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Buffalo and the BPO bid farewell to Maestro Paul Ferington

Summer with the BPO
Buffalo and the BPO bid farewell to Maestro Paul Ferington

The BPO kicks off its summer season after a three week break with two concerts this holiday weekend. On July 3rd, for the 21st year in a row, the BPO will celebrate Independence Eve at Coca-Cola Field with a concert immediately following the Buffalo Bisons baseball game with the Syracuse Chiefs, which starts at 6pm. The BPO concert will be especially memorable this year as it will be the 18th and final Independence Eve Concert at the ballpark led by BPO Staff Conductor Paul Ferington. Moreover, this concert will be the final BPO concert that Ferington will conduct, as he is retiring at the conclusion of a thirty year career with the BPO. Even more remarkably, many people will be more than surprised to learn that Ferington has donated all of his services to the BPO during his entire tenure, both while leading the orchestra and delivering his popular BPO Ovations musical educational lectures during every concert season, at various Buffalo and Erie County Public Library locations.

Ferington introduced the “Armed Forces Salute” in his first concert in 1998. As the anthems of each branch of the United States Armed Forces are performed, Ferington asked the retired and active duty members in attendance to stand and be recognized when their theme plays. This tribute medley has become one of the most significant and most anticipated moments of each year’s show. “I never imaged it would become a yearly tradition,” says Ferington. “The response to having members of each branch stand to be recognized was unbelievable in 1998. Our men and women who have served deserve the few minutes of applause and cheers they received as ‘celebrities’ that evening!”

Even though some Southerners are apparently still in denial, the Civil War ended 150 years ago, when Lee surrendered to Grant on April 9, 1865 at Appomattox Court House. In tribute, the BPO and Chorus will perform William Steffe’s arrangement of the Battle Hymn of the Republic. The 70th anniversary of the end of World War II will also be honored by Richard Rodger’s theme music to the documentary film, Victory at Sea. This year’s show will also feature a pair of John Philip Sousa marches, Invincible Eagle March and Stars and Stripes Forever, as well as another patriotic classic that by no stretch of the imagination can be labeled American, but that nevertheless has come to be inevitable on an Independence Day program, Tchaikovsky’s 1812 Overture.

On the lighter side, Frank Sinatra, America’s favorite crooner would have celebrated his 100th birthday this December, and in his honor the BPO will perform “New York, New York” and the BPO will also celebrate the 50th anniversary of the movie release of The Sound of Music. Keeping with the cinematic theme, the 40th anniversary of the film Jaws will be honored with a medley from the BPO and fans off all ages will be able to sing along with music from the animated blockbuster, Frozen.

And just in case you just might still be wondering, a huge fireworks display, as usual, will follow the concert.

The next day, on the Fourth of July, the BPO heads out to take the stage under the baton of its new associate conductor Stefan Sanders on the ski slopes of Holiday Valley at 8pm for the Ellicottville Summer Music Festival. All details of the program were still not finalized at press time, but during the second half of the show, the orchestra will plays favorites from the Star Wars movie and franchise series, while characters from the films roam the resort grounds (it is strongly recommended that members of the audience refrain from trying to feed Chewbacca). A fireworks display will follow the concert.

Free Outdoor BPO Concerts

Sunday July 5, 6pm | Niawanda Park, Tonawanda (Please note the earlier start time)

Tuesday July 7, Noon | M&T Plaza, Downtown Buffalo

Thursday July 9, 7pm | Knox Farm State Park, East Aurora

Wednesday July 15, 7pm | Clarence Town Park

Thursday July 16, 7pm | Canalside, Buffalo Waterfront: a tribute to Stevie Wonder

Information: 885-5000 or

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