BPO Diversity Council IDEA Award

BPO Opening Doors

Honoring the recipients of the BPO Diversity Council IDEA Award

Thank you to everyone who joined us for our BPO Diversity Council’s Opening Doors event on Friday, June 23 at the Clement House! It was a huge success, raising awareness and funds for the Diversity Council’s initiatives to promote inclusion, diversity, equity, and access in classical music. There were 150 people in attendance, over $10,700 was raised and we were able to honor Ella E. Robinson and the Community Music School of Buffalo for their incredible work promoting IDEA in music. Music from Vibrant Strings and Jukeboxx Band and food by Kat Tyler of Em Tea Coffeecup Cafe topped off the evening. Bravo to all!

View a photo slideshow from the event below!

Thank you to our Sponsors:

Vanda & Paul Albera
Peter & Maria Eliopoulos
Cindy & Francis Letro
Independent Health
Mark Chason & Mariana Botero Chason
Heathwood Assisted Living & Memory Care
Anne Conable
Arthur & Elaine Cryer
Barbara & Daniel Hart
Mark & Stacy Parkinson

And to so many others who made this event possible!

BPO Diversity Council IDEA Award

Honoring those in our community who create an inclusive, diverse, equitable and accessible environment in which music flourishes

The orchestral music world should reflect, and be accessible to our whole community. We seek to break down barriers for participation, especially for those who are underrepresented in the artform.

We recognize that we must all work together as a community to create an inclusive, diverse, equitable, and accessible environment in which music flourishes.

To these ends, this award aims to recognize and lift up individuals and organizations in our local community who love any and all genres of orchestral music and embody the principles of inclusion, diversity, equity and access (IDEA) while promoting, supporting, and/or practicing this artform.

2023 Awardees

Ella E. Robinson

The BPO Diversity Council honors Ella E. Robinson for her incredible lifetime of work connecting people across communities and musical genres, and promoting music-making and music appreciation for all who come in contact with her.

Composer, conductor, songwriter, educator and recording artist, Ella E. Robinson is currently the Minister of Music for St. Martin de Porres R.C. Church, a musician for the Greater Hope Baptist Church and is also the founder and director of the New Beginning Choral Ensemble. She has been awarded over 13 citations from the Buffalo City Common Council, Erie County and The State of New York Legislature. She, along with The New Beginnings Choral Ensemble, have performed in concert with the late Marvin Hamlisch, opera star Kathleen Battle and for President Bill Clinton. Her original composition, “I Needs A Touch”, was recorded on the largest selling album in the history of the Gospel Music Workshop of America and was on the top 10 Gospel Chart and Billboard for over 40 weeks.

Although officially retired, Ella continues to teach and mentor, and has been instrumental in the formation of the new Buffalo United Community Choir.

Community Music School of Buffalo

The BPO Diversity Council honors the Community Music School of Buffalo (CMS) for creating access and opportunities for music learning regardless of age, socio-economic status or geographic location with a special focus on breaking down real or perceived barriers for our underserved community members.

CMS is committed to providing musical public service programs to Western New York and quality music instruction for individuals of all ages and abilities regardless of aspirations or financial resources. The professional faculty and administrative staff, together with the volunteers, believe that anyone who has a genuine interest in music can benefit from study and deserves the opportunity to pursue it.