The first Medina concert was held Oct. 1, 1998. The idea began as a late-winter afternoon pipe-dream between Skip Draper and Chris Busch, both of Medina.

Their reverie: “Wouldn’t it be something if we could get the Buffalo Philharmonic to come to Medina ... and wouldn’t it really be something if the concert were held in St. Mary’s Church.”  

Draper had later taken a chance and contacted the BPO, asking if such an event might be possible ... and they said yes.  

Soon, they were meeting with Paul Ferington and the rest, as they say, is history.

Draper and Busch went on to form the Orleans Renaissance Group, Inc. along with Marsha Winters, and the late Sally

Webster. Their original mission was to bring cultural events to the Medina/Orleans County area, and so they did.  

The BPO performed in Medina, and appeared to a sold-out audience at St. Mary’s Church on several occasions.  

However, times and lives changed, and the group went on “hiatus.”

Today they’re back — back with new blood, renewed vigor, and a bigger mission.

Draper, Busch and Winters have been joined by the likes of Andrew Meier, Diane and Bruce Krenning, Adam Tabelski, Aaron Grabowski, Ginny Kropf, Lynne Menz and many others. The group continues to grow. They are more committed than ever to their mission to bring cultural events to the area.

The group has hosted three holiday concerts: One with the Greycliffe String Quartet and two with the BPO Brass Quintet at Medina’s First Presbyterian Church.

They have partnered with St. Mary’s Church to assist with the on-going pipe organ restoration, and have been involved with this year’s ecumenical Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols, also at St. Mary’s.

More concerts are planned. A huge event with Ric Jones and the Genesee Chorale and Orchestra is being planned for this coming May, and pipe organ “crawls” are under discussion along with future dates for the BPO.

They have a Web site and Facebook page up and running, and among other things have acquired the Civil War-era Bent’s Opera House in Medina with a vision for renovation and reuse as an entertainment destination.

Most importantly they have renewed their relationship for the long-term with the BPO, and will bring the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra back to St. Mary’s Church.

It is being billed as a “triumphant return.”

“That it is,” said Busch. “Those who remember the early concerts will recall what stunning performances they were — a triumph.  A world-renown orchestra performing in one of the most beautiful sanctuaries in Western New York; surrounded by works of art, architecture and stained glass. Simply beautiful. Unsurpassed in Medina.”

The two-time Grammy Award winning orchestra will perform a program of Schubert, Mozart and Dvorak in the historic sanctuary on Feb. 17, under the baton of Maestro Ferington.

“The Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra is delighted beyond words to once again be with our friends in Medina!,” said Ferington. “We are so excited to return to the gracious hospitality, opulent St. Mary’s setting, and contagious energy that Medina supporters provide.”

Tickets for the event are $20 and are available at A.M. Smith Group Insurance in Lockport; the Shirt Factory Café, The Book Shoppe and Holy Trinity Rectory in Medina; Fischer’s Newsroom in Albion; Roxy’s Music in Batavia; The Lighthouse Restaurant in Point Breeze; and online at the Orleans Renaissance Group’s Web site www.  

Barring an early sellout, tickets will be available at the door the night of the concert.

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