Saint Nicholas Church, led by our Choirmaster and Organist, Donald Bliss, goes to extraordinary lengths to provide our liturgical space with sacred hymnody and spiritual expression that provides great feeling and reverence to all of our celebrations. Included in our musical program are many local artists listed below who perform at selected Sunday services and at special FREE concerts throughout the year
Dr. Aaron James
Born in Toronto, Aaron James is the 2011 winner of the National Organ Playing Competition of the Royal Canadian College of Organists. He has won numerous other prizes and scholarships for his organ playing, including first prizes in the Florence and Stanley Osborne Organ Competition and the Howard Fairclough Organ Competition. In March 2011, he made his orchestral debut with the Eastman Graduate Chamber Orchestra, performing Rheinberger’s First Organ Concerto. A regular performer of modernist and contemporary music, Aaron has curated Eastman’s Contemporary Organ Music Festival since 2009; recent and upcoming premieres include works by Emily Hall, Martin Herchenröder, Daniel Ochoa and Kyle Quarles. He is an Associate of the Royal Canadian College of Organists.
Aaron is currently completing a joint doctoral program in organ performance and musicology at the Eastman School of Music (Rochester, NY), where he studies with Hans Davidsson. Previous studies were at Eastman (MM ’11) and at the University of Western Ontario (B.Mus. ’09), where he received the Faculty of Music Gold Medal. His research interests include music and liturgy, the aesthetics and reception history of modernist music, and the organ works of Franz Schmidt. Aaron’s writing has appeared in various print and electronic publications, including the musicology journal Nota Bene, for which he served a term as editor-in-chief. He is presently organist at St. Mary's Rom,an Catholic Church in Auburn, NY.
New Chamber Ensemble
The New Chamber Ensemble was created in Richmond, Virginia in 1976, to perform chamber music that is rarely played due to unusual instrumentation. Its core group is viola and bass, often with oboe, flute or piano. In the past NCE has expanded to include bassoon, clarinet, cello, violin, and recorders. It has commissioned and performed music of contemporary composers, played many educational concerts in the public schools and brought the rich repertoire of lesser known composers to its audiences.
Leslie Bahler has a Bachelor of Music Education from Temple University and a Master of Music in Viola Performance from West Virginia University. She has been a member of the Richmond Symphony, Wheeling Symphony, Florida Grand Opera Orchestra and the Florida Philharmonic. Since moving to Williamsville in 2001, she has performed with the Slee Sinfonietta, WNY Chamber Orchestra, Ars Nova Musicians, Camerata di Sant’Antonio, Clarence Summer Orchestra, Erie Philharmonic and the Buffalo Philharmonic. Mrs. Bahler created and was the Director of the Florida Music Festival in Fort Lauderdale for seven years, was a staff member and Counselor Coordinator of the Fredonia String Conference for two years, and is co-founder of Vivace String Camp at Houghton College, where she was co-Director for six years. She is a member of the Buffalo Philharmonic Chorus and Freudig Singers, and is on the faculty of Community Music School. Mrs. Bahler plays viola, violin, and recorders, and sings soprano.
Peter Bahler has a Bachelor of Arts in Music from the University of Rochester and a Master of Arts in Theory from Eastman School of Music. He has been a member of the Eastman Philharmonia, Rochester Philharmonic, Buffalo Philharmonic, The United States Army Band of Washington, D.C. (Pershing's Own), and, as Principal Bass, the Richmond Symphony, Norfolk Symphony, Florida Grand Opera Orchestra, Florida Philharmonic, Miami Symphony, Clarence Summer Orchestra, Camerata di Sant’Antonio, and Ars Nova Musicians. Mr. Bahler is founder and director of the Sheen Guild of Music (Renaissance and contemporary music for recorders, capped reeds and viols) and the New Chamber Ensemble. Mr. Bahler plays double bass, tuba, recorders, renaissance capped reeds, and harmonica.
The Buffalo Silver Band
The Buffalo Silver Band is one of a small but growing number of true British Brass Bands in the US. Its genre is steeped in a long and rich history in the United Kingdom. In 1915, four men started a band to augment the Sunday evening services of the First Hungarian Baptist Church of Buffalo, New York. The name “The Hungarian Baptist Band”, became the “Austin Street Baptist Band”, then the “Buffalo Baptist Silver Band” and finally in 1981, the current “Buffalo Silver Band” was ’born’.