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LOCAL NEWS BRIEFS

>Philharmonic gets grant for new piano

A new sound will be heard during future Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra performances -- music from a Steinway B grand piano purchased with a $50,000 state grant.

The capital assistance grant was announced by Assemblyman Sam Hoyt, D-Buffalo, flanked by BPO Executive Director Daniel Hart and Principal Pops Conductor Marvin Hamlisch, before Friday's Holiday Pops concert in Kleinhans Music Hall.

Seven feet in length, the Steinway Model B Music Room Grand is two feet shorter than the orchestra's Steinway concert grand piano and will allow greater programming flexibility, Hart said.

"Different guest artists have different needs," he said, adding that the instrument "will work especially well for pops shows. It's something Marvin saw a real need for."

Hart praised Hoyt for going after the state assistance. "It's nice to have a champion in your corner once in a while," he said.

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>Ethnic Christmas event features Italian witch

NORTH TONAWANDA -- Santa may have to take a back seat to a witch.

The story of the Legion of LaBefana, the good Italian witch, will be told during the North Tonawanda History Museum's second annual Ethnic Christmas Celebration at 1 p.m. today in DeGraff Community Center, 139 Division St.

Emelise Alendri, artistic director for the Frizzi & Lazzi Old Time Italian American Music and Theatre Company in New York City, will share the story of the witch, who gives presents to good children and coal to the naughty ones on the 12th night after Christmas.

The event is free and features a musical performance from Alendri, recognition of the historical society's volunteers and donors, and Italian Christmas refreshments.

Last year, more than 100 people attended the event to learn about Polish Christmas. Next year, German Christmas will be featured.

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