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Bishop Fisher Education Features

Bishop and students travel the world with BPO


Bishop Michael W. Fisher visited Kleinhans Music Hall on Wednesday, Feb. 8, to join Catholic School students as they met the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra.

Bishop Michael W. Fisher welcomed Catholic School students to Kleinhan’s on Feb. 8 before the BPO performed an hourlong concert. (Photo by Patrick J. Buechi)

Fernanda Lastra, conductor for the days performance, took the kids on a worldwide tour through music in search of Sal the mule.

Explaining that rhythm and melody make up the core of music, Lastra and the orchestra showed off some African beats and Middle Eastern modes, before presenting Asian pentatonic scales and South American dance rhythms. The syncopated jazz created in the United States led them all to the Erie Canal where they found Sal the mule, a featured character in “The Erie Canal Song.” A video screen showing photos of international landmarks and native musical instruments helped illustrate where the sounds come from.

Bishop Fisher met the staff of Kleinhans before taking the stage to welcome over 1,100 students from 15 Catholic elementary schools who attended the performance.   

“It’s a great pleasure to greet you all this morning, and also to welcome you as we listen to this beautiful music,” he said. “We thank to Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra for providing this wonderful presentation of music and beauty to us today.”

Conductor Fernanda Lastra led her audience on a musical tour across the globe as the BPO performed songs from Africa, the Middle East, Asia, South America and the United States. (Photo by Patrick J. Buechi)

Founded in 1935, the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra Society Inc., employs and supports a professional major symphony orchestra of artistic excellence that is integral to Buffalo-Niagara’s vitality through the presentation of live symphonic music and other musical events, which inspire, educate and entertain the broadest possible audiences within Buffalo-Niagara and beyond.

Over the decades, the orchestra has matured in stature under outstanding music directors including William Steinberg, Josef Krips, Lukas Foss, Michael Tilson Thomas, Julius Rudel, Semyon Bychkov, and Maximiano Valdes. Many distinguished guest performers have graced the orchestra’s stage, including Sergei Rachmaninoff, Isaac Stern, Aaron Copland, Van Cliburn and Yo-Yo Ma.

Catholic school students pack the seats at Kleinhans’s Music Hall to hear the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra. (Photo by Patrick J. Buechi)

Since 1940, the orchestra’s permanent home has been Kleinhans Music Hall, a National Historic Landmark designed by Eliel and Eero Saarinen with an international reputation as one of the finest concert halls in the United States. Since its inception in 1935, the BPO has served as Buffalo’s cultural ambassador. JoAnn Falletta is the music director of the Grammy Award-winning orchestra, which presents more than 120 classics, pops, rock, kids and youth concerts each year.


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