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Jazz Vocalist James Torme makes his Buffalo Debut

BPO Swingin' Holiday Pops

For many Buffalonians, the Holiday Season would not seem complete without attending one of the very popular BPO Holiday Pops concerts in Kleinhans Music Hall. This year, due to popular demand, the BPO is scheduling four performances, including two on Friday, December 19 at 10:30am and at 8pm, along with an 8pm concert on Saturday December 20, with the final performance at 2:30pm on Sunday December 21.

Former BPO Associate Conductor and Buffalo favorite Ron Spigelman, who returned last year to conduct the more traditional Classical Christmas concert, will be back on the podium for this year’s event, which is being billed as “Swingin’ Holiday Pops.”

Helping put the swing in this year’s event is special guest James Tormé, son of the legendary “Velvet Fog” Mel Tormé, who will lend his vocal style to standards like “Silver Bells,” “Sleigh Ride,” and his father Mel Tormé’s signature number, “The Christmas Song.”

The charismatic young star’s debut album topped both the iTunes and Amazon jazz charts. He himself attributes much of his ability as a performer to the process of osmosis, as well as to his own show-business background as Tormé says “There’s no question, I absorbed a lot from my dad, and his peers.” His singing style draws from the ‘old school,” but with a modern styling that makes it very current.

BPO clarinetist and jazz musician Sal Andolina will be featured along with his big band, putting their own stamp on Christmas standards like “Rudolph, the Red-Nosed Reindeer” and “Sugar Rum Cherry.” The Buffalo Philharmonic Chorus will also perform on this program, which ends with an old-fashioned sing-along.

As a bonus, at 1pm on Saturday December 2 the BPO will perform a free concert in the iconic M&T Gold Dome building at Main and Genesee in downtown Buffalo under the baton of Paul Ferington who will lead the orchestra in this annual tradition, so you might want to take a break from your holiday preparations and enjoy the sounds of the season, free of charge in this beautiful space.

Tickets: 885-5000 or visit

“And now, for something completely different”

The old Monty Python catch phrase readily comes to mind when imaging just what members of the Wooden Cities Collective will do when they offer “A very-er Wooden Christmas, Part II” at the Pausa Art House, 19 Wadsworth Street, this Saturday at 8pm. Talented, young composers like Megan Kyle, Zane Merritt, Nathan Heidelberger, Evan Courtin, Michael McNeill and T.J. Borden, who also just happen to be very competent instrumentalists, will provide musical accompaniment to selections from some classic, and not so very classic, projected silent films, including D.W. Griffith’s 1909 A Trap for Santa as well as the Edison Manufacturing Company’s A Christmas Carol and Cricks and Martin’s timeless1910 classic, Making Christmas Crackers.

Composer Nathan Heidelberger scored Edwin S. Porter’s 1906 A Winter Straw Ride, about which he says: “Superficially, the film depicts an innocent holiday jaunt through the snow. In my score, essentially a guided improvisation, I’ve tried to bring to the fore the latent barbarity lurking just beneath the surface of the film, and, perhaps, of all of us. A highlight of the program will be Frank Kleinschmidt’s Santa Claus, a charmingly strange half-hour long film jointly scored by Michael McNeill and Evan Courtin. Their musical treatment of the film is very sophisticated, including a recurring Santa Claus leitmotif and a fugue on the subject of God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen. Also of note on the program is oboist Megan Kyle’s compositional debut, with her Christmas carol infused score for A Holiday Pageant at Home.”

In any case, it’s pretty much a given that after this event, you will never look at Christmas in the same way.

Tickets: $7; students: $5.


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