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Buffalo Philharmonic string quartet celebrates Martin Luther King Jr.'s birthday and legacy

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Tue, Jan 10th 2017 08:55 pm

Quartet to visit four East Side churches in two weeks

Four members of the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra will perform during services in several East Side churches in honor of Martin Luther King Jr. Day, and to raise awareness of the BPO's new diversity council.

On Jan. 15 - King's actual birthday - they will perform at 10 a.m. at Friendship Baptist Church, 402 Clinton St., and at 10:30 a.m. at Shiloh Baptist Church, 15 Pine St. On Jan. 29, they will perform at 9:30 a.m. at True Bethel Baptist Church, 907 E. Ferry St., and at 10:30 a.m. at St. John Baptist Church, 184 Goodell St.

String quartet members Amy Licata (violin I), Diana Sachs (violin II), Janz Castelo (viola) and Robbie Hausmann (cello) will play Licata's arrangements of gospel hymns as part of morning worship at each church. BPO diversity council co-chairs Otis N. Glover and the Rev. Melody Rutherford will introduce the quartet to the congregation at each performance, increasing awareness of the newly formed council in the process.

"Community outreach is critical at the BPO," said Robin Parkinson, director of education and community engagement. "Last spring, we formalized the commitment to diversity we've had for many years by forming this diversity council, but many people aren't aware of it yet. These performances are an opportunity to not only extend a hand of welcome to the African-American community in Buffalo, but to celebrate the legacy of Martin Luther King Jr. and all that he has meant to every American."

Glover and Rutherford said, "As co-chairs of the BPO diversity council, we wholeheartedly support the BPO's efforts to reach a more diverse audience. Since many congregations will be celebrating the continuing legacy of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. during their Sunday morning worship services and will already be immersed in the beauty of music, we look forward to engaging them along with the string quartet. The uplifting atmosphere the faith community provides will allow us the perfect opportunity to share the dynamic mission of the council."

The formation of the diversity council places the BPO at the vanguard of a national movement to diversify the American classical music scene and to cultivate a racially, ethnically and culturally diverse audience for orchestral music. The council will help the orchestra work toward the goals of featuring artists of color (soloists, conductors, composers) in concerts; creating programs tied to community events and history that are relevant to diverse audiences; establishing collaborative partnerships with diverse organizations; supporting music education in underserved areas and encouraging broad participation in music programs; and seeking diversity at all levels of the organization, including the board of trustees, staff, volunteers and the orchestra itself.

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