M&T Bank's Plaza Event Series celebrated the beginning of its 50th season Monday, announcing it is believed to be the longest-running free concert series of its kind in the United States.
"Strengthening a city doesn’t happen through building projects alone," said M&T President and COO Rich Gold. "It also takes experiences and events that bring the community together and cultivate connections. The Plaza Event Series has done exactly that throughout its 50 years, becoming part of the fabric of the downtown community.”
This season's 11-week series of noontime prformances launched with a used musical instrument drive to benefit local students. Instruments collected will go to Buffalo Public Schools for use by students who do not have access to their own musical instrument.
"This drive will give new life to instruments stowed away in attics and garages by putting them into the hands of local students who want to learn a new instrument or take their talents to the next level," said M&T Regional President for Western New York Shelley Drake, "and who knows, maybe the Plaza Event Series headliner, 10 or 20 years from now, will be a local student who received an instrument through our musical instrument drive.”
Among the festivities was proclamations presented by both Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz and Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown to M&T Bank. There also was a lunchbox giveaway for attendees.
Buffalo's singing cops, Armonde "Moe" Badger and Michael Norwood Jr., performed their now signature song first made popular by The Temptations, "I Got Sunshine," before local band JoyRyde took the stage as the main event.