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Gift Shop Makes Kleinhans Audience Groan

Spring 007

Two in one shot! Too Hot to Handel and the Chopin Bag.

These people are the Mozarts of bad puns! Wonder what they'll have next time we stop in.

We'll be Bach!

Bob Seger Is Still Alive, Detroit Man Announces


By Mary Kunz Goldman

Buzz sympathizes with the Detroit writer who felt it necessary to publish this clarification. Pete Seeger is the musician who died. Bob Seger is still among us.

It is like the time Buzz met Margot Kidder and everyone kept thinking we meant Nicole Kidman. 

Buzz saw Pete Seeger once at, we believe it was the Unitarian Universalist Church here in Buffalo. It was some church. We remember he sang a lot of kids' songs including one that went "Mousie, mousie, in the housie." Alas, we have no record of that performance. How could we not? We thought we had a written chronicle of everything we have done in life.

We do have a chronicle of Bob Seger at Buffalo's old Memorial Auditorium.

Captain and Tennille's Family Reached Out to The Buffalo News


By Mary Kunz Goldman

In the flurry of publicity surrounding the imminent divorce of the Captain and Tennille, journalists are widely overlooking the fact that the Captain, Daryl Dragon, is the son of Carmen Dragon, the great Hollywood Bowl and Capitol Records music man. 

The Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra likes to play Carmen Dragon's sparkling arrangements. On more than one occasion The Buffalo News has praised these performances, admiring the Carmen Dragon's creativity.

And the Dragon family got in touch with The News, thanking us for appreciating and remembering Carmen Dragon. Buzz is searching for the correspondence. We seem to remember that the family representative was one of Dragon's daughters -- which would make her the Captain's sister -- and that she was a Catholic church musician in California. In any event the Dragon family impressed us a wonderful family and we cannot imagine, based on this inside knowledge, why Tennille would want to leave it.

We are going to be looking for the email. More to come if we find the thing.

Meanwhile here is a picture of the great Carmen Dragon. He was better looking than his celebrity son.


And here is an elegant Carmen Dragon arrangement of Beethoven, featuring the best-selling pianist (and Buffalo native) Leonard Pennario.


BPO Apprentice Gets Bravos For Playing Badly


By Mary Kunz Goldman

Matthew Tosca, the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra's new Mannes College apprentice conductor, recently got good news and bad news. That is he pictured above.

The good news: He is making a high-profile appearance at Kleinhans Music Hall this weekend. 

The bad news: He has to play atrociously!

The BPO is presenting "Mozart and Salieri," a 45-minute mini-opera by the Russian Romantic composer Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov. Long story short, they need someone who can walk on stage with a violin and pretty much murder a Mozart aria.

As BPO Music Director JoAnn Falletta explained: "Matthew is a very fine violinist but will have to deliberately play 'badly' as an untrained street musician."

Which is what the junior maestro did, on Friday morning for the Coffee Concert. He walked out with a fiddle and played "Batti, Batti," from Mozart's "Don Giovanni," horribly and screechingly. Bravo!

Saturday night, he gets to reprise his performance.

With luck, it will be even worse!

Buffalo's Secret Weapon


By Mary Kunz Goldman

The real winner of Saturday's Metropolitan Opera auditions is not even a singer.

It is Buffalo!

Organizer Dianne Rubin forwarded to Buzz an email from a Toronto couple, Ellen Richardson and Bruce Little, who were there to cheer on some of the many Canadian singers in the auditions.

The Torontonians wrote: "We thoroughly enjoyed ourselves -- a lovely day of singing, bracketed by two nights at a splendid B&B (the Parkside) and excellent meal at Hutch's and Ristorante Lombardo.  Buffalo is on our list of long weekend getaways now."

With which Buzz found ourself gawking at the Parkside House, pictured above, which has a friendly dog and a claw-foot bathtub and a music room complete with a baby grand piano. We want to go there! We want to stay in the Jewett Room.

Anyway, let's make a note of this Toronto twosome's comments, and make it a high note, while we're at it. We are always looking for that silver bullet here in Buffalo.

Opera could be it!

High Notes and High Drama at the Met Auditions


By Mary Kunz Goldman

Want some drama in your life? Consider stopping by the Metropolitan Opera auditions, going on all day -- until 6 p.m. or thereabouts -- at the Nichols School Flickinger Performing Arts Center. It's free! Buzz caught the first hour, sticking around until the first potty break. (It is fun to hear a Metropolitan Opera judge say "potty break.")

Buffalo baritone James Wright (above), whose candidacy was written about in The News the other day, made a very good showing. Wright, in a natty suit with his hair slicked, looked vaguely and appropriately old-fashioned. He began with an aria from Gounod's "Faust," "Avant de quitter ces lieux," and it was easy to see why. That aria had a Sign of the Cross built into it, right at the start!

Who, auditioning for the Met, would not want to call down all the blessings you possibly could? And it apparently worked. Wright was called back to sing part of another aria -- a good sign. 

All the other singers we heard were sopranos. Naturally there was high drama. Most memorable was when Maria Lindsey's accompanist stopped dead in the middle of "Volate, Amori," from Handel's "Ariodante." The situation might actually have helped Miss Lindsey, a singer from Colorado, because she got to show off her poise. She never lost her smile or her cool.

You could say she Handeled it well! 

A Strange Sight in Kaisertown


Why are we worrying about the Buffalo Athletic Club when it is Christmas Eve? 

Today's Buzz column tells the tale of a group of carolers' adventures in Black Rock. The adventure continued last night in Kaisertown. Above is a pic taken last night on a Kaisertown street corner of attorney Patrick Krey, his wife Jennifer and their two proper Victorian sons, Harry and Frank.

The carolers, who also included jazz singer Mari McNeil and Forgotten Buffalo's Airborne Eddy, sang in the Kaisertown branch library, in front of a house that looked as if it belonged to the Griswolds (nobody came out, even after three vigorous verses of "Joy To the World"), and at Wiechec's Lounge, where half the crowd filmed the singers on their iPhones and the other half looked the other way. 

Most memorable was "Adeste Fideles" in Latin at a Pakistani deli, after which the proprietor, laughing, generously offered water and pop.

God rest ye merry, gentlemen!

Turn, Turn, Turn: Your Loved One's Ashes, Made Into a Vinyl Record


Here is a new spin on mourning.

We hear in a roundabout way -- from the business site Springwise -- of a new initiative by a company called And Vinyly that allows you to eschew the traditional urn and go instead for a more emotional way of preserving your loved one's ashes. As Springwise explains it: "The service allows anyone to have a loved one's ashes pressed as a working record, where it can be accompanied by music, the sound of their voice or simply left blank -- allowing the pops and clicks to provide an audio representation of the ashes."

Already we are buried in questions!

What if the record were misplaced, could it wind up being resold at Record Theatre?

What music would you choose if it were your ashes? (Jeff Miers, The News' pop music critic, confessed he might opt for Miles Davis' "Kind of Blue.")

Could you be a 45? Could your spouse be on your B side?

What if ....

Continue reading "Turn, Turn, Turn: Your Loved One's Ashes, Made Into a Vinyl Record" ยป

Big Fat Restaurant Coupon Alert


Alert, alert, $25 coupon for E.B. Green's at the Hyatt in the print edition of Gusto today, alert.

The coupon is on p. 19.

Grab it before it goes into the recycling! 

Use it to go hear Jackie Jocko.


BPO Shatters Doughnut Record; Broadway Singer Awestruck


The Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra's concert this morning, the first of four Holiday Pops performances, shattered attendance records for Coffee Concert. More significantly it shattered doughnut records.

Buzz asked for the figure and it is in: 160 dozen doughnuts, donated by Budwey's.

Let us do the math. 160 times 12 is 1,920 doughnuts.

A Google search reveals that doughnuts average out to about 300 calories each. Hmm, not as high as we had thought! We are glad we did not deny ourself. Even so, though, when you add up all those doughnuts the number is impressive: 576,000 calories consumed.

Broadway singer Michele Ragusa, Buffalo native and guest star, emerged clearly awed.

"I've never said 'Good morning' at a symphony concert before," she said.  "We're all jazzed up on sugar and caffeine and ready to go!"

The crowd roared. Michele added: "I know I am!"

It was reported that Kleinhans Music Hall sank three inches into the ground from the weight of the accumulated caloric consumption.

This is what's called a heavy program!


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