It's a musical event almost as rare as the recent solar eclipse.
As the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra pointed out, the last time the International Conference of Symphony and Opera Musicians met in Buffalo, Jimmy Griffin was the mayor, and the Buffalo Sabres still played at Memorial Auditorium. Now, almost 30 years after that 1988 event, the group is back. Its conference takes place at the Adam's Mark Hotel from Aug. 22-26.
The organization represents the top 52 orchestras in the United States. The conference here came about thanks in large part to Daniel Sweeley, who plays French horn with the BPO. Sweeley sits on the national board and serves as the BPO's delegate to the organization. Each orchestra in the organization sends at least one representative, and other leading industry figures are also among the 110 people expected to attend.
"Much has changed in our city and our orchestra since 1988, and I'm happy to showcase both," Sweeley said, announcing the conference. "It was a natural choice to hold the conference downtown so our guests can enjoy Canalside and the many wonderful restaurants. The guests will enjoy an outing to Niagara Falls during the week. I'm grateful for the financial support both from the BPO and the American Federation of Musicians Local 92."
BPO Music Director JoAnn Falletta is participating in one of the panel discussions, and so is the BPO's distinguished tuba player, Don Harry. Discussion topics will include diversity in the workplace, pension concerns, health care, and community relations. Orchestra stability is a hot topic, and a talk will involve representatives from orchestras that have bounced back from the brink of extinction. The conference will also hear from orchestras that for the most part have managed smooth sailing.
The BPO is a founding member of the conference. The orchestra and American Federation of Musicians Local 92 are serving as hosts, with BPO Associate Librarian Travis Hendra as conference coordinator.