To celebrate the passing of the holiday season, Williston Park’s Church of St. Aidan will be holding its annual Christmas concert on Sunday, Jan. 8 at 3 p.m.
The music will be performed by a full orchestra with a chorus and conducted by the church’s music director, Drago Bubalo, who has been with the parish full-time since 2003.
The concert will feature both religious and Christmas music.
“I like it because the music brings joy and consolation to people and the same is true for Christmas,” Bubalo said in a phone interview following their most recent rehearsal. “I’m looking forward to it because church music brings peace and consolation to a lot of people.”
Bubalo said the performers are made up of 35 people, 40 to 50 kids of all ages and 10 people to make the orchestra,
The Church of St. Aidan’s choir was invited to perform the cantata “Love Transcending” at Carnegie Hall in 2017 by the Carnegie Hall Artistic Committee after the choir submitted a 2016 performance to them. It was one of the multiple times the choir performed at Carnegie Hall in recent years.
On top of the Christmas concert, the parish holds concerts for Easter, St. Patrick and St. Joseph’s Day, among others.
One of the main reasons this Christmas concert will be taking place on the second Sunday of 2023 is because it allows people to celebrate the holidays without having to worry about things like Christmas shopping or parties, Bubalo said.
This concert is also lined up on the same weekend as Epiphany, which takes place this Friday and celebrates when The Magi, or three wise men, visited baby Jesus after he was born.
To make every concert, funeral and choir practice, Bubalo has a very unorthodox way of traveling to work. He said he flies his own plane from Poughkeepsie to Republic Airport in Farmingdale which cuts down his travels to approximately 25 minutes.
When Bubalo isn’t flying into Long Island, something he said he does once a week, he is operating as a flight instructor or commercial pilot, teaching students sometimes on his way to and from work.
Music and flying have been two of Bubalo’s biggest interests for a long time. He began learning how to play the piano at the age of six while growing up in Croatia.
“My father sang in the church choir, and I started to play at early morning mass when I was 15,” Bubalo said.
After working as an assistant professor at the University of Cincinnati for approximately 10 years, Bubalo went back to Croatia following the country’s Homeland War. He served mainly as a band director for the country’s army, but also served as a translator and in the Croatian Air Force. His main responsibility with the air force was engineering for transport planes.
Bubalo performed as a member of a band for four years before getting a job as a chorus opera director at “Croatia National Opera.” Eventually, he returned to the United States in 2002.
Bubalo has also worked as the music director for St. Ignatius and St. Mary’s, both in the Cincinnati, Ohio area.
More information bout the concert can be found at the church’s website www.staidanparish.org.