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1,246 Youngsters Enjoy BPO Performance at OHS

A total of 1,246 elementary students from the CABOCES service area enjoyed a very special live performance by the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra at Olean High School on Tuesday, September 25.  The BPO kicks off their Student Concert Series each year by transporting a 73-piece orchestra to the Southern Tier.  This year, the students and their teachers learned about the The Orchestra at Work, which is part of the BPO’s Music for Youth Concert Series, which began (in some form) in 1935.  The BPO gave a morning concert featuring classical music and narration for students in grades K-2.  The professional musicians then gave a similar afternoon performance for students in grades 3-6.

Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra Concert Host Leah Wietig told the students the orchestra is made up of different types of people, each with a different job, who all work together to stage a performance for the audience, who are also an important part of any BPO performance.

With the aid of a computer and projector, she explained there are four groups of instruments in the orchestra (string, percussion, woodwind, brass) which all bring their own unique sound to the orchestra’s full sound.

Ms. Wietig then talked to the children about the important job of the conductor.  With help from BPO Conductor Todd Craven, she described the important functions of the conductor in leading the orchestra by providing a steady beat, setting the tempo, and dynamics, among other things.

BPO concerts for children are very interactive with students being encouraged to clap along to the music.  The children in the audience at OHS were also encouraged to use their “spider hands,” “windshield wiper arms,” and “big alligator mouths” –- which they had learned about before the concert back at their home schools -- to mimic the sounds they heard coming from the orchestra.  The youngsters were also challenged to perform a few of the unique hand movements used by the conductor to keep all of the musicians on pace.

Next, Ms. Wietig talked about the important function of the composer in creating the music played by the orchestra.  She talked about several important composers in musical history, as well as some modern composers.  The BPO played several pieces from both old and new composers.

And finally, the students learned about several other “behind the scenes” jobs important to any BPO concert -- including the box office manager, ushers, stagehands, and the music librarian.

The BPO performs annually for approximately 50,000 students in Western New York.  Most of the concerts take place at Kleinhan’s Music Hall in Buffalo, but OHS is one of two schools in Western New York, the BPO travels to in order to give performances.

Each year, a talented team of music teachers, staff and musicians develop the School Concert Series.  The BPO Education department links their performances to the Common Core Learning Standards and provides curriculum material for use in the classroom.  All districts received these resources prior to the shows.  Teachers were encouraged to use the resources to prepare their students for the performance.  The information is also available on the BPO website (https://bpo.org/community-engagement/education/).

According to the BPO’s Director of Education and Community Engagement Robin Parkinson, “The BPO is incredibly proud to start our season of youth concerts in Olean each year, performing for our neighbors in Cattaraugus and Allegany Counties.  It is gratifying to be able to take the orchestra on the road and play for students who can’t make it to Buffalo (for a performance).”

CABOCES has been instrumental in bringing the BPO to its component schools’ students for decades.  Thank you to the Olean, Franklinville, Hinsdale, Scio, and Wellsville school districts for allowing their students to attend the BPO performance and for promoting the arts in their education.

CABOCES Arts in Education helps schools enrich the lives of their students by providing opportunities to experience the performing arts.

If the idea of music as education piques your interest, please call CABOCES Arts and Extracurricular Coordinator Jean Oliverio at 716-376-8323 to find out more about Arts In Education, CoSer 403.

 

CABOCES Arts and Extracurricular Coordinator Jean Oliverio welcomes the audience to the BPO performance.

Students sing along as the orchestra plays "My Country 'Tis of Thee."