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Image courtesy of Plaza Event Series.
Image courtesy of Plaza Event Series.

M&T Bank's Plaza Event Series celebrates 50th season


Mon, Jun 10th 2019 12:00 pm

M&T launches musical instrument drive to benefit local students; debuts Spotify playlist of songs of summer from last 50 years

In 1969, just two years after One M&T Plaza opened, the first Plaza Event Series performance was held, a historic moment that fulfilled famed architect Minoru Yamasaki’s plans for an open plaza surrounding the building becoming a gathering place for people who worked and lived in the city’s central business district.

This year, M&T Bank celebrates the 50th season of the Plaza Event Series, which is believed to be the longest-running free concert series of its kind in the U.S. The 11-week series starts at noon June 10.

“Our plaza is a symbolic manifestation of the bank’s role in the community – joining, strengthening and enriching the central business district for visitors and residents alike,” said Rich Gold, M&T Bank president and COO. “However, strengthening a city doesn’t happen through building projects alone; it also takes experiences and events that bring the community together and cultivate connections. The Plaza Event Series has done exactly that throughout its 50 years, becoming part of the fabric of the downtown community.”

To build on the Plaza Event Series’ legacy, M&T Bank will be launching a used musical instrument drive to benefit local students. Instruments collected will go to Buffalo Public Schools for use by students who don’t have access to their own musical instrument. 

“The Plaza Event Series is an inspiring experience. It brings our community together to celebrate local music and the arts – and with the community’s support, we have the opportunity to convert the inspiration into action,” said Shelley Drake, M&T Bank regional president for Western New York. “This drive will give new life to instruments stowed away in attics and garages by putting them into the hands of local students who want to learn a new instrument or take their talents to the next level. And who knows – maybe the Plaza Event Series headliner, 10 or 20 years from now, will be a local student who received an instrument through our musical instrument drive?”

Those interested in donating an instrument can stop by the Plaza Event Series during the first week of performances or visit M&T’s branch on the ground floor of One M&T Plaza during regular business hours throughout the duration of the series, which runs June 10 through Aug. 23. 

M&T has also debuted a Spotify playlist that includes songs of the summer from the past 50 years, as selected by the M&T employees who organized this year’s series. It expands the community-building impact of the Plaza Event Series into the digital space, allowing Spotify users to connect with the series wherever they are. To listen to the Spotify playlist, visit https://open.spotify.com/playlist/5gfHexU2lAyLyROqext8bI.

On social media, M&T is asking concertgoers to share their stories with the hashtag #PlazaEventSeries. Memories and photos of past series as well as selfies and pictures of this year’s concerts are all welcome and encouraged. Organizers are hoping to crowdsource audience experiences to preserve a well-rounded history of the series. 

For the kickoff event June 10, a special celebration is planned. Bank executives, employees and customers will join community members and local elected officials for a brief ceremony followed by the day’s performance, which will feature songs from throughout the past five decades. 

The lunchtime concerts start at noon every workday from June 10 through Aug. 23. The lone exception is the always-anticipated Plaza Event Series performance of the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra, which begins at 11:45 a.m. Tuesday, July 23. 

Local food trucks will be onsite each weekday, including Great Aussie Bite (Mondays), The Blend (Tuesdays), Cheesy Chick (Wednesdays), Caribbean Flava (Thursdays) and Dickey’s Barbeque Pit (Fridays).

A full listing of 2019 performances is below.

WKBW-TV Channel 7 Week

  • Monday, June 10 – Joyryde & The Hitmen Horns
  • Tuesday, June 11 – Ramblin’ Lou Family Band from WXRL Radio
  • Wednesday, June 12 – Westminster Community Charter School
  • Thursday, June 13 – The Frankfurters
  • Friday, June 14 – Big Wheelie & The Hubcaps

The Buffalo News Week

  • Monday, June 17 – Old School B-Boys
  • Tuesday, June 18 – Beatlemagic
  • Wednesday, June 19 – The Doug Yeomans Band
  • Thursday, June 20 – Only Humen
  • Friday, June 21 – West of the Mark

Buffalo Bisons Week

  • Monday, June 24 – The Bobby Militello Quartet
  • Tuesday, June 25 – Mark Mazur and “The Little Big Band”
  • Wednesday, June 26 – SuperCharger
  • Thursday, June 27 – Flipside
  • Friday, June 28 – XOXO

92.9 Jack FM Week

  • Monday, July 1 – Lithium
  • Tuesday, July 2 – The Scott Celani Band
  • Wednesday, July 3 –Mike Randall & Friends / Zoomobile
  • Thursday, July 4 – Bank holiday to observe Independence Day, no performance
  • Friday, July 5 – Quintessential Phunk

Business First Week

  • Monday, July 8 – Will Holton
  • Tuesday, July 9 – Allykat
  • Wednesday, July 10 – The Chicago Authority
  • Thursday, July 11 – Breakaway
  • Friday, July 12 – Carnival Kids Steel Orchestra

Buffalo Music Hall of Fame Week

  • Monday, July 15 – Boys of Summer
  • Tuesday, July 16 – Dave Constantino Band
  • Wednesday, July 17 – Tom Stahl and The Dangerfields
  • Thursday, July 18 – Bar-room Buzzards
  • Friday, July 19 – Unity Band

WNED l WBFO Buffalo Toronto Week 

  • Monday, July 22 – Disco Duck 
  • Tuesday, July 23 – Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra (Note: Show begins at 11:45 a.m.)
  • Wednesday, July 24 – Broken Strings 
  • Thursday, July 25 – Caribbean Extravaganza 
  • Friday, July 26 – Angel Vox 

Spectrum News Week 

  • Monday, July 29 – JJ Swing 
  • Tuesday, July 30 – Queen City Swing 
  • Wednesday, July 31 – The Kensingtons 
  • Thursday, Aug. 1 – “In Jest” Comedy Variety Show with Nels Ross
  • Friday, Aug. 2 – Denzel Ward & The Cool Platinum Band 

Power 93.7 WBLK Week 

  • Monday, Aug. 5 – Back to the Bars 
  • Tuesday, Aug. 6 – Jim Tudini Big Band 
  • Wednesday, Aug. 7 – The Lake Effect 
  • Thursday, Aug. 8 – Creek Bend 
  • Friday, Aug. 9 – African American Cultural Center’s Dance & Drum Performance Company

Country 106.5 WYRK Week 

  • Monday, Aug. 12 – The Soul Providers 
  • Tuesday, Aug. 13 – Pointless Brothers 
  • Wednesday, Aug. 14 – Colleen Williams & The Bobby Jones Trio
  • Thursday, Aug. 15 – McCarthyizm 
  • Friday, Aug. 16 – Terry Buchwald’s Tribute to Elvis 

The Breeze 96.1 Week 

  • Monday, Aug. 19 – David Kane’s Them Jazzbeards 
  • Tuesday, Aug. 20 – Joseph Michael Mahfoud Band 
  • Wednesday, Aug. 21 – The Tommy Z Band 
  • Thursday, Aug. 22 – Taylor Made Jazz 
  • Friday, Aug. 23 – Total Eclipse & The Buffalo Horns

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