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Free BPO 'Concert for Healing' happening Sunday

The concert will be the first time the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra has performed at the Johnnie B. Wiley Amateur Athletic Sports Pavilion.

BUFFALO, N.Y. — Johnnie B. Wiley Amateur Athletic Sports Pavillion is usually a place for kids to play sports, music, and learn new skills. 

"Johnnie B. Wiley was an advocate for youth for the East Side," said Director Cedric Holloway, who is Wiley's son. "He did a lot of things for the youth planning board, and the East Side and youth in particular, so when this facility was going to be re-named, because it was focused on youth activity and youth sports." 

In the two months since the shooting at the Tops grocery store just down the street, the facility has fulfilled a lot of needs in the community.  

"We've done quite a bit," Holloway said. "The Red Cross has come with their army, and we've had food giveaways, mental health counseling, grief counseling for all that would come. It was quite the area to be here. It was ground zero." 

Next, the original home of the Buffalo Bills, will host a historic musical performance. 

"We're about to embark on a first. We're going to have the Buffalo Philharmonic come and play for our community and our neighborhood," Holloway said. "Our neighborhood, which is healing, which should be growing. When I called the Buffalo Philharmonic to do this, it was without hesitation that they agreed. We sat, we got together on a date, and it's happening on Sunday." 

"We're so honored that we were invited to play in the Johnnie B. Wiley Pavillion." said Maestro JoAnn Falletta. 

She will lead the concert along with Assistant Conductor Jaman E. Dunn. The program will celebrate music by Black composers, and feature vocalists Julian Cook and Sigourney Cook.  

"Our orchestra is coming with great anticipation and great respect, and still tremendous grief," Falletta said. "The best thing we can do is offer music as a comfort because it does help. " 

"A concert can mean a lot," Holloway said. "Hopefully the community is responsive and comes through, we've got this large facility, that they can enjoy, bring your blanket, and just sit and listen to the Buffalo Philharmonic." 

The free show is set for 4 p.m. Sunday, July 24. In the event of bad weather, it will move to Kleinhans Music Hall on Symphony Circle. 

For more information about events and programs at Johnnie B. Wiley Pavilion, click here

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