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Arts & Culture

Buffalo Philharmonic returns to Kleinhans stage Saturday night with 9/11 commemorative concert


Saturday at 7:30 p.m. in Kleinhans Music Hall, the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra will put on a concert marking the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 tragedy. But the performances will be just as much about American spirit as it will be about remembering the victims.

The concert is known as American Resilience, and will feature pieces including America the Beautiful and God Bless America. It will also feature Broadway selections marking the reopening of New York City, including selections from Les Miserables, Man of La Mancha, the Sound of Music, and Godspell.

“It is a musical memorial to the heroes that we lost on that day, 20 years ago. But a big part of the concert is also how we have healed, how we have come together as a nation, and how we continue to move forward,” said John Morris Russell, the BPO’s Principal Pop Conductor. ”And that's part of the message that we're sending out through music, is that yes, we are looking back, but we're also looking forward as well.”

There’s something else making this concert special for the orchestra. Russell points out it’s the BPO’s first on the Kleinhans stage since last year’s COVID pause.

“It almost felt like a miracle,” he said. “As we started the rehearsal with the very first notes of Aaron Copland's Fanfare for the Common Man, there was this incredible sense of everyone on stage, that sense of wonderment, of that incredible power and magic that music brings. When everyone, all of our colleagues in the Buffalo Philharmonic were listening to each other playing, we weren't really playing as a rehearsal as much as we were playing for each other. It was a magical and electric moment.”

Tickets are general admission, but patrons may set their own price, anywhere from $0.00 to as much as one can afford. Proceeds will support the creation of a memorial honoring Western New York families who lost loved ones in the 9/11 attacks.

Michael Mroziak is an experienced, award-winning reporter whose career includes work in broadcast and print media. When he joined the WBFO news staff in April 2015, it was a return to both the radio station and to Horizons Plaza.