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Celebrating the designers of Klenihans Music Hall

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WBFO News photo by Eileen Buckley
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A birthday celebration was held Thursday to celebrate the father-son team who designed Kleinhans Music Hall 75 years ago. The Saairnens were born August 20, 37 years apart.

The birthday event was in honor of the two Finnish architects, Eliel and Eero Saarinen, who created  specifically to be the home of the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra. Seventy-five years later, it is still the BPO's  home.

"It was the intent of the people, 75 years ago, that this would be a hall that would be in a neighborhood, that would serve the community surrounded it, but as a whole," said Cindy Abbot Letro, BPO Board of Trustees member.  

Its Finnish designers attracted the attention of the FinnFest USA conference. The event will  be part of the 75th celebration to be held in October.

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Credit WBFO News photo by Eileen Buckley
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BPO Board of Trustee Cindy Abbot Letro.

Kleinhans is a National Historic Landmark. Chris Brown serves as chairman of the Kleinhans Music Hall Management Incorporated.  

"Over the past 75 years we estimate that over 15 million visitors have gone through the Hall. That's an average of about 200,000 visitors per year," said Brown. "It's an extraordinary amount of people coming into the building and not only experience the wonder of the architecture that is here, but more importantly to hear and learn."

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Credit WBFO News photo by Eileen Buckley
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Christopher Brown, chair of the Kleinhans Music Hall Management Inc

Thursday's celebration was held in the Mary Seaton Room across from the main concert hall. It featured a large cake in the design of the building, including the reflecting pound along Symphony Circle.

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Credit WBFO News photo by Eileen Buckley
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Birthday cake shaped like Kleinhans.

Over 75 years Kleinhans, has hosted dignitaries such as President John Kennedy and his brother Robert, classical artists and even rock concerts.

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Inside the main concert hall, restoration is underway.

The City of Buffalo owns Kleinhans. Restoration is underway that includes new seats, carpeting and archive center. Kleinhans first opened to the public on October 12, 1940.

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