Arts & Culture

BPO announces summer season

The Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra is planning a varied and exciting summer season that will bring the orchestra to eight communities throughout Western New York.

The season kicks off at Sahlen Field with a special 25th anniversary edition of the KeyBank Independence Eve Celebration concert with the Buffalo Bisons. Former BPO Staff Conductor Paul Ferington is returning from his out-of-state retirement to conduct this special event following the Bisons’ matchup against the Lehigh Valley Iron Pigs at 6:05 p.m. on Wednesday, July 3. A fireworks show follows the concert, kicking off Buffalo’s July 4 celebrations. Tickets are available at

On Friday, July 5, the BPO will perform at Pride at the Falls at Goat Island State Park. The free concert takes place at 7 p.m. and will conclude with a spectacular fireworks display. Pride at the Falls is designed to tie in to New York City’s World Pride 2019, commemorating the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall uprising. Niagara Falls will be lit up in rainbow colors in honor of this historic milestone. The BPO’s performance is sponsored by New York State Parks, Recreation & Historic Preservation and by Delaware North.

On Sunday, July 7, the BPO returns to the Ellicottville Summer Music Festival. BPO Assistant Conductor Todd Craven will conduct this classic summer concert on the slopes, followed by fireworks. Tickets are available

The BPO will perform free concerts at Tuesdays at Bidwell Park at 7 p.m. on July 9 and at North Park Academy on Hertel Ave. on Thursday, July 11 at 7 p.m. with favorites by everyone from Beethoven and Rossini to John Williams, Danny Elfman, Henry Mancini, and even a nod to The Beatles. The Bidwell Park performance is sponsored by Frederick S. & Phyllis W. Pierce Family Fund at the Community Foundation for Greater Buffalo. The North Park Academy performance is sponsored by Council Member Joel P. Feroleto and New York State Senator Chris Jacobs.

The major event of the summer will take place on Saturday, July 13 at the Central Terminal, starting at 3 p.m. It has been 90 years since the first train pulled out of Buffalo’s iconic Central Terminal. The BPO is spearheading a festival to celebrate the Terminal and the dynamic communities that have lived on Buffalo’s East Side, featuring East Side cultural organizations. Live music will be presented by the Colored Musicians Club, Junior Gospel Choir, and the African-American Cultural Center. The Buffalo History Museum, Buffalo Museum of Science, Olmsted Parks, Buffalo and Erie County Library and Torn Space Theatre will have exhibits and activities in the Central Terminal Gallery. The Central Terminal Restoration Company will offer tours of the 17-story Art Deco-style train station and discuss the future of the Terminal. Food, wine and beer will be available for purchase from Broadway Market vendors. The Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra’s 7 p.m. concert conducted by JoAnn Falletta features music from the 1920s and 1930s as well as repertoire that represents the neighborhood surrounding the Terminal.

The event is free of charge. The East Side Festival is made possible by a grant from the New York State Council on the Arts Regional Economic Development Council and a lead sponsorship from M & T Bank. Additional financial support provided by Iroquois Bar Corp., National Grid, Council Member David Franczyk, Council Member Christopher Scanlon, and Council Member David Rivera. Project collaboration provided by the BPO’s Diversity Council, Central Terminal Restoration Corporation, and Senator Timothy Kennedy’s office.

On July 19, the BPO heads to Jamestown. Brent Havens of Windborne Music will lead the BPO in his show, The Music of Queen. Vocalist and rock Broadway megastar Tony Vincent (Rent, Jesus Christ Superstar, American Idiot, Rocktopia, We Will Rock You) steps into the glittery shoes of Freddie Mercury in this concert event that stays true to the spirit embodied in albums like “Classic Queen,” “A Night at the Opera,” “News of the World,” “A Kind of Magic,” and more. The concert is funded by a grant from the Jamestown Local Development Corporation’s Downtown Programming Fund program, and DoubleTree by Hilton Jamestown is the corporate sponsor of the event. The performance takes place at the Reg Lenna Center. Tickets range from $35-$75 and are available at or by calling (716) 484-7070.

July 20 sees the BPO back at Kleinhans for a special performance of Video Games Live. Hosted by video game composer Tommy Tallarico, the show features exclusive arrangements of some of the most iconic video game music ever composed. It incorporates video game footage, a light show, interactive components, and well-known internet soloists to highlight scores from World of Warcraft, The Legend of Zelda franchise and more. Tickets range from $29 to $79 and are available at or (716) 885-5000.

On July 23, the BPO returns for another appearance at the M&T Plaza Summer Series. The series makes lunchtime in the summer special with daily free concerts downtown. The performance begins promptly at 11:45 a.m.

The Clarence Town Park amphitheater is the site of the BPO’s free performance at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, July 24 — a stop that has quickly become a mainstay on the summer schedule. The Clarence Town Park concert is sponsored by Kelly Schultz Antiques.

On Saturday, July 27, JoAnn Falletta and the BPO return to Letchworth State Park. The concert takes place at 8 p.m., with fireworks over the gorge immediately to follow. The concert is free of charge, but the BPO is offering two concert packages.  The Letchworth Landscape Package is $125 per person and includes a pre-concert reception with JoAnn Falletta and BPO Musicians, as well as reserved seating and parking. The Luxury Travel Package is $195 per person and has all of the benefits of the Landscape Package, but also includes round-trip luxury coach transportation. To purchase, call (716) 242-7829 or email The concert at Letchworth is made possible by the Conable Family Fund at the Community Foundation for Greater Buffalo, the Marjorie and Charles Van Arsdale Family Fund at the Wyoming Foundation, Cindy Abbott Letro and Francis Letro, Peter G. Humphrey, Wyoming Foundation, and Anne Conable.

From her creation of the all-female Lilith Fair to her string of mega-hits, Sarah McLachlan is a music legend synonymous with the 1990s. The BPO will join the Canadian-born Grammy and Juno Award-winning singer-songwriter at Artpark for what promises to be an unforgettable concert on Wednesday, July 31. Tickets are available at

The season ends with a red, white, and blue bang at Old Fort Niagara on Sunday, August 4. Todd Craven conducts an evening of bombastic music at the region’s oldest historic site. A grand fireworks display closes out the concert and the BPO’s 2019 summer season. Tickets are available at, and a family-four pack can be purchased for $119.

The 2019 summer schedule at a glance:

Wednesday July 3: KeyBank Independence Eve at Sahlen Field, following the 6:05 p.m. game

Friday July 5: Pride at the Falls at Goat Island, 7 p.m.

Sunday July 7: Ellicottville Music Festival, 8 p.m.

Tuesday, July 9: Bidwell Park, 7 p.m.                          

Thursday, July 11: North Park Academy, 7 p.m.

Saturday, July 13: East Side Festival at the Central Terminal, 3 to 9 p.m. (BPO concert at 7 p.m.)

Friday, July 19: The Music of Queen at the Reg Lenna Center in Jamestown, 7:30 p.m.                          

Saturday, July 20: Video Games Live at Kleinhans Music Hall, 7:30 p.m

Tuesday July 23: M&T Bank Plaza Series, 11:45 a.m.

Wednesday, July 24: Clarence Town Park, 7 p.m.

Saturday, July 27: Letchworth State Park, 8 p.m.

Wednesday, July 31: Sarah McLachlan with the BPO at Artpark, 8 p.m.

Sunday, August 4: Old Fort Niagara, 8 p.m.

About the author


News and art, national and local. Began as alternative weekly in 1990 in Buffalo, NY. Publishing content online since 1996.

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