Watkins native wins Grammy award
FINGER LAKES--Grammy Award Winner is one of the newest memorable accomplishments a Schuyler County native can add to the list. Peggy Callanan, as a member of the Buffalo Philharmonic Chorus, won a Grammy award for Best Choral Performance. A graduate of Watkins Glen Central High School in 1975, Callanan discovered her love for singing while growing up in Schuyler County.
"It was a reward for all the hard work we put in to make this thing happen, which was a tremendous amount of work," said Callanan. "Being nominated was an honor, but winning was unbelievable, incredible."
Members of the chorus received the Grammy for their recording of Richard Danielpour's The Passion of Yeshua, a two-hour-long piece that is sung in both Hebrew and English.
"This piece is particularly difficult to learn, and it took a lot of work at home to learn both English and Hebrew and a wide variety of choral styles with 14 different movements," stated Callanan.
The recording also features the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra, conducted by Grammy Award winner JoAnn Falletta, the UCLA Chamber singers, prepared by James K. Bass and a small number of professional choral singers. Being a part of such a talented group of musicians and singers and winning the Grammy for Best Choral Performance, has been the high point of Callanan's long and storied choral career.
"It was absolutely incredible to win, the most ever...I have been involved in music all my life, I played piano, played in the high school band, and accompanied the high school chorus, and then in college I sang in two different choral groups there so I have enjoyed singing all my life," Callanan explained.
While the award was not presented during the publicly aired portion of the ceremony, Callanan and her fellow nominees got to watch the proceeding live on Zoom.
"It was great when we won, there was a lot of cheering," Callanan said.
When not dedicating her time to singing, Callanan works as a lawyer in the New York state court system in Buffalo, following a strong tradition of law in her family as her father was former Schuyler County Judge John Callanan.
"I still have a brother and a sister that live in Schuyler County," Callanan mentioned.
With all auditioned singers (140) who dedicate their time as volunteers, Callanan has been a member of the Buffalo Philharmonic Chorus for 28 years.
"Since I lived in (the Buffalo area) I have been in this group," said Callanan. "We recorded this piece of music in April, 2019 in a regular live concert that we gave (in Buffalo)."
While consisting entirely of volunteer singers, the Chorus performs at a professional level as they often accompany the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra.
"I love singing, it gives me much joy and pleasure," Callanan said.