Fifth Street. The concert is free and open to the public. The international group has been organized by Youngstown resident Claudia Andres, who is a music teacher in the Wilson School District and has brought together some of the most acclaimed singers from Canada, the United States and the Tuscarora Nation.

“It’s amazing how this has all come together over the past few months,” said Andres. “Harris Loewen, Jeremy Printup, Lee Simonson and many others have been so supportive of this concert. I view the 1812 Bicentennial as a celebration of peace between nations despite previous, violent conflicts. What better way to represent our friendship than to have artists from all three nations combine their talents in a program that represents the time, the music and the emotions experienced during times of conflict.”

The 90-minute concert will feature 30 members of the Avanti Chamber Singers from St. Catharines, Ont., 25 members from the Youngstown First Presbyterian Choir and 15 Tuscarora Hymn Singers. The event will be held in the large sanctuary of the church. The historic original portion of the church was completed in 1835.

The public will hear, for the first time, a newly composed song by Joseph Martin titled “The Hunters,” which was commissioned by the Historical Association of Lewiston. Martin is recognized for his many choral compositions, both sacred and secular, which have been widely published and have been heard from Carnegie Hall in New York City to Branson, Mo., as well as in worship services in churches across the United States and Canada. His “Pieta” was recently honored with an award from the John Ness Beck Foundation. Other songs will include “Peace” by Marty Wimmer, an announcer on WNED-FM in Buffalo, and “Peaceful Niagara” by noted director Harrison Loewen. The Tri-Nation group also will sing songs arranged by Canadian composers Gail Poulsen and Penny Blake. Instrumentalists from United States and Canada also will be featured.

“The bicentennial has given us a tremendous opportunity to showcase our regional talent and emphasize the common ties that exist among the nations today,” said Leandra Collesano, president of the Historical Association of Lewiston.

“Everyone is very excited about this concert,” said Lee Simonson, volunteer director of Lewiston’s 1812 Bicentennial. “Imagine the best choristers, the best directors, the best composers – all coming together for this momentous occasion to commemorate 200 years of peace that were forged from the crucible of fire and war. Art and history – it doesn’t get any better than this.”

The concert is being sponsored by the Historical Association, the KeyBank Foundation, Niagara County Greenway, First Presbyterian Church in Lewiston, First Presbyterian Church in Youngstown and the St. Catharines Investment Program.