When Lauren Scanio was young, she was in attendance at a performance by the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra and saw a high school flute player given the opportunity to play alongside them. She said to herself, “I want that to be me someday.”
That day has arrived.
Scanio will have the rare privilege of playing a solo performance of Chaminade’s Concertino in D major as the Buffalo Philharmonic makes its return to Clarence Town Park at 7 p.m. Wednesday, July 15.
It will mark the first time since 2008 that the band has visited Clarence, when the orchestra played as part of the town’s bicentennial celebration.
“I’ve been going to concerts in Clarence in the town park for summers on end so it’s pretty cool that I get to play there now,” said Scanio.
The Buffalo Philharmonic presents more than 100 concerts a year, many of which are held at Kleinhans Music Hall, a National Historic Landmark and the orchestra’s home since 1940.
Under the leadership of music director JoAnn Falletta, the BPO is one of the nation’s most prominent symphony orchestras.
The BPO made its debut at Canalside’s ever-popular free Thursday concert series last year, and will return this year with a brand new set. The orchestra will perform a show to serve as a tribute to Stevie Wonder, and have built the musical charts from scratch in preparation. They will perform alongside Critt’s Juke Joint, a local blues and funk band led by saxophonist-keyboardist Eric Crittenden.
Scanio will get to play alongside the musicians as they gear up for a set of summer performances at venues across Western New York. A 2015 graduate of Clarence High School, she plans to continue her studies as a flutist at the Manhattan School of Music in the fall.
She will study under Michael Parloff, who was the principal flutist of the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra from 1977 until his retirement in 2008. His recital and concerto soloist performances have been heard throughout North America, Europe and Japan.
It won’t be the first time Scanio has studied under a flutist of prominence, either. She is currently taught by Christine Bailey Davis of the BPO, who Scanio views as a mentor. Bailey Davis has been the orchestra’s principal flutist since 1995.
On her decision to attend the Manhattan School of Music, Scanio says that she’s always viewed New York as a place in which aspiring musicians flock to.
“I really love New York City,” she said. “If you want to go all in for music, New York City is the place to be.”
Scanio’s tuition costs will be helped out in part by her talents. She is the second-place winner of the Friends of the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra Scholarship, for which she’ll receive $2,000 in tuition. The award selects talented young people who are pursuing music in their future studies. The scholarships are available to high school seniors from Erie and Niagara County.
Scanio’s dream to one day play in a philharmonic or symphony orchestra is not the result of a gradual interest during years of practice and training. Instead, Scanio has been in love with music and performing for as long as she can remember. She started piano when she was just 4 years old, and flute at 9.
“Honestly, I’ve really never even thought about doing anything else, just because I was so career driven at such a young age,” she said. “It just stuck with me and there’s never been any question.”
While playing with the BPO will represent the best group of performers she’s played with to date, and even with the added pressure of knowing that many family and friends will be in attendance at the Clarence concert, Scanio remains adamant that she’s not going to change her routine in order to prepare.
“I have a pretty strict regimen,” she said. “I’ll definitely have some extra motivation, but as far as my actual preparations, I’m just going to keep doing what I’m doing.”
It’s worked well for her so far.