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BPO's summer season has free concerts, fireworks

In the summer, life gets simpler and lighter. We put aside our heavy winter wear and exchange it for T-shirts and sandals and head outside to do all sorts of things we did indoors.

The same is true for the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra which undergoes its own summer metamorphosis.

This weekend the BPO performs back-to-back concerts with bands – with Hanson on its “String Theory” Live Tour on June 7 and the Strictly Hip playing the Tragically Hip on June 8. After that, the BPO heads outside – often in smaller numbers – to perform at such spots as M&T Plaza, Artpark, Clarence Town Park, Letchworth State Park and Old Fort Niagara. Many of the concerts – such as at Bidwell Park and North Park Academy – are free; others come with fireworks like the annual Independence Eve celebration with the Buffalo Bisons.

Here's where you can see the BPO this summer. For ticketed events and more info, visit bpo.org.

• June 7: Hanson, "String Theory" live with the BPO in Kleinhans Music Hall. 8 p.m.

• June 8: BPO Rocks with the Strictly Hip playing the music of the Tragically Hip, 8 p.m.

• July 3: KeyBank Independence Eve at Sahlen Field, following the 6:05 p.m. Buffalo Bisons' game. Paul Ferington comes out of retirement to lead the BPO and BPO Chorus.

• July 5: Pride at the Falls at Goat Island, 7 p.m.; free.

• July 7: Ellicottville Music Festival, 8 p.m. at Holiday Valley Resort, Ellicottville. The BPO is in concert for the 26th year at this annual event, which features the " 1812 Overture" and "The Stars and Stripes Forever" performed to fireworks.

• July 9: Bidwell Park, 7 p.m.; free.

• July 11: North Park Academy, 7 p.m.; free.

• July 13: East Side Festival at the Central Terminal, 3 to 9 p.m.; free. The event starts with music by Colored Musicians Club, Junior Gospel Choir and the African American Cultural Center. Tours will be offered and various cultural organizations such as the Buffalo History Museum, Torn Space Theater, Buffalo and Erie County Library and Buffalo Museum of Science, will be on hand with exhibits and activities. The BPO concert is at 7 p.m. with JoAnn Falletta conducting music from the 1920s and '30s.

• July 19: "The Music of Queen" at the Reg Lenna Center in Jamestown, 7:30 p.m. Broadway star Tony Vincent sings and Brent Havens of Windborne Music will lead the BPO. Tickets are $35 to $75; visit reglenna.org or call 484-7070.

• July 20: Video Games Live at Kleinhans Music Hall, 7:30 p.m. This interactive event features iconic video game music along with a light show and video game footage. It is hosted by video game composer Tommy Tallarico. Tickets are $29 to $79.

• July 23: M&T Bank Plaza Series, 11:45 a.m.; free.

• July 24: Clarence Town Park, 7 p.m.; free.

• July 27: Letchworth State Park, 8 p.m. JoAnn Falletta leads the BPO in this concert featuring fireworks over the gorge. The concert is free; there are two concert packages available for purchase.

• July 31: Sarah McLachlan with the BPO, 8 p.m. at Artpark. Canadian singer and songwriter McLachlan joins the BPO in an evening of song. Tickets are $57 to $87; artpark.net.

• Aug. 3: Niawanda Park, 7 p.m.; free.

• Aug. 4: Old Fort Niagara, 8 p.m. Music and fireworks. A family four-pack is available for $119.

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