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Emily Helenbrook

February 1, 2018 - 4:01pm
posted by Billie Owens in alexander, news, Milestones, Emily Helenbrook, soprano, opera.

Press release and submitted photo:

On Saturday, Jan. 20, the Houston Saengerbund presented its Third Annual Saengerbund Awards at First Evangelical Lutheran Church in Midtown.

The eight finalists, selected from over 70 preliminary entries, competed before a distinguished panel of judges including professionals from the Metropolitan Opera, Houston Grand Opera, Opera in the Heights, and university professors from Texas State University and Baylor University.

A total of $7,500 in prizes was awarded.

The winner of the Richard E. McGinty Director Emeritus Award of $1,200 was Alexander native Emily Helenbrook (soprano, pictured above left), who performed "Spiel ich die Unschuld" by Johann Strauss II and "Schweig’ einmal still" by Hugo Wolf.

Helenbrook is a student at Rice University pursuing her Masters in Vocal Performance with Stephen King, Ph.D. She has performed several times as a featured soloist with the Buffalo Philharmonic under the direction of JoAnn Falletta. She recently won the Getting to Carnegie Competition, which was held at Weill Recital Hall, Carnegie Hall.

About the Houston Saengerbund: Founded in 1883, the Houston Saengerbund is the oldest continuously active musical association in Houston, Texas.

The purpose of the Society is to cultivate and promote German singing and music, to preserve the German language, and to continue good German customs. The Houston Saengerbund has a Maennerchor (men's choir), Damenchor (women's choir), and Gemischter Chor (mixed choir).

For more information, please visit http://www.houstonsaengerbund.org/.

December 8, 2017 - 9:31am
posted by Glenn Adams in church, Emily Helenbrook, Christmas 2017.
Renowned soprano Emily Hellenbrook will be the featured soloist at the First Presbyterian Church of Batavia this Sunday, December 10. The service begins at 10:45 and will also feature the Women's Choir, congregational singing, and a message by Rev. Dr. Roula Alkhouri. Join us at this special time of the year as we celebrate the advent of Christ's earthly ministry. We are located at 300 East Main Street in Batavia.
April 28, 2016 - 10:34am
posted by Howard B. Owens in Emily Helenbrook, Genesee Chorale, batavia, arts, entertainment, music, news.

choraleapril282016.jpg

Press release:

The Genesee Chorale, under the direction of Ric Jones, is excited to offer a performance of Carl Orff’s “Carmina Burana” at 7 p.m. on Friday, April 29th, in the beautiful sanctuary of St. James Episcopal Church, located at 405 E. Main St. in Batavia. 

“Performing this amazing work will truly be a memorable experience for us and for the audience,” said Jones, director of the large, talented community chorus based in Batavia. “This performance will run the gamut of human emotion; excitement, intrigue, humor, and love all rolled into one amazing work."

“Carmina Burana” is a scenic cantata composed by Orff and based on a collection of 24 medieval poems. You might recognize the exciting “O Fortuna,” which was first introduced to mainstream media in the 1981, John Boorman film, "Excalibur." Other appearances in movies include "Glory" (1989), "The Hunt for Red October" (1990), "The Doors" (1991), "Natural Born Killers" (1994), and "The General’s Daughter" (1999).

Orff’s Carmina Burana is based on 24 of the 254 poems found in the medieval collection Carmina Burana, a manuscript composed of 11th – 13th century poems and dramatic texts, believed to be written by clergy in Italy and Western Europe for traveling scholars, universities and theologians. The collection of texts was discovered in 1803 in the Benedictine monastery of Benediktbeuern in Bavaria (Germany).

The Chorale will consist be accompanied by several three outstanding soloists: Emily Helenbrook, soprano; John Clayton, tenor; Joe Finetti, baritone.

Hellenbrook is a senior at the Eastman School of Music, studying with Carol Webber. Helenbrook has performed several times as a featured soloist with the Buffalo Philharmonic and in several appearances with Ars Nova Musicians in the Viva Vivaldi Festival. She also appeared twice on the nationally acclaimed show, From the Top, recorded at the Chautauqua Amphitheatre and Kodak Hall at Eastman.

Clayton is a tenor based in Buffalo. He has been described as “One of Buffalo’s top vocalists” who performs “gallantly.” He studied music and voice at SUNY College at Buffalo and has worked with vocal coaches from across America and Europe. Clayton is a frequent soloist with choral ensembles in Western New York. He has also been featured in concert with the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra and Nickel City Opera. Clayton has sung the National Anthem for Buffalo Bills' home games and is a current member of the Harmonia Chamber Singers.

Finetti, bass – baritone, enjoys various performing opportunities in the Rochester area. He recently appeared as the beleaguered Herr Schlendrian in Bach’s Coffee Cantata at Nazareth College, interpreted the Bass role of Haydn’s "Creation" in several performances with the Finger Lakes Chorale, and sang Broadway favorites as a guest of the Irondequoit Chorale. A longtime member of the baroque ensemble The Publick Musick, he has sung solo roles in numerous Bach cantatas and masses as well as period performances of Handel’s "Messiah." Finetti performs regularly with the Renaissance group Musica Spei, the annual sponsor of the Rochester Early Music Festival as well as the well-known local chamber choir Madrigalia. He has a practice of family medicine in Greece, NY, and lives with his wife Maria Mastrosimone, also a family physician, in the Highland Park neighborhood of Rochester.

The performance will also feature two talented pianists, Doug Hanson and Howard Spindler. Five percussionists from the Batavia and Rochester area will accompany the work.

Tickets for the performance at St. James are available on the Genesee Chorale Web site, www.GeneseeChorale.com, from any Chorale member, or at the door. For more information please contact the Chorale president, Heather Lovelace at (716) 531-8986.

The Genesee Chorale is directed by Ric Jones, owner of Imagine Music Publishing. In addition to being the musical director of the Genesee Chorale, he also serves as musical director of the Brighton Symphony Orchestra and The Middleport Community Choir. Jones is also the organist at St. Peter Evangelical Lutheran Church in Medina and Trinity Lutheran Church in Wolcottsville.

The Genesee Chorale is a community choir comprised of singers from all walks of life. It draws membership from Genesee County and seven surrounding counties. The repertory of the Genesee Chorale encompasses a wide variety of music in various styles from motets and madrigals of the Renaissance, to folk, musicals and jazz. Over the years, the Chorale has championed contemporary works for choir as well as larger liturgical settings including Bach's St. Matthew's "Passion," Charpentier's "Midnight Mass for Christmas," the Mozart and Brahms requiems, and several masses by composers such as Schubert and Mozart. Additionally, the Chorale has performed "Die Fledermaus," Mendelssohn's "Elijah," Handel's "Solomon," Haydn's "Creation," Vivaldi's "Magnificat," and Vaughan William’s "Hodie."

This concert is made possible in part with funds from the Decentralization Program, a regrant program of the New York State Council on the Arts, administered by the Genesee Regional Arts Council.

April 8, 2016 - 3:31pm
posted by Billie Owens in Genesee Chorale, news, Emily Helenbrook, alexander.

(Submitted photo: Alexander native Emily Helenbrook, soprano.)

Press release:

The Genesee Chorale is excited to offer two performances of Carl Orff’s “Carmina Burana” on Friday April 22nd and Friday April 29th. The April 22nd performance will take place at 7 p.m. in Kilbourne Hall at the renowned Eastman School of Music in Rochester. The April 29th performance will be at 7 p.m. in the beautiful sanctuary of St. James Episcopal Church, located at 405 E. Main St. in Batavia.

“Performing this amazing work will truly be a memorable experience for us and for the audience,” said Ric Jones, director of the large, Batavia-based community chorus. “This performance will run the gamut of human emotion; excitement, intrigue, humor, and love all rolled into one amazing work."

“Carmina Burana” is a scenic cantata based on a collection of 24 of the 254 poems found in the medieval collection "Carmina Burana" -- a manuscript composed of 11th – 13th century poems and dramatic texts, believed to be written by clergy in Italy and Western Europe for traveling scholars, universities and theologians. The collection of texts was discovered in 1803 in the Benedictine monastery of Benediktbeuern in Bavaria (Germany).

You might recognize the exciting “O Fortuna” which was first introduced to mainstream media in the 1981 John Boorman film "Excalibur." Other appearances in movies include "Glory" (1989), "The Hunt for Red October" (1990), "The Doors" (1991), "Natural Born Killers" (1994), and "The General’s Daughter" (1999).

The Chorale will be accompanied by three outstanding soloists: Emily Helenbrook, soprano; John Clayton, tenor; Joe Finetti, baritone.

Alexander native Hellenbrook is a senior at the Eastman School of Music, studying with Carol Webber. Helenbrook has performed several times as a featured soloist with the Buffalo Philharmonic and in several appearances with Ars Nova Musicians in the Viva Vivaldi Festival. She also appeared twice on the nationally acclaimed show "From the Top," recorded at the Chautauqua Amphitheatre and Kodak Hall at Eastman.

Clayton is a tenor based in Buffalo. He has been described as “One of Buffalo’s top vocalists” who performs “gallantly.” He studied music and voice at SUNY College at Buffalo and has worked with vocal coaches from across America and Europe. Clayton is a frequent soloist with choral ensembles in Western New York. He has also been featured in concert with the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra and Nickel City Opera. He has sung the National Anthem for Buffalo Bills home games and is a current member of the Harmonia Chamber Singers.

Finetti, bass – baritone, enjoys various performing opportunities in the Rochester area. He recently appeared as the beleaguered Herr Schlendrian in Bach’s "Coffee Cantata" at Nazareth College, interpreted the Bass role of Haydn’s "Creation" several performances with the Finger Lakes Chorale, and sang Broadway favorites as a guest of the Irondequcit Chorale. A longtime member of the baroque ensemble The Publick Musick, he has sung solo roles in numerous Bach cantatas and masses as well as period performances of Handel’s "Messiah." Finetti performs regularly with the Renaissance group Musica Spei, the annual sponsor of the Rochester Early Music Festival as well as the well-known local chamber choir Madrigalia. He has a practice of family medicine in Greece, NY, and lives with his wife Maria Mastrosimone, also a family physician, in the Highland Park neighborhood of Rochester.

The performances will also feature two talented pianists, Doug Hanson and Howard Spindler. Five percussionists from the Batavia and Rochester area will accompany the work.

Tickets for the performance in Kilbourn Hall at eastmantheatre.org/events/genessee-chorale.

Tickets for the performance at St. James are available on the Genesee Chorale Web site, www.GeneseeChorale.com, from any Chorale member, or at the door. For more information please contact the Chorale president, Heather Lovelace at (716) 531-8986.

Genesee Chorale Director Ric Jones is the owner of Imagine Music Publishing. In addition to being the musical director of the Genesee Chorale, he serves as musical director of the Brighton Symphony Orchestra and The Middleport Community Choir. He is also the organist at St. Peter Evangelical Lutheran Church in Medina and Trinity Lutheran Church in Wolcottsville.

The Genesee Chorale is a community choir comprised of singers from all walks of life. It draws membership from Genesee County and seven surrounding counties. The repertory of the Genesee Chorale encompasses a wide variety of music in various styles from motets and madrigals of the Renaissance, to folk, musicals, and jazz. Over the years, the Chorale has championed contemporary works for choir as well as larger liturgical settings.

The upcoming performances are made possible in part with funds from the Decentralization Program, a regrant program of the New York State Council on the Arts, administered by the Genesee Regional Arts Council.

March 16, 2015 - 6:24pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in arts, music, alexander, Emily Helenbrook.

It's a long way from Alexander, New York, to the Metropolitan Opera House, much further than the 536 miles measured on a Google map, but it's the road Emily Helenbrook has traced in her dreams nearly all her life.

At age 20, Helenbrook is building the resume that just might carry her from small town to big city, including a sixth engagement March 27 and 28 with the Buffalo Philharmonic.

A student at Eastman School of Music at the University of Rochester, Helenbrook's aqua eyes glimmer when she talks about what she loves. 

"I'm obsessed with classical music," Helenbrook said. "I can't get enough of it. Even at Eastman, where everybody loves music and that's what they want to do with their lives, I'm still the one who is constantly listening to more music and I love it. My grandpa was the same way. Music was his life and seeing him as I grew and grew into being a musician, I saw how much he was devoted and I wanted to be like that."

That love of classical music began at home. Arias and etudes weren't something she was introduced to. It was what she was born into.  

Her grandfather, Mathew Tworek was an original member of the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra as a violinist, and master musician and a member for more than 60 years. Her aunt, Adrienne Gryta, was a vocalist and frequent performer with the BPO and Helenbrook's first vocal instructor.

Growing up, all three of the Helenbrook children were introduced to music. Older brother Jason, now a local auctioneer, played flute and twin brother Eric played piano.  

For Emily, music quickly surpassed the hobby stage, however, and became the driving passion of her life.

Passion is what carries her through the hard work of learning her craft and building a career.

People tend to think, Helenbrook acknowledges, that singers just get up and sing, but there's so much more that goes into it. Learning the intricacies of vocal technique is grueling and takes years to master. They also need to research repertoire, study languages and diction, and for performance they must learn more than their own parts, but know and understand other characters, the history of the period and the story.

And that's just the singing part of her life. There are the academics that go into earning her music degree as well as her second degree in political science.

None of that is daunting, though, Helenbrook said.

"For a break, it's my practice time," Helenbrook said. "I don't think of practice as a chore. It's still fun for me, even though it's hard work, it's still fun."

When she needs to get away, she comes home, where there's more space, more quiet and more green.

"I really do appreciate being home," Helenbrook said. "Being in the country is a good way to escape the humdrum of city life. I can't stand it after a while and coming back home to something more simple is really important with the sort of speed of classical music and trying to be a musician."

Success came early for Helenbrook. At 17 she won the Barry/Alexander International Voice Competition, which led to a performance at the Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall and an afternoon-long voice lesson with her childhood idol, four-time Grammy winner Renee Fleming.

"She has the most beautiful voice and she's such a nice person," Helenbrook said. "She's a great role model for young singers. I always dreamed maybe some day I could sing for her and maybe she could teach me some things and that's exactly what happened and it was in her house in New York City. It was the craziest thing."

Performing at Carnegie was also a crazy thing, she said.

"That was an out-of-body experience that I don't remember as much as I would like," Helenbrook said. "It was kind of like a dream, in every respect."

It's hard to believe she won't make it back to that great venue. Talented, beautiful, hard working, passionate about her art and establishing the connections that build careers, Helenbrook is doing more than just dreaming.

She also understands, there are no guarantees, which explains the second degree in political science and her plans for law school after graduation. It's a long way from anywhere to the Met.

"Even really, really good singers don't make it," Helenbrook said. "I've seen people at the Met auditions and they're really good, but nothing happens because a lot of it is luck and being the right place at the right time. I know that and I'm trying to be realistic about it. I know what I want. I want to be a singer and I want to at least try to make a career of it, but it's also important to have a backup plan."

For more on Helenbrook's upcoming performance with the BPO and to purchase tickets, click here.

August 19, 2010 - 5:32pm
posted by Billie Owens in alexander, Churchville, Emily Helenbrook.

Emily Helenbrook is proving to be a rising young star in the opera world. This fall she will be a junior at Alexander High School and on Sunday she was featured on the popular CBS Sunday Morning program.

The 16-year-old was shown being nurtured and coached by world-famous diva, Renee Fleming, whom CBS profiled. Emily is a lyric coloratura soprano and she was aided by Fleming at the star's New York home in the spring.

Emily is a student of Patricia Alexander at the Eastman School of Music in Rochester. She has performed as a soloist with the Buffalo and Rochester Philharmonic orchestras and Ars Nova Musicians.

This fall, she will be performing in concert in NYC as winner of the Barry Alexander International Voice Competition.

She hopes to follow in the footsteps of Fleming, her mentor, who happens to be a native of Churchville.

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