The holiday season in Buffalo would not be complete without the sparkle of music and memory-making moments, and the Buffalo Philharmonic is providing something for everyone's musical wish list.
The BPO holiday season kicks off at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 27, when the angelic voices of Celtic Woman return to perform with the BPO in "The Best of Christmas Tour." The Irish music sensation has sold out Kleinhans in years past with its blend of Irish folk melodies "Mo Ghile Mear (My Gallant Star)," familiar Christmas tunes "Deck The Halls" and "Greensleeves," and original music. The group has sold millions of albums, won Billboard's "World Album of the Year" six times, and recorded several PBS specials that have become mainstays of the station's programming.
On Friday, Dec. 7 (10:30 a.m.), and Saturday, Dec. 8 (8 p.m.), "JoAnn's Classical Christmas" explores centuries of holiday music written by top composers. JoAnn Falletta will return to the podium for a handpicked program of famous holiday pieces such as selections from "The Nutcracker," "Troika" by Prokofiev, and the "Hallelujah Chorus" from Handel's "Messiah," featuring the Buffalo Philharmonic Chorus.
Clarence native and distinguished violinist Charles Wetherbee will come home to the orchestra where he made his debut at age 6, performing "Winter" from Vivaldi's "The Four Seasons." The program will also include a nod to Poland with a suite of Polish carols that Falletta calls "hauntingly beautiful."
Complimentary coffee and doughnuts are available prior to the Friday morning concert.
On Sunday, Dec. 9, the BlueCross BlueShield BPO Kids concert series will take a holiday turn with the "Jingle Bell Jam." Free activities begin at 1:30 p.m. and include a go at the instruments of the orchestra in the instrument petting zoo, photo opportunities with characters from Neglia Ballet Artists' "The Nutcracker" (presented at Shea's Performing Arts Center with the BPO on Dec. 22-23), and an opportunity for kids to make cards for military personnel stationed far from home this holiday season.
The interactive concert takes place at 2:30 p.m. and features an around-the-world look at holiday traditions. The Royal Academy of Ballet will bring to vivid life excerpts from "The Nutcracker." The Vocal Symphony from Buffalo Academy for Visual and Performing Arts will lend their voices to holiday favorites. After the concert, the audience is invited to enjoy milk and cookies with Santa Claus in the Mary Seaton Room.
The BPO holiday season culminates in Western New York's favorite musical holiday tradition, "John Morris Russell's Holiday Pops." Presented by KeyBank, concerts take place at 10:30 a.m. Thursday, Dec. 13, and Friday, Dec. 14 (with complimentary coffee and doughnuts prior); at 8 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 15; and a matinee performance at 2:30 p.m. Dec. 16.
During his tenure as principal pops conductor, Russell's love for Christmas music has become legendary - as has his collection of thousands of Christmas recordings. His inventive "Holiday Pops" programming captures the spirit of the season.
Renowned Buffalo actor Vincent O'Neill will serve as the narrator for "Twas the Night Before Christmas" in a program that also features gospel-infused holiday classics sung by Adia Dobbins, as well as a holiday sing-along.
For tickets to any of these concerts, visit bpo.org
or call 716-885-5000. The BPO's box office is open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturdays, and from noon until intermission of the afternoon performance on Sundays. If there is no event scheduled for Sunday, the box office is closed.
Gifts for Music Lovers
The BPO offers a wide selection of gifts for music lovers. More than 45 CDs are available for purchase online, as well as in the Kleinhans gift shop alongside other musical-themed gifts. Tickets also make a unique gift. Upcoming concerts in 2019 include classical favorites such as "Holst's The Planets" and "Carmen in Concert"; pops performances by The Hot Sardines and Kristin Chenoweth; family-friendly show-stoppers "The Wonderful Music of Oz" and "May The Fourth Be With You: The Music of Star Wars"; and rock shows "The Music of Led Zeppelin" and "The Music of Pink Floyd" with The Machine. Gift certificates are available in any amount, offer flexibility to the recipient, and never expire.
Toys for Tots
As in previous years, Kleinhans will function as a drop-off location for the Toys for Tots drive this holiday season. Toys can be brought to Kleinhans from Nov. 24 through Dec. 16 whenever the box office is open or a concert is held. Toys for Tots requests new, unwrapped toys to make a child's holiday special.
For more information about the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra, visit www.bpo.org.