I often get asked why I love Buffalo so much. Since you've all grown accustomed to reading my litany of reasons why, I'll give you the short: Buffalo is about community and the people.
Take the BCC Arts & Entertainment Showcase for example. Earlier this year I was contacted by member Amanda Clute to attend one of their Open Mic nights/Showcases when my schedule allowed. After a few months of conflicts, I was finally able to attend one of the Showcase events back in June.
I literally knew no one that would be attending the event, but decided to give it a shot and see what they were all about. I was a little worried I would feel out of place, but after walking through the doors, I immediately felt like a part of the family. I was pointed in the direction of Amanda and we chatted for a bit and she started introducing me to people. The atmosphere inside was full of energy. People were catching up with others, preparing their acts for the show and looking at the art work around. There were tables of delicious desserts to enjoy throughout the night as well!
As the show began husband and wife ministers for The Buffalo Church of Christ (BCC) Daniel and Tracy Macaluso provided some immediate comic relief and then took some time to talk about the Church and the mission of these events. A group of singers took the stage and opened with a few lively worship songs that had everyone up and dancing. As someone who has come from a very Catholic background, it was a fun change of pace to be clapping and dancing around to get the evening started.
As the evening progressed we were treated to a little bit of everything. There were dancers, rappers, singers, comedians, poets, magicians and more, who provided such an eclectic night of laughs and entertainment. As the night wrapped up, I was so happy I decided to come and left the event with so much energy.
In addition to the Showcase events, which are usually held once every three months or so, BCC offers monthly Open Mic nights. The Open Mic nights are free to the public and the Showcase events typically cost around $5 to get in the doors.
Ministers Daniel and Tracy both came from very artistic backgrounds: Daniel was a member of Buffalo rock group "White Lies" and Tracy was a dance instructor and choreographer in New York City. Both feel strongly that the arts are a way to bring people and cultures together, and they are a big focus in their Church community.
All the Open Mic nights and showcases do have a spiritual undertone to them with some worship songs and passages read from Scripture, but I never felt like ideas were forced on me or that I had to believe a certain way. I have been to events where I have felt uncomfortable about how things were presented, but this group makes it impossible to feel anything but comfortable.
"We want to provide an outlet for artists who want to be positive and also spiritual in their work. We are cultivating a "no hate zone" at all our coffeehouse events and showcases." Amanda told me. "The arts are a way to inspire hope and teamwork!"
Any local artist is welcome to come to their monthly Open Mic nights and take the stage. Acts are then chosen from the Open Mic nights for the Showcase events. You can find out more information about the events and Church by checking out their website. They also have a Facebook page with many pictures from past events.
The arts are a huge part of the Western New York area. We have such an abundance of talent in the area, and these events are one more outlet for artists to expand their reach in a very positive and encouraging atmosphere. If you are looking to get your artistic message out there and want a platform to do it on, I strongly encourage looking up BCC Arts & Entertainment. I feel so fortunate I did, and can't wait to get to another event soon!