ELMIRA, N.Y. (WENY) -- Elmira's Cantata Singers will take part in the Orchestra of the Southern Finger Lakes' Schumann Festival this weekend through their upcoming concert "Music in March."

With the Schumanns' great-great-grandson as a member of the group, the choir will honor the Schumann Family's contributions to the music and arts industries. 

"Clara Schumann is a big part of the reason [why] we have piano recitals these days; [she] was probably the greatest pianist of her generation," said Will Wickham, the director and composer for the Cantata Singers. "Robert Schumann was an incredible, incredible composer...[and], in an 1840s kind of way, he was an influencer. Obviously, we didn't have Twitter and TikTok back then, but he actually founded a journal that talked about music and promoted a lot of both his contemporary [composers] and also previous composers."

The program will feature pieces from the Romantic Period composed by both Clara and Robert Schumann, as well as their close friend, Johannes Brahms. It will also feature the world premiere of "Clara's Piano," an original piece composed by Wickham himself with the help of the Artist Employment Program (AEP) grant the group received from Creatives Rebuild New York (CRNY) in June 2022. The grant has helped Wickham compose original choral music for the Story Music Project, an initiative to "sing a snapshot of all the people in the southern Finger Lakes region."

"[It] basically tells the story of how the Schumann family came to be in Elmira," he said of the piece. "It does it through...a piano passed down from Clara Schumann to her son, [then] to her grandson, who was the one who came to America. Then, [the piano] eventually find[s] its way [to] Clara's... great-granddaughter...to Elmira, New York."

The Cantata Singers will present "Music in March" Sunday, March 19 at Park Church in Elmira at 3 p.m. Admission is free, but free-will contributions will be accepted.

More information on The Cantata Singers can be found either on their website or Facebook page.