Buffalo Philharmonic celebrates the holiday season with Irish Tenors, Polar Express, classical treasures and a visit from Santa

The Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra is gearing up for another busy holiday season, with four chances to experience the joy and magic of the holidays in concert.

For Immediate Release
Contact:Kate Jenkins
Communications Coordinator
Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra


The season begins at 7 p.m Wednesday Dec. 6 with a performance from the Irish Tenors on their Holiday Tour. Ronan Tynan, Finbar Wright and Anthony Kearns lend their soaring voices to a program of holiday classics and familiar Irish tunes such as “Forty Shades of Green,” “Let There Be Peace” and “Whiskey in the Jar.” Tynan is especially recognizable to Buffalonians, having sung “God Bless America” at many Sabres games. The tenors are known worldwide for giving fresh life to old favorites from Ireland as well as popular and classical music from around the world, and their collaboration with the BPO this holiday season is sure to inspire and delight.


On December 8 at 10:30 a.m. and December 9 at 8 p.m., JoAnn Falletta leads a treat for lovers of classical music in JoAnn’s Classical Christmas, part of M&T Bank’s Classics Series. The program features the BPO debut of acclaimed soprano Aundi Marie Moore, singing favorites such as “Ave Maria” and “Gesu Bambino.” Moore is an award-winning soloist originally from Virginia, as well as a former member of the Domingo-Cafritz Washington National Opera Young Artist Program. Benjamin Mekinulov will share the stage with his father, Roman Mekinulov, the BPO’s principal cellist performing Vivaldi’s Concerto for Two Cellos. Benjamin attends Amherst High School. The Buffalo Philharmonic Chorus led by Adam Luebke will perform seasonal pieces by Rutter, Bach and Handel with the BPO. The program includes classical holiday treasures such as the “Hallelujah Chorus” from Handel’s”Messiah,” “Dance of the Tumblers” from Rimsky-Korsakov’s “Snow Maiden,”and selections from Tchaikovsky’s “The Nutcracker,” as well as an audience sing-along of favorite Christmas carols.


Santa himself plays an integral part in the BlueCross BlueShield BPO Kids Jingle Bell Jam at 2:30 p.m. Sunday Dec. 10 when he flies into town to share stories and his favorite holiday music.This budget-friendly family concert is complete with selections from “The Nutcracker” featuring dance performances from the Royal Academy of Ballet and Verve Dance Studios and a sing-along. Come at 1:30 p.m. to make cards for the men and women in the United States military stationed far from home this holiday season. After the show, children and parents are invited to have milk and cookies with Santa and Mrs. Claus. The BPO also encourages audience members to bring a new, unwrapped donation for Toys for Tots to the show, as Kleinhans is an official drop-off location for the charity.


The BPO’s holiday season concludes with John Morris Russell’s Holiday Pops. There are four opportunities to enjoy this show: Friday Dec. 15at 10:30 a.m. and 8 p.m., Saturday Dec. 16 at 8 p.m., and Sunday Dec. 17 at 2:30 p.m. Tickets often sell out, as thousands of Western New Yorkers attend this family tradition.

Russell’s Holiday Pops programs are inspired by the records his father used to get at Goodyear Tire or Firestone when he got the snow tires put on the car. Just like those albums, the Pops programs are varied and engaging. “It would always just be this panoply of music,” Russell recalled. “I like to have that kind of wild diversity in my holiday programs. We’re celebrating peace, love and joy and I’d like to make sure every single piece of music on the program exudes it.”

This year, the concert features Buffalo’s own Katy Miner as a soloist. Miner was formerly a section leader in the Buffalo Philharmonic Chorus, and currently performs around the city with the Katy Miner Jazz Quintet and the Cabaret Big Band and is also recognizable from her roles in local professional theater productions. The Buffalo Philharmonic Chorus and Buffalo Girlchoir lend their voices to a tremendous array of holiday music. The Normal Street Exit Trio also makes an appearance on this program, featuring the BPO’s own violinist Amy Licata, Associate Principal Bassist Brett Shurtliffe, and classical guitarist Matthew Sperber. The trio brings classical training to a Celtic sound. The centerpiece of the program is “The Polar Express,” narrated by well-known local actor Mike Randall of WKBW-TV. The BPO plays selections from the lush film score while the original illustrations from the beloved children’s book are displayed on screen above the orchestra. There are sure to be surprises when JMR brings his boundless energy to his favorite time of year!


The BPO offers a wide selection of gifts for music lovers. More than 40 CDs are available for purchase online, as well as in the Kleinhans gift shop alongside other music-themed gifts. Tickets also make the perfect gift. Concerts coming up in 2018 include classical favorites such as Bolero and Carmina Burana and Pops with the Glenn Miller Orchestra, as well as rock shows like Music of The Doors and Brass Transit: the Music of Chicago. Gift certificates are available in any amount – they offer flexibility to the recipient and never expire.


As in previous years, Kleinhans will function as a drop-off location for the Toys for Tots drive this holiday season. Toys can be brought to Kleinhans from Dec. 4-17 whenever the box office is open or a concert is held. Toys for Tots requests new, unwrapped toys to make a child’s holiday special.

For tickets to any of these concerts, visit bpo.org or call (716) 885-5000. The BPO’s box office is open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday, Saturdays 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., and Sundays from noon until to the first intermission of the event. If there is no event scheduled for Sunday, the box office will be closed.