Be the Buffalo Sings Champion!

Do you want to be the Buffalo Sings champion?

Here’s how to enter for a chance to perform with the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra!

Download entry form

Download Somewhere Over the Rainbow Lyrics

Download Somewhere Over The Rainbow Music

What is the Buffalo Sings champion? We are looking for a talented Western New Yorker to sing “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” at the “Buffalo Sings” concert with the Buffalo Philharmonic under the direction of John Morris Russell on Saturday, April 14. This classic song was written by the great Harold Arlen, who was a native of Buffalo! From video submissions, we will select up to 20 finalists, who will face off in a live final round on March 1.

Who is eligible to enter? Anyone older than 14 who lives within a 60-mile radius of Buffalo.

How do I enter?  Download and fill out the application below. Email Kenny Budziszewski at and a MIDI version of “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” will be sent to you. Shoot a video of yourself performing the song with this version only. Applicants who use a different version will be disqualified. You may upload the video to a site such as YouTube or Vimeo, or you may use a file transfer service such as Dropbox or WeTransfer to submit the video. If you attach it to an email, it will not clear the BPO’s server, and we will not receive your video. Email your link and completed application to

What is the deadline to enter? Videos and completed applications must be received by 11:59 PM on Wednesday, January 31.

Should I hire someone to make my video, do my makeup, design a costume, or teach me choreography? As long as you present yourself well and can be heard clearly, the quality of the video will have no effect on the judges’ decision.

What are the judges looking for? Someone with a dynamite voice, who can inject emotion and energy into the music, and who has stage presence.

When will I know if I was chosen as a finalist? Our panel of judges will select up to 20 finalists on February 16. If you were selected, you will receive notification at that time.

Yay! They picked me as a finalist! What now? The 20 finalists will be announced to the entire world on Monday, Feb. 19. They will face off in live finals on Thursday, March 1 at 7 PM in the Mary Seaton Room at Kleinhans Music Hall. At that time, they will perform “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” with an accompanist. The event will be live-streamed on Facebook. The champion will be selected that night.

But I don’t have an accompanist! That’s OK. We’ll provide you with contact information for one.

What will happen if I win? You will sing “Somewhere Over the Rainbow,” accompanied by the BPO and conducted by John Morris Russell, on the “Buffalo Sings” concert on Saturday, April 14. You’ll have an opportunity to rehearse with the orchestra prior to the performance. The concert is part of our KeyBank Pops Series and takes place in Kleinhans’ Main Hall.

Will there be other requirements of me throughout the process? We will issue a press release announcing the finalists, and it’s possible that media outlets may want to interview you in support of a story. We will also promote your participation on social media.

I am not comfortable with my image or video being used on social media, or with giving an interview to the media. Can I still enter? Both social and traditional media are key components of promoting this concert. As such, your participation as a finalist is essential. If you are not comfortable with this, we ask that you not enter.

What will become of my video? By submitting this video to the BPO, you agree that the BPO may use this video for purposes of promoting the Buffalo Sings concert and contest. You will retain all other rights to this content, including use on your personal social media accounts.

What if I cannot make one of the dates? Unfortunately, these dates are fixed. If you already know you are unable to perform at the finals or at the concert, you should not enter. If something comes up, you will have to bow out.

Can I talk about this on my personal social media? Please do!

I have a question that was not addressed here. Contact Kate Jenkins at for assistance.