There’s no party like a Buffalo party, especially when it’s a collaborative effort. The Buffalo Philharmonic Pops Party on March 12 before Pink Martini’s BPO debut will be such an affair, with drinks, dinner and music to remember, all to benefit the orchestra.
Prohibition devastated Buffalo’s once-thriving brewing and distilling industry. The industry began its renaissance with the craft brewery phenomenon, but it took longer for the distilling to return. Lockhouse Distillery is the first distillery to open in the city of Buffalo since Prohibition. Guests to the Pops Party can toast Buffalo’s new era with a classic or a signature raspberry martini crafted with Lockhouse’s fine spirits.
If you’re a lover of Buffalo’s music scene, you’ve probably crossed paths Colleen Williams and Bobby Jones. Colleen’s silken voice and Bobby’s astonishing keyboard chops have entertained audiences at the Albright-Knox Summer Jazz Series, The Tralf, and Artpark, and hundreds of other venues. They take the stage in the Mary Seaton Room during happy hour.
For more than a decade, Kleinhans Music Hall has partnered with North Buffalo institution Oliver’s. Oliver’s is the exclusive caterer for the hall and their chef has put together a mouth-watering menu. The carving station features rack of pork with apricot chutney and whole-grain mustard emulsion; roasted breast of turkey with cranberry sage gastrique; and sweet and white potatoes gratine. The Asian station offers teriyaki glazed salmon and vegetarian options in the form of stir-fry bok choy and Asian noodle salad with julienne vegetable and soy ginger dressing. Dessert and coffee will be available after dinner.
The night’s main event is the BPO debut of Pink Martini, one of the most eclectic and exciting musical acts performing today. Pink Martini got their start in Portland, Oregon, as founder Thomas Lauderdale’s answer to the bland “entertainment” he consistently encountered at political fundraisers. The band has grown far beyond the local fundraiser circuit, performing around the world and releasing 15 albums on their own label. Their regular guest artists include NPR’s Ari Shapiro, Cantor Ida Rae Cahana, koto player Masumi Timson, harpist Maureen Love, and Kim Hastreiter (the publisher/editor-in-chief of Paper magazine).
Their frontwoman, Storm Large, is a force unto herself. Those who followed the Buffalo Philharmonic’s landmark 2013 trip to the Spring For Music festival at Carnegie Hall may remember her name; she also performed at the festival that year, singing with the Detroit Symphony Orchestra. Her memoir, “Crazy Enough,” was released by Simon & Schuster in 2012, and won the 2013 Oregon Book Award for Creative Nonfiction. She performs with her own band, Le Bonheur, which just released a new album.
Pink Martini is perhaps one of those bands that you simply have to see for yourself. Reviewers around the country have struggled to describe their sound. They’ve been called a “little orchestra” due to the size and diversity of sounds they create. Yet you will hear a lot of songs you recognize in a Pink Martini performance. They use elements of classical music, world music, and international pop to create something that sounds both adventurous and familiar at the same time. In that way, their moniker fits: while you can get a martini in any self-respecting bar in the country, a Pink Martini offers a twist on this classic.
Stefan Sanders, the well-liked Associate Conductor of the BPO, will lead the show. While concert tickets will be sold continuously until they are gone, reservations for the Pops Party must be placed by Monday, March 7. Call Cate Bearss at (716) 242-7825 or visit bpo.org to purchase tickets. Proceeds fund all aspects of the orchestra’s operations, from education programs to recording projects and beyond.
- Pops Party: 6 PM Saturday, March 12 in the Mary Seaton Room at Kleinhans Music Hall, 3 Symphony Circle, Buffalo NY. A package including dinner and concert ticket is $150. Purchase by Monday, March 7 by calling (716) 242-7825 or visiting bpo.org
- Pink Martini concert: 8 PM Saturday, March 12 with the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra at Kleinhans. Tickets will be available until sold out and can be purchased by calling (716) 885-5000, visiting bpo.org, or coming to the Kleinhans Box Office between 9 AM and 5 PM weekdays. Tickets start at $34.