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Acclaimed Buffalo brass bands join forces for free concert Saturday

Buffalo Band Photo (1)

By Mary Kunz Goldman

The Buffalo Niagara Concert Band, pictured above, wins rave reviews wherever it goes, which includes the recent Association of Concert Bands' National Convention in Allentown, Pa. An all-volunteer, 70-musician group formed in 2009 at American Legion Post 1041, the band plays classics by composers including Percy Grainger as well as Sousa marches and Broadway medleys. Its director is Amy Steiner.

The band has a concert planned for 7:30 p.m. Saturday, April 26, at St. Joseph University Church, 3269 Main St. On Facebook, the Buffalo Niagara Concert Band promises that they will play the music that won over critics in Allentown, Pa.

It will be a combined concert with the Buffalo Silver Band, a band in the rare British brass band tradition. The Buffalo Silver Band recently won the prestigious Hannaford  Cup in Toronto’s Festival for Brass.

The concert is free. As the Buffalo Silver Band says on Facebook:  "If you spent all of your money on Cher tickets this week, you don't have to feel guilty about going out twice in one week. This will be just as much fun, and did we mention, free?"

Here is a taste of the smooth and polished artistry of the Buffalo Niagara Concert Band.

Jazz singer's free recital explores the Great American Songbook

Villa 002

By Mary Kunz Goldman

Come Sunday, that's the time that Villa Maria College Music Department is spotlighting a new jazz voice. Danielle Green, a fourth-year student in the jazz department, is giving her senior recital at 4 p.m. Sunday, April 27. Ms. Green, pictured above, will be singing songs by such giants of the Great American Songbook as Harold Arlen, Duke Ellington, Frank Loesser and George Gershwin.

She will also be putting her own spin on John Coltrane's arrangement of "My Favorite Things" and Esperanza Spalding's version of "Body and Soul," in Spanish.

Ms. Green will be joined by friends and fellow students including Eric D-DeJesus on guitar; Brian C-DeJesus on bass; Ralph DeMarco on saxophone; Damone Jackson on drums; tenor Anthony Re and pianist Danielle Webster. Accompanying her on piano is Michael McNeill, the head of the Villa Maria Jazz Program.

Danielle Green is a graduate of Hutch Tech and studied at the Community Music School. Currently, she is a student of the well-known singer Adrienne Tworek-Gryta. As the first vocal jazz major to present a solo recital, she shows how Villa Maria's jazz program is growing. After graduation, she plans a career in music therapy in Atlanta, Ga.

The recital takes place at 4 p.m. Sunday, April 27, in Villa Maria College Recital Hall, 240 Pine Ridge Road, Cheektowaga. Admission and parking are free.


BPO conducting candidate stars in next 'Know the Score'


By Mary Kunz Goldman

The race for the position of Associate Conductor for the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra continues to heat up. On Thursday, May 1, candidate Ben Rous will be leading an installment of the orchestra's popular "Know the Score" series.

"Know the Score" is a kind of entertaining music ed geared toward grown-ups. Rous, pictured above in a recent News photo, is resident conductor with the Virginia Symphony, where BPO Music Director JoAnn Falletta is music director. He will be exploring Stravinsky's sparkling ballet "Petrushka."

The BPO's description of the event strikes an appropriate carnival barker tone: "Test the boundaries of reality as you explore the loves, schemes and inner loves of the stock puppets at the county fair." After the concert there will be a party with the musicians featuring fair food, entertainers and games courtesy of the Erie County Fair.

This is the last event in this season's Know the Score. It takes place Thursday, May 1 at 7 p.m. at Kleinhans Music Hall. Admission is $25.

Stage set for Buffalo Chamber Players' concert tonight


By Mary Kunz Goldman

At last count there are still a few seats left for the Buffalo Chamber Players' concert tonight at Buffalo Seminary ... a fascinating program of transcriptions and arrangements perfect for a rainy night.

That is the most recent picture of the Chamber Players up above. And JoAnn Falletta, the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra's music director, is going to be joining them tonight on guitar for some Schubert.

And one piece that calls to me is Arnold Schoenberg's arrangement of Johann Strauss' Kaiser-Walzer, or Emperor Waltz. Here is a clip from YouTube of some musicians, somewhere, playing it. The labeling on the video was in Cyrillic, so who knows exactly where it is. Wherever it is, it is charming, and really suits this cafe music.


The Buffalo Chamber Players take the stage at Buffalo Seminary tonight at 7:30.

Stars lining up for Andy Anselmo birthday cabaret

By Mary Kunz Goldman

Buffalo jazz crooner Michael Civisca is making a rare appearance in the limelight on April 24, for a special occasion. The occasion is Life is a Cabaret, which celebrates the 90th anniversary of Buffalo's Community Music School as well as the 90th birthday of the great singing guru Andy Anselmo.

Andy Anselmo, a graduate of the Community Music School, coached such stars as Liza Minnelli, Mandy Patinkin, Joanne Woodward and Regis Philbin.

Civisca is just one part of a star-studded lineup for the party, which takes place in the Mary Seaton Room of Kleinhans Music Hall. Other entertainers include a jazz trio led by drummer Carmen Intorre; and the cabaret duo Eric Comstock and Barbara Fasano, who have performed at such venues as Birdland, the Algonquin and the Metropolitan Room. You can watch Comstock and Fasano in the video up above.

Also taking the stage will be Caroline Jones, Anselmo's New York protegee. Miss Jones is a singer, songwriter, recording artist and radio host. Remember, the last time she sang here, sports legend Ed Kilgore told her she had more range than Ryan Fitzpatrick.

Life is a Cabaret takes place at 7:30 p.m. April 24. Tickets are $40 and all proceeds benefit the Community Music School. VIP tickets are $100 and include preferred show seating and a post-event reception with the performers. Tickets are available online or through the school, 415 Elmwood Ave., by calling 884-4887.

JoAnn Falletta ending contract with Ulster Orchestra

 By Mary Kunz Goldman

JoAnn Falletta will be leaving the Ulster Orchestra in September, news reports have announced. Falletta, music director of the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra, has been chief conductor of the orchestra in Northern Ireland since 2011, when she signed a three-year contract

Her successor, the orchestra's website states, will be Rafael Payare, 33, of Venezuela.

Payare is a former member of Venezuela's famous Simon Bolivar Youth Orchestra, whose music director is Gustavo Dudamel, also the popular music director of the Los Angeles Philharmonic. Dudamel has done a lot to raise the international profile of "El Sistema," Venezuela's social musical education program. The Ulster Orchestra reports that Payare's agenda includes plans to introduce "El Sistema" to Northern Ireland's children in the coming season.

The Ulster Orchestra has been suffering from financial difficulties and is currently underoing a restructuring. Falletta's tenure with the group, though, has had memorable highlights. She made her debut at London's prestigious Proms with the orchestra in 2011 and also has made four recordings with the orchestra for Naxos, the label that also records her with the BPO. Her Naxos discs with the Ulster Orchestra have included discs of the music of Gustav Holst, the Irish composer Ernest John Moeran and American composer John Knowles Paine. 

The above video shows her leading the orchestra in Paine's "The Tempest."

City of Night puts out a call for site-specific work

City of Night, the grassroots multi-arts festival which will take over Silo City on June 28, is seeking proposals for "performance art, installations, sound art, murals, dance, theater, and light-based works."

Emerging Leaders in the Arts Buffalo, the group behind the popular festival, released a teaser video in hopes of inspiring Western New York creative types to apply. Check out the City of Night website if you're interested in applying. Here's a look:


And a handy walkthrough of the site for artists interested in exactly what they're applying to:

 --Colin Dabkowski

BPO fiddlers present free Irish concert at Nietzsche's


By Mary Kunz Goldman

The good side of the storms that blew in around St. Patrick's Day? We still have a bit o' St. Patrick's Day music to look forward to. This concert, postponed a few weeks ago because of the weather, sounds like great fun.

It's at Nietzsche's on Wednesday night, and it's free. Two musicians from the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra, bassist Brett Shurtliffe and violinist Amy Licata, pictured above, have banded together to form a duo devoted to Irish music. Already they have performed with Cherish the Ladies and the Chieftains, as well as with the Buffalo Chamber Players. Licata's solo fiddling has been in the spotlight several times at Kleinhans Music Hall, always to great acclaim. She was a pro at an early age: When she was eight she competed in the a national junior fiddling competition, finishing third behind 13-year-old Mark O'Connor.

At Nietzsche's they promise beautiful airs and jolly ballads. There's no cover, there is beer of various ethnicities including Irish, and there is the uniquely romantic ambiance that belongs only to Nietzsche's. What's not to love? The evening of Irish music begins at 8 p.m.


Give for Greatness becomes part of ASI

Give for Greatness, the arts fundraising organization launched by Artvoice publisher Jamie Moses in the wake of Erie County's 2011 cultural funding crisis, will become part of the Arts Services Initiative.

The merger of the two organizations, funded by a consortium of local foundations known as the Fund for the Arts, will create a new development director position at ASI. It will primarily benefit small cultural organizations and expand G4G's mission to include a larger swath of Western New York.

As the funding crisis of 2011 recedes into memory, ASI board president and MusicalFare Theatre founder Randall Kramer said, "the need for G4G remains as prevalent as ever for small and new organizations, as well as groups in Niagara, Chautauqua, Cattaraugus and Allegany Counties where public sector [support] for the arts is not as strongas it is in Erie."

It's tough to overestimate the importance of a group dedicated to funding new and emerging cultural groups Western New York and Erie County, as the vast majority of public and private funding goes to long-established organizations. Gaining a toe-hold as a new group is remarkably difficult -- a problem this reimagined version of G4G aims to solve.

Since its founding, according to the G4G website, the organization has raised $150,000 for local arts organizations. It was headed for a time by former Studio Arena Theatre director Kathleen Gaffney, who left the organization several months ago.

--Colin Dabkowski

Library springs forward with free concert series


By Mary Kunz Goldman

Check it out: The Buffalo and Erie County Central Library is holding five free noontime concerts starting April 2. The concerts, which take place in the Central Library Auditorium downtown, is named the Judy Summer Concert Series in honor of the late Judy Summer, a trustee and former Kenmore school teacher.

The first concert , on Wed., April 2, features the Buffalo Chamber Players, some of whom are pictured above. This creative group, which calls itself the Elmwood Village's resident chamber ensemble, was formed in 2007 by Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra violist Janz Castelo. They are performing Mozart's beautiful  String Quartet No. 19 in C, K. 465, known as the “Dissonance” because of its weird beginning. Verdi's String Quartet in E Minor completes the program.

Here is the rest of the schedule: 

Thursday, April 10: The Charles Reedy Jazz Quintet gives listeners a taste of the Colored Musicians Club. Reedy began playing at the historic club in 1947 and has performed with such legends as  many saxophonist Spider Martin, pianist Al Tinney, C.Q.Price Big Band, CMC Jazz All-Stars Band, and the George Scott Big Band.

Friday, April 25: The Buffalo State Chamber Music Ensembles explore music by Mozart, Villa-Lobos, Beethoven, Bach and the Beatles. 

Wednesday, May 7: The Buffalo Gay Men’s Chorus showcases the traditions of men's choral singing.

Friday, June 13: The Amherst Saxophone Quartet performs vintage pop, ragtime and early jazz numbers.

All programs begin at 12 noon, run approximately one hour and are free. 


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