To celebrate the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra's first international tour in 30 years, BPO board member and Poland Tour Ambassador Cindy Abbott Letro and Francis Letro challenged the BPO to raise $30,000 in 30 days. In true Buffalo fashion, the community rose to the challenge.
In the 30 days that the challenge ran, more than $70,000 was raised. When combined with the Letros' $30,000, the final challenge raised over $100,000.
"We knew that our community would come through for us. Every time we ask for their help, Western New York answers the call. We are deeply appreciative of everyone who helped us meet this challenge and participated in this proud moment for Western New York," said Cindy Abbott Letro.
To date, 87 of the 100 musicians and staff traveling to Poland have been sponsored through the BPO's "Send a Musician to Poland" campaign. The BPO's goal is to achieve sponsorship of all 100, leaving a total of 13 still available for sponsorship.
Thus far, the sponsorship program has highlighted the strong ties between the musicians and the community. Eleven members of the Buffalo Gay Men's Chorus pooled their funds to sponsor bassoonist and fellow chorister Max Pipinich. Trombonist Tim Smith's neighbor is sponsoring him. Hornist Jay Matthews is being sponsored by his tennis partner. Other gifts have reflected the individual's deep connection to the orchestra itself, such as the longtime subscriber who received the sponsorship as a birthday gift.
Anyone wishing to sponsor a musician should contact Wendy Diina at [email protected]
The BPO is performing at the Ludwig van Beethoven Easter Festival in Warsaw, Poland, on Tuesday, March 20, at the invitation of Elzbieta Penderecka, the founder and artistic director of the festival. The BPO will be the first American orchestra to perform at the festival while Music Director JoAnn Falletta will be the first woman to lead a full orchestra at the festival.
The invitation to perform at the Beethoven Festival inspired the BPO to launch its first international tour in 30 years. In addition to the concert in Warsaw, the orchestra will perform in Wroclaw, Katowice, and Lublin. An ensemble will perform in Luslawice and in Buffalo's Sister City, Rzeszów.