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Richard O. Buck, M.D.

Allergy, Asthma & Immunology

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Lifetime love of music makes doctor’s heart sing

Posted by on in Allergy
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130820DrBuckCarnagieHall124Seeing a performance at Carnegie Hall is one thing, singing there is quite another.

As if in a dream, Dr. Richard Buck stood on Carnegie Hall’s stage, sensed its awe-inspiring history all around him, experienced the eyes of the audience upon him, and recently performed Bruckner’s Mass No. 2 in E minor alongside fellow members of the Eugene Concert Choir.

“It was an amazing experience,” says Dr. Buck, back in Eugene at Oregon Allergy Associates, where he sees patients for allergy and asthma-related maladies.

When he’s not helping patients, Dr. Buck nurtures a singing talent he discovered in high school. Back then, he sang in the glee club and with an all-male a cappella group of 16 called the “Traveling Men.”

“Singing is one of my many passions,” he says.

While attending Princeton University, he sang in an all-male choir under the tutelage of choral conductor Carl Weinrich, well known in the music world for his recitals and recordings of Bach’s organ music and as a revivalist of Baroque organ music.

For 34 years, Dr. Buck has performed with the Eugene Concert Choir, a gem among Eugene-Springfield’s many musical offerings. The all-volunteer, 100-voice oratorio choir was founded in 1974 and has presented many beloved symphonic choral masterworks since.

Led by Diane Retallack, the semi-professional choir had the opportunity to travel to New York in March to appear at Carnegie, known for its world-famous acoustics.

“It’s a beautiful, old hall with white tiers rising up over the balcony and scarlet red upholstery,” he says. “The acoustics are wonderful – there are times when you can actually hear other sections of your choir, which makes it richer for everybody.

richardbuck2-1There is a story about Carnegie that, when it was being built and almost completed, there was a workman up at the top who yelled down to a man on the stage. And the man on the stage spoke in his normal voice and said, ‘You don’t have to yell, this is Carnegie — we can just talk to each other.’”

Dr. Buck is a first tenor with a wide vocal range. “I can sing three octaves, which basically means I can sing really high and pretty low.” Singing at the top of his vocal capability can be challenging, he says, but he enjoys that aspect of it. 

Patients who’ve come to know him and his passion for singing will sometimes make the extra effort to catch a Eugene Concert Choir show. “I had a patient come see me when we put on Hair. Said she ‘almost busted a gut’ when she saw me dressed in my Afro and tie-dye.”

In addition to great choral masterworks — some of Dr. Buck’s favorites are Bach, Beethoven, Brahms and Mozart — the choir performs a variety of eclectic shows, including musical theater, traditional Americana, spirituals, rock, jazz and opera.

“It takes a lot of hard work and discipline to make a major choral work come together … and when it does, it’s like you’ve created a gift – a gift you’ve given yourself and the community. It is like a great piece of art. If it’s recorded – and our performances are – it goes into perpetuity and becomes part of the world of art.

He may never stand on the stage at Carnegie Hall again, but he is looking forward to traveling to Italy in 2015 to sing there. In the meantime, you can hear Dr. Buck and the Eugene Concert Choir perform right here, in our own community.

Tagged in: Hobby

Knowledgeable and cheerful, Dr. Richard Buck's friendly personality and more than 30 years of experience complement one another perfectly. Board certified in asthma, allergy and immunology, as well as pediatrics, he diagnoses and treats patients of all ages.