Creating access for the whole community

Creating Access for the Whole Community

BPO Exceptional Kids

Working towards greater accessibility for families at the BPO Kids Family Series

BPO Kids for Exceptional Kids came out of an important relationship between the BPO and Oishei Children’s Hospital (OCH).  In partnership with the staff of OCH’s The Children’s Guild Foundation Autism Spectrum Disorder Center, the BPO works to make the BPO Kids Family Concerts more accessible and comfortable for all children, specifically those with autism spectrum disorders who face unique challenges.

The program offers a number of benefits for Exceptional Kids families, including:

    • YouTube playlists to help patrons prepare and familiarize themselves with the music to be played at each concert
    • inclusive pre-concert sensory activities provided by GiGi’s Playhouse Buffalo
    • a designated quiet space for families (in the event that children need to take a break)
    • augmentative hearing devices
    • noise-muffling headphones
    • large-font setlists of concert repertoire

Awareness and Education presentations are administered by WCHOB Autism Center professionals for BPO staff, ushers and volunteers to help increase everyone’s understanding of autism spectrum disorders and provide best practices to communicate and interact with Exceptional Kids and their families.

For more information, and to get involved please contact the Education Department at (716) 242-7808 or email education@bpo.org.

BPO Exceptional Holiday Concerts

Exclusive school-day concerts in December for group attendance.

The BPO Exceptional Holiday Concerts are developed specifically to enhance the BPO experience for audience members facing disabilities. We performed our first Exceptional Holiday Concert in December 2015 and due to its overwhelming success, we expanded to two yearly concerts in order to serve more individuals. About 500 children and adults with developmental disabilities from several organizations have enjoyed the concerts in Mary Seaton Room. Staff from several of our partner organizations have helped in the creation and development of these concerts. They include Bornhava Early Childhood Center, Center for Handicapped Children (CHC) Learning Center, The Arc of Erie County and Buffalo Public School #84 (Healthcare Center for Children at ECMC Mission).

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Concerts are performed in the Mary Seaton Room at Kleinhans Music Hall, to accommodate the flexible seating needed for wheelchairs and floor seating for the youngest audience members. The program itself is very visual and interactive and the BPO musicians and staff welcome the audience to react to the music in any way they feel comfortable.

Some of the feedback we received from those attending these concerts:

“Words cannot describe how much the students, as well as the staff, absolutely loved the performance. Being able to be up close to the action was so beneficial for the students by keeping them engaged throughout.  With musicians, ballerinas, dancers, sing-a-longs, and playing of the bells provided, they were able to feel involved.”

“I hope the BPO continues this amazing event every year, and I would love to be able to bring even more students to this fantastic performance.”

“AMAZING…What a wonderful morning we all spent at Kleinhans with the BPO. You should be so very proud…the morning was perfect in every way.”

For more information, and to get involved, please contact the Education Department at (716) 242-7808 or email education@bpo.org.

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Special Partnerships

Working towards greater accessibility through partnerships with local organizations.

The BPO enjoys a partnership with The Summit Center which provides educational, behavioral health, adult, and community programs to 1,350 children and adults each year with developmental, social and behavioral challenges. Their elementary and high school level participants engage with BPO musician Teaching Artists once a month through a series of interactive workshops on site, in addition to attendance at our Exceptional Holiday Concert at Kleinhans Music Hall.

If you are part of an organization that has interest in developing a program, please contact the Education Department at (716) 242-7808 or email education@bpo.org.