Buffalo Philharmonic headlines Schoellkopf Park celebration
Niagara Falls Memorial Medical Center celebrated the restoration of Schoellkopf Park with a concert by the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra on July 9.
The free event, part of the National Grid Summer in the Parks series co-sponsored by Target Stores, was the first public event to be held in the park, located on Portage Road at Pine Avenue.
“We are absolutely thrilled to bring this internationally renowned symphony orchestra to Niagara Falls as our way of saying thanks to the community for its support,” Memorial Medical Center Foundation Corporate Advisor Patricia E. Berggren said.
Built in 1913, Schoellkopf Park is located on the east end of Memorial Medical Center’s downtown Niagara Falls campus. Its restoration is the cornerstone of a neighborhood revitalization initiative being spearheaded by Memorial and the Niagara Arts and Cultural Center under a plan produced in 2005 by the University at Buffalo Department of Urban and Regional Planning.
Phase One of the restoration project, which was completed in 2006, includes new walkways and stairs. The second phase, which was completed this spring, includes new benches, period lighting and plantings. The installation of a signature fountain and a formal rededication of the park are scheduled for later this year.
The restored park, designed by award winning landscape architect Joy Keubler, now looks much as it did when it was built in 1913.
Funding for the project was provided by a New York State Environmental Protection Fund grant, federal community development funds administered by the City of Niagara Falls, corporate and key Western New York foundations, the Auxiliary of Niagara Falls Memorial Medical Center, and private donations raised during a community campaign.
Susan B. Schoellkopf, daughter of longtime hospital trustee Paul A Schoellkopf, led the fundraising efforts. She and her sisters, Jane Penn Banta and Ann Jewett, have taken an active role in seeing the restoration through to completion.
“Schoellkopf Park was developed by the Schoellkopf family as a gift to the people of Niagara Falls. It’s a privilege for us to restore and once again share this precious resource with the public,” Berggren said.
More than 1,000 community members attended the smoke-free and alcohol-free event with Conductor Paul Ferington leading the BPO in a performance that featured popular classics by Beethoven, Bellini, Tchaikovsky, Gershwin and Britten.
“We are extremely excited about our first ever performance at this beautifully restored Niagara Falls landmark," Ferington said.
Founded in 1934, the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra enjoys a outstanding reputation around the world, especially among experienced musicians, composers and conductors. As Buffalo's cultural ambassador, the Philharmonic has performed across the United States and Canada in hundreds of cities, including more than 20 appearances at Carnegie Hall.
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