Westfield First Presbyterian Church members have been treated by four music students from SUNY Fredonia, Colin Mann, Gabby Mason, Tyler Mason-Draffen and Allison Deady, over the past couple years, during which the singers have participated in the church's choir.
Mason, a junior majoring in vocal performance and music education, is from Scotia, not far from Schenectady.
"I have always loved singing and have a very supportive family," she says, noting that becoming a music teacher after graduation in 2014 is her goal.
SUNY Fredonia music students who have been a part of the Westfield First Presbyterian Church choir this year and their New York hometowns are, front, Gaby Mason, Scotia; standing from left, Tyler Mason-Draffen, Freeport; Allison Deady, Fairport; Colin Mann, Clarence Center. The congregation looks forward to greeting them next fall.
A junior from Fairport, south east of Rochester, Deady is majoring in vocal performance and music education on piano. Unsure of a 2014 or 2015 graduation time, she has extended education in mind.
"I plan on attending grad school after I leave Fredonia to major in opera performance," Deady says.
Majoring in music education and vocal performance, Mann, a sophomore from Clarence Center, will pursue a college level teaching position after his 2015 graduation.
"I have such a passion for the musical arts and enjoy all aspects of it - music history, performance."
Mason-Draffen, who lives at the eastern end of New York - Freeport on Long Island - is a junior majoring in music education. After his 2014 graduation, he plans to become a music teacher/music publicist.
"Music has been a part of my life in a special way, and I wanted to gain more knowledge and share my love (of it) with people."
Fortunately, Mason-Draffen, Mason and Deady will have no college loans to re-pay after graduation. Mann, however, will have to pay a SUNY tuition and after that for graduate school.
"Coming here every week is such a joy! Everybody is so friendly and caring; I love being here," so says Deady about her First Presbyterian experience.
As for Mann's Sunday visits, "Westfield Presbyterian Church is such a welcoming congregation. It is a friendly atmosphere and always a pleasure to make music in!"
"I have been a part of this church for two years, and I really appreciate all the people and opportunities that it has provided me," Mason-Draffen says.
As for Mason, who reaches notes higher than the church steeple, "I love singing here. The church community is so warm and is such a pleasure to sing for. I will miss singing here in the summer, but I can't wait to be back in the fall!"
Occasionally, full lunches for the congregation are served after Sunday worship. Mann doesn't miss this chance to comment about the "welcoming congregation who knows how to cook!"
Each of the four has already participated in a number of college and outside musical settings. Deady has accompanied the university choir this past year and participated in women's choir.
"I have sung in my church choir at home since I was very young and participated in a number of operas," Deady says.
In addition to SUNY Fredonia and chamber choir, Mason-Draffen has sung in the Buffalo Philharmonic chorus, New York Choir and Hillman Opera chorus.
Mason has sung in the SUNY Fredonia Women's choir and Chamber choir.
Mann has been singing through middle and high school and now with SUNY Fredonia College choir. He also has sung with the Buffalo Philharmonic chorus. In addition, he says, "It's been such a pleasure working with Paul Graham (organist and choir director) and the choir at Presbyterian Church."
As for the congregation, it is a pleasure to sit back and enjoy the beautiful voices not just the college students but also the church members in choir when they sing a special anthem.
As Mann promised, "See you next semester!"
Presbyterians respond, "We can hardly wait."