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A night in Kleinhans is music to my ears

A Buffalonian's pride in Kleinhans Music Hall could be equivalent to a Nashville resident's pride in the Grand Ole Opry House.

I walked across Kleinhans' venerable stage to receive my high school diploma, as did my husband. Fifty years later, his high school reunion took place in Kleinhans at the commencement ceremony of his alma mater, St. Joseph's Collegiate Institute. The class of 1958 was honored along with the current graduates. Our daughter Kim was on the stage of Kleinhans for a few short moments of her young life before she bolted from stage fright in her Little Bo Peep costume.

From our dating days through 50 years of marriage, we have been to Kleinhans many times, dancing in the Mary Seaton Room or attending benefits. It is where I met author Anna Quindlen. The Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra, featuring renowned conductor JoAnn Falletta, is a jewel. Over the years we have been entertained by so many artists I cannot recall them all. We attended concerts by Johnny Mathis, Ella Fitzgerald, Count Basie, Oscar Peterson, Duke Ellington and Chuck Mangione -- with Esther Satterfield and, more recently, without her.

Lately we have added dinner served downstairs in Henry's, which is catered by Oliver's, to our evening of entertainment. I sat at my computer on a gray Saturday last month feeling bored and restless. It was yet another snowy day. Going off to a warm climate was not an option, so I scrolled through Buffalo events.

Viola! I found a concert coming to Kleinhans -- the Four Tops. It was scheduled for Saturday, the 26th. I found seats my husband would love and clicked "purchase." I was so excited. The e-mail confirmation popped up on my screen and I forwarded it my husband's office. Next I phoned Oliver's and made a dinner reservation. I was feeling smug, happy and excited. We dined in front of the television that night to watch "Temple Grandin," a wonderful movie. Then we watched the Sabres game. They won. Whoopee.

After Sunday morning breakfast, we sat reading The Buffalo News and sipping coffee. Ralph was catching up on a few days worth of papers. Suddenly he said, "The Four Tops. There is a review. It was last night."

"No," I said, and tears came to my eyes. "It can't be; it's March 26th." My husband was kind. He said, "Nobody got hurt." It was over.

It wasn't a funny story yet but someday it would be. I e-mailed my daughters. They had sympathetic replies. Kim told a story about taking her 5-year-old to Radio City Music Hall and leaving before the Rockettes came on. She wrote, "it's not just the money, but the emotional toll." She went on to say that they saved their day with ice skating and a visit to the hockey store. Krista said to chalk it up to life experience. Kelly felt bad about it, too. My sister laughed and said someone probably moved into our good seats.

I decided to e-mail the story of my faux pas to the BPO office and inquire as to whether it would consider offering to exchange my unused tickets for a future concert. I received a reply from Adam Cady, the box office manager. He said that he was sorry for "the confusion" (which was all mine) and offered a trade with a few exclusions. I was very grateful. I chose the Duke Ellington Orchestra in June -- just like old times. And now I will call Henry's. Kleinhans is dear to my heart.


Patricia Webdale, a retiree from Fredonia, enjoys writing for Silver Magazine and hanging out with her grandchildren.

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