The Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra's instruments have made it safely to the cargo hub in Liege, Belgium.
The customs process went smoothly. Staffers, led by a cargo expert identified only as Giuliano, removed the instruments from the pallets and loaded them onto a HEED truck. It was a little tricky to make it all fit into one truck, but they did it.
Now the instruments are on their way to Wroclaw, where the BPO will give its first concert on March 18.
BPO musicians and staff also are finding their way to where they are supposed to be.
Daniel Hart, the orchestra's executive director, spent a few hours in Warsaw before heading to Krakow. The delay was because he missed his connecting flight. In Krakow, he updated his Facebook profile picture to a strange shot of himself inside a huge head.
Members of the BPO Wind Octet are in Luslawice, where on March 15 and 16, they will be performing and giving master classes. On March 17, the wind octet will perform in Buffalo’s sister city, Rzeszow.
The musicians in the octet are: Henry Ward (principal oboe), Anna Mattix (English horn/oboe), William Amsel (the new principal clarinet), Patricia DiLutis (clarinet), Glenn Einshlag (principal bassoon), Max Pipinich (bassoon), Jacek Muzyk (principal horn), and Daniel Kerdelewicz (associate principal horn).
The octet left Buffalo ahead of the rest of the orchestra. The musicians' flight on Air Canada was not without its moments to remember. One came when Henry Ward was scrolling through the in-flight entertainment. He spotted, among the recording options, the BPO’s recording with pianist Alain LeFevre.
JoAnn Falletta, the orchestra's music director, has also reached Poland.
She sent a picture of herself from Krakow. Apparently the head that got Dan Hart got her, too. Falletta is shown peeking out of the eye, the way Hart was. She flashes the same smile we are used to seeing her smiling in Buffalo.
At this point, we had to do a little research (i.e., Googling "Krakow Huge Head").
The mysterious head is a sculpture formally called "Eros Bendato" by the late Polish artist Ito Mitaraj. It seems the sculpture was rather controversial but has found a home in a central square in Krakow where it has become a popular landmark affectionately known as, you guessed it, "the Head."
If all this just sounds like too much fun and you want to grab a quick flight to Poland, you had better act fast. Three of the four full-orchestra performances (Warsaw, Katowice, and Lublin) are nearly sold out.
The BPO musicians still remaining in Buffalo -- the bulk of the orchestra -- are scheduled to fly to Poland March 15. At 1 p.m., buses are scheduled to leave from Kleinhans Music Hall, carrying them to Toronto.
The orchestra is divided into two travel groups and will take two buses. One group will fly to Brussels, Belgium, and the other flies to London, England. If all goes as planned, the two groups will be reunited in Prague in the Czech Republic at midday on March 17. They will then board a bus for the four-and-a-half hour trip to Wroclaw (Raht-slav). .
The News will continue to post frequent updates on the BPO's Poland spring.