Hockey Night in Kleinhans

Because we perform almost every weekend, my job with the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra often prevents me from watching the Sabres game.  It used to bother me that my job so frequently conflicts with hockey, but this season I’ve enjoyed watching bits and pieces of the games in our break room at Kleinhans Music Hall.

Most Sabres games start at seven pm, and our concerts started at eight.  So, on game nights I go to work early, and watch the entire first period in the break room.  It’s fun.  There are a LOT of Sabres fans in the orchestra, but there are only a handful of us who go out of our way to make sure we can enjoy a good chunk of hockey before our concert.  These are the diehards.  Then, the BPO intermission usually lines up with the beginning of the third period, so I catch a few minutes of the game during our break.  Also (between you and me and the entire internet), there’s an orchestra member (not me) who is quite adept at using his/her cell phone to keep track of the score discreetly during a performance.  It’s a rare night when I don’t know the final score before I leave the stage after a concert.  At the end of the night, those of us in the orchestra who love the Sabres always take a moment to celebrate the win or commiserate over the loss on our way out the stage door.

This is obviously an unconventional way to experience a hockey game, but it’s not without it’s charm.  Frankly, I kind of like it.  Yesterday it occurred to me that there will almost certainly come a day when I am on stage during a Sabres playoff game, and it made me downright happy to imagine.  Even when I can’t watch a game from beginning to end, if I’m at work, I know I’ll still have a fun and memorable experience.  I sincerely enjoy cheering for the Sabres with my colleagues, even if it means I don’t get to see every single minute of every single game.

The Sabres have brought me closer to my community in almost every way.  It still amazes me.

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7 Responses to “Hockey Night in Kleinhans”


  1. 1 SAM December 14, 2008 at 11:23 pm

    I was at the concert last night and it was wonderfuL! Very well played. :)

    I saw you and wanted to yell “Go KATE!” but I was afraid my mom would be mortified so I didn’t. I just thought it instead.

  2. 2 Katebits December 15, 2008 at 9:25 am

    Oooh Sam, you should done it! :D If you are even in the mood to say hello, just come down to the edge of the stage! I’d love to meet you. Thanks for coming to the Christmas Classics!

  3. 3 Jaime December 15, 2008 at 2:53 pm

    There is something so satisfiying about catching only bits and pieces of a game like that. One time I was at the movies and about an hour into it some guy yelled ‘ “The Sabres scored!” The whole theatre started cheering. It was great.

  4. 4 Ang December 15, 2008 at 7:50 pm

    The sense of community and what having a professional sports team does to that is the thing that scares me the most about the possibility of us someday NOT having a professional sports team. As much as the Bills suck, we all share a common experience. I have lived in a city without a professional team and there is a very different vibe. And i didn’t like it.

    And you can bet that for as skillful as your fellow orchestra member is with their phone to get the score, there were probably lots of concertgoers doing the same thing.

    Thanks for reminding us Kate.

  5. 5 Katebits December 15, 2008 at 8:28 pm

    Actually, Ang. Funny story. A few weeks ago, we were getting the scores from an AUDIENCE member who is friends with a member of the orchestra. He kept flashing us the score with his fingers. :D

    I agree, the scariest thing about the idea of losing the Bills is losing the common ground.

  6. 6 SAM December 15, 2008 at 11:15 pm

    yeah we were up in the balcony and with the parents, who aren’t folks to dawdle around or yell at orchestra members. (like i said, my mother would have been mortified.) Next time though!

  7. 7 Gambler December 17, 2008 at 12:21 pm

    A couple of years ago (during the 2007 playoffs, I think) I knew someone who was in a play at Irish Classical, and she told me the cast had a way to keep up with the outcome of the games while on stage, too. One of the actors, who made an entrance near the end of the play when the game was usually over, would keep up with the scores on her phone backstage, and come out with a bow tied neatly in her hair if they won, with it untied if they lost, and with it missing if it was in overtime. Apparently if you watched closely enough, you would be able to see them all glance at the end of her braid when she entered instead of immediately looking at her face. I thought that was pretty funny, and indicative of the WNY hockey fever.


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