BPO should pursue a diverse audience
As has been our tradition for almost 25 years, we attended the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra’s Holiday Pops show. It was a fantastic display of musical talent. John Morris Russell brought his love of music and the Christmas season to Kleinhans. The concert was one of the most energetic and fresh ones we have ever seen.
While we really enjoyed virtually every aspect of the concert, there was a bit of discomfort when surveying the crowd at the sold-out event. It appeared to us that those in attendance were practically all of the Caucasian persuasion. Adding to the angst was the fact that two of the highlights from the concert were amazing performances by tenor George Brown, and Nia Drummond of Fredonia, both of whom are African-American.
With all of the tremendous changes and improvements underway in the Buffalo area, the importance of diversity cannot and should not be ignored. Downtown is beginning to show many signs of progress. The waterfront is looking better than ever. Housing stock and values are improving. Buffalo has so much potential to be a great city.
However, the BPO having a couple of very talented African-American folks performing to an all-white crowd looked much more like Buffalo of 1935 instead of 2015. I would encourage the BPO and its board and donors to make every effort to make visiting Kleinhans a more diverse experience.
M. Scott Chismar