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Buffalo String Works aims to expand, March benefit concert features international acts

Buffalo String Works

After-school music program Buffalo String Works, who currently serves immigrants and refugees on Buffalo’s West Side, plan to expand their operations in the coming years. In an effort to raise funds, the non-profit is announcing their 2021 Spring Benefit Concert will include internationally-renowned musicians and an original composition created for the community.


“Our big dreams are to double our enrollment by 2024,” said Executive Director of Buffalo String Works (BSW) Yuki Numata Resnick.


Resnick wants to increase their student base to 200 plus in just three years. To raise awareness, the current group, made up mostly from members of the local Burmese community, will perform a piece of music written just for them at BSW's 7th annual benefit concert.


“The name of the concert  is ’They Would Only Walk’ and that name is taken from the world premiere of a piece written for our students by Mary Kouyoumdjian," Resnick said. "She's an Armenian-American composer based in New York City. And she came to work with our students at Buffalo String Works. And she created this incredible piece that not only features our students playing musical material, but also the voices of our students and parents talking about their journeys from their countries of origin to Buffalo, New York.”


One of the musicians joining students this year is Gail Ann Dorsey, best known for playing with David Bowie from 1995 until his death in 2016.




Dorsey will be joined by indie-rock band The National, Richard Reed Parry of Arcade Fire, and other local and national groups.


Resnick said BSW is also partnering with Buffalo Public School 76, the Herman Badillo Bilingual Academy, as they expand geographically. 


“We have big dreams here at Buffalo String Works," Resnick said. "And by putting on this benefit concert, our goal is to first of all bring attention to our students. And we're hoping that we'll be able to reach far beyond the Western New York community.”

More information for the on demand virtual conert running from March 20 until March 27 can be found here.

Resnick said they are also looking for instrument donations and that future additions to BSW could include piano and percussion.

"I know lots of folks have great aunt Edna's violin hanging out in their attic, we'll take that off your hands," she said. "And we will give that violin a new home in the hands of one of our students."


Nick Lippa leads our Arts & Culture Coverage, and is also the lead reporter for the station's Mental Health Initiative, profiling the struggles and triumphs of those who battle mental health issues and the related stigma that can come from it.