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Mary Kunz Goldman


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Jerry Herman is alive and well and living in Miami. That was just one great thing the audience learned Oct. 19, as the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra gave the first of two concerts celebrating the work of the great Broadway composer. Herman is 86, and has every reason to be proud of his decades' worth of achievements. The songs from his shows shine. They shine partic…

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It can be fun to buy into Halloween's recent commercialism. To flaunt factory-made costumes and to traipse through high-tech haunted houses. But it can be far more powerful -- more haunting, shall we say -- to take our cue from centuries past, and celebrate a grassroots Halloween. Don't panic. You are still allowed a ton of spookiness. History is on your side. The Fe…

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It's early in the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra's season, but I am going to make a prediction. I think that in June, when we look back and take stock of the year, this weekend's concert will emerge as one of the highlights. There is the passionate performance of Rachmaninoff's seldom-heard Symphony No. 3. And a very lovely creation of Buffalo native Robert Paterson, ca…

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When you go to any concert led by John Morris Russell, the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra's principal pops conductor, you know you're going to have a good time. Russell always promises you that much. "We are going to have fun tonight," he yells from the podium. And we do. The Oct. 6 pops concert, a tribute to Motown, covered all the bases. The BPO was rocking. The br…

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The Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra has brought us, in the past, loads of Russian drama. But the performance Sept. 29 took the cake. The first half featured the young South Korean pianist Hye-Jin Kim playing one of the great warhorses of all time, Tchaikovsky's massive Piano Concerto No. 1. And after intermission Music Director JoAnn Falletta conducted Prokofiev's Sym…

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No one does Gershwin the way the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra does. John Morris Russell, the BPO's principal pops conductor, proved that when he started out the pops season with a Gershwin birthday celebration. It is a happy day for Buffalo when the pops season starts back up again. Russell must feel that way too. He was full of pep and good cheer. He began the nig…

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Freude! Joy! That's the emotion that rings out in the famous finale to Beethoven's Ninth Symphony, the culmination of the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra's season-opening gala on Saturday night. You could call the entire concert an ode to joy. For starters, there was great news on the money front. The BPO has joined a small and elite group of lucky orchestras who c…

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The Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra's fall season is like autumn itself -- ablaze in color, and with surprises around every bend. The season-opening gala at 8 p.m. Sept. 15 features the great American baritone Thomas Hampson. Hampson has not been heard in Buffalo since the 1994, when he gave a recital on the old QRS concert series. Handsome opera star Hampson is openi…

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Sometimes the best things in life really are free. The Buffalo Chamber Music Society was able to get soprano Julia Bullock for its first free Gift to the Community Concert this season. Clementina Fleshler of the BCMS described her glowingly: "She has not only a gorgeous voice but makes a great connection with the audience." Bullock has packed such venues as the Natio…

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Buffalo beer history is all around us, if we just know where to look. All we have to do is drink it in. At one point, Buffalo was home to hundreds of breweries. The number fell when Prohibition descended, but when the ban was lifted, the business bounced back. Many of the brick behemoths that once housed breweries are still around us — some in ruins, others repurpose…

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At a meat raffle, you get more than a chance at steaks and sausage. You get a chance to step back to the Paleo era. Surely this entertainment dates to prehistoric times. Folks gather in a hall, quaff ale, and spend cash on raffle tickets in hopes of winning steaks, pork loins and sausage. Meat raffles originated, so scholars say, in Britain's pubs. Over the las…

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The Buffalo Philharmonic's Classics season is going out with a bang. For sheer crowd appeal, it is hard to beat the final program. Music Director JoAnn Falletta is conducting Rachmaninoff's "Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini" and Ottorino Respighi's "The Fountains of Rome" and "The Pines of Rome" ... what is not to love? No wonder a big crowd turned out for the Saturday n…

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"Solo," the new "Star Wars" movie, is bound to be brimming with special effects. But at Dipson Flix Stadium 10 in Lancaster, when the movie opens May 25, the biggest visual miracle won't be on the movie screen. That miracle will be in the crowd. Ronan Christian, 12, will be watching the movie with his parents and 17-year-old brother, Aidan. Until just weeks ago, Rona…

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The Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra has chosen a new assistant conductor. He is Todd Craven. Craven is the music director of the Orlando Contemporary Chamber Orchestra and has served as a cover conductor for the Detroit Symphony. At the BPO, he succeeds Stefan Sanders, who is leaving at the end of the summer season to focus on his new positions as music director of the F…

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History is hot in Buffalo. You need water to cool it down. Which is where the Buffalo River History Tours come in. They are as much a part of Buffalo's waterfront as the big Labatt beer cans. The River Queen, the tour's original craft, holds 48 passengers and handled many of the tours before Memorial Day. Now that summer is in full swing, the main tour boat is the Ha…