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July 30, 2015 - 9:29am

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Slipknot headlined Darien Lake PAC Wednesday night. Lamb of God opened. Also performing were Bullet for my Vallentine and Motionless in White.

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Pictured below photos of Lamb of God:

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Pictured below photos of Bullet for my Vallentine:

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Motionless in White:

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July 29, 2015 - 2:51pm
posted by Cathy DeBellis in music, concert, jazz.
Event Date and Time: 
October 2, 2015 -
7:30pm to 9:00pm
Honoring jazz tradition with straight-ahead swing and spontaneous improvisation, this band strives to express the beauty of a melodic line, deriving collective inspiration from the musical philosophies of jazz greats Lennie Tristano and Sal Mosca, as well as Lester Young, Charlie Parker, Billie Holiday, Bud Powell, Warne Marsh, and many others. The quartet's music includes standard tunes, jazz lines, originals, and occasional excursions into the abstract.
July 23, 2015 - 11:58am
posted by Billie Owens in Event, bluegrass, music.
Event Date and Time: 
August 7, 2015 -
7:00pm to 8:30pm

The Gospel bluegrass family band -- The Punches Family -- will perform at 7 p.m. on Friday, Aug. 7, at the Batavia Assembly of God Church, located at 24 N. Spruce St.

There will be a free will offering taken at the concert.

July 10, 2015 - 9:04am
posted by Jess Wheeler in batavia, entertainment, music.

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Scott DiMartino played in local bands as a teenager. He had all the sound equipment needed for his big idea. In December, he approached his brother, Danny DiMartino, with the idea to set up a portable night club in Batavia. They bought a light setup and are now staging events at T.F. Brown’s and Billy Goats with their business, Esdee Entertainment.

“Batavia has a lot of culture for bars,” Scott said. “There is Center Street, Bourbon & Burger and other places. As far as dancing goes, there isn’t really much to offer. It’s the same bars, the same bands, the same nights.”

The brothers never thought that Batavia was big enough to support a nightclub for more than six months. Scott is hoping that monthly events will get people out and give them exposure to a different scene they may not have necessarily seen before.

“We want to bring something different to this town,” he said. “People in Batavia may not have seen real mixing on turntables and that’s what we want to bring.”

The idea came to Scott after his friend, Macy Paradise, came back from Colorado for a visit. He asked Scott to play a show with him at T.F. Brown’s. At the event, Paradise spun records and DiMartino played the drums. The response was overwhelming.

“Tons of people showed up,” DiMartino said. “We received so much support from the people of Batavia that night.”

DiMartino praises Paradise and his brother for their help with bringing his idea to life, but he really does it out of his love for music. He works 55-hour weeks at his full-time job. Yet, he somehow finds the time to plan events to share his passion with the rest of Batavia.

“We are just two brothers who love music and bought a bunch of stuff with a ton of support from the community,” he said.

The duo is hosting their next event on July 24 at Billy Goats. The $5 throwback dance party is for the 21-and-over crowd. Music will be exclusively from the '80s, '90s and early 2000s. The brothers hope to turn the occasion into a giant karaoke party.

“I want to see the looks on people’s faces when they say, ‘Oh my god, I forgot this song existed!’ ” DiMartino teased. “People are going to have a really good time. I couldn’t be more excited to share this with my hometown.” 

Check out their Facebook page for updates on their future events. 

Photos by Steve Ognibene

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July 5, 2015 - 10:48pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batava, music, arts, entertainment, Ramble Music & Arts Fest.

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July 3, 2015 - 6:05pm
posted by Jess Wheeler in batavia, Ramble, music, entertainment.

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Paul Draper is used to being a musician for the Ramble, a musical event hosted in Batavia, but this year, he’s experiencing the event from another angle. Bill McDonald and the rest of the Ramble Posse have decided to pass the organizational and promotional torch on to Draper. He couldn’t be more excited.

“When Bill asked if I would like to be involved with the Batavia Ramble, my answer was, ‘yes. 100 percent,’ ” Draper said. “I’m the lucky one to take the hand-off.”

This year, Draper worked on filling the band rosters, organizing information and he even created a Facebook group.

“Batavia Ramble Facebook group is a local hub for all things Ramble,” he said. “In the group, you can find the band lineups, schedules for each stage as well as pictures from previous years.”

 Next year, he’s taking the lead on the event.

“This year was a lot of fun learning how everything runs and getting hands on,” he said. “I am also very much looking forward to next year where I'll be putting my PD3 twist on things and bringing the event to the next level.”

The first Ramble was held 10 years ago by the original Ramble Posse members Bill Pitcher, Mike Murray and McDonald. The Ramble aims to unite and reunite musicians and artists who have called Batavia and the surrounding areas home. The day is full of music, friendship and art.

This free event takes place Downtown on Sunday in Jackson Square and on Center Street. For the first time, three stages will be set up featuring musicians who live locally as well as those who are coming back to play the Ramble. Music starts at 11 a.m. and concludes around 9:30 p.m.

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Paul Draper, Jim Starkweather, Bill Pitcher, Tom Trescott, Mike Murray, Wally Kowalik, Kevin Mayler and Bill McDonald.

July 2, 2015 - 11:10am
posted by Howard B. Owens in Batavia Concert Band, GCC, batavia, music, arts.

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The 90th season of the Batavia Concert Band got off to a soggy start Wednesday evening, forcing musicians and audience members to seek the warmth and comfort of the Stuart Steiner Theatre at GCC.

Here's the schedule for the remainder of the season:

  • July 4th at noon, Guest Conductor David Keller. Picnic in the Park sponsored by GoArt!
  • July 8 at 7 p.m., Conducted by John Bailey
  • July 15 at 7 p.m., Conducted by John Bailey
  • July 22 at 7 p.m., Conducted by John Bailey
  • July 29 at 7 p.m., Conducted by John Bailey, Annual Chicken Barbecue

All concerts are at Centennial Park, unless weather forces a relocation to GCC.

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June 17, 2015 - 8:54am
posted by Jess Wheeler in entertainment, music, batavia.

For as long as he can remember Batavia native Gary Call Hanley has been surrounded by music. As a child, his grandmother, Leona Pastore, took him to orchestras and encouraged his love for music. It wasn’t long before Call Hanley learned to play a variety of instruments and began to play in various bands.

Courtesy of Nashville Symphony

After a few years of touring in Western New York with local bands, he started playing with national bands. He has played legendary venues like New York’s CBGB. Now, Call Hanley has planted roots in Nashville, Tenn., as a recording and audio engineer with the Nashville Symphony Orchestra.

On July 3, his composition “Plight of the Common Man” will premiere at the Schermerhorn Symphony Center as part of the “Tchaikovsky's 1812 Overture: A Star Spangled Evening with the Nashville Symphony” event.  This will be the first time in the history of the Orchestra that it plays a symphony written by someone on its staff.

“The 1812 concert is annually one of the most popular performances on our concert calendar,” Dave Felipe, publicist for the Nashville Symphony Orchestra said. “It means Gary’s work will be heard by upwards of 1,500 or more people along with works by Gershwin, Copland, Barber and more.”

Felipe is right. Call Hanley is very excited.

“I don’t know of anyone else who has had their first symphony played by a world-renowned orchestra,” Call Hanley joked. “I just thought, if other composers can do it, so can I.”

So he did.

“Plight of the Common Man,” starts off minimalistic, builds up in the middle and comes back to a gentle ending. Call Hanley likened it to the life of man.

“We start off small, we live these big lives, and then we end small,” he said.

The title comes from the thought that man is facing a constant struggle.

“Life isn’t always a fanfare, sometimes it’s a plight,” he added. “The challenge is to overcome all of the hardships and heartaches that life brings. With the good comes the bad and with the bad comes the good.”

When he isn’t writing symphonies or recording for a GRAMMY Award winning orchestra, Gary Call Hanley finds solace in playing with his band Subway Lights. In addition to cowriting songs with his writing partner Alex Quinn, Call Hanley sings lead vocals.

“Music is in my DNA,” he said. “I hear melodies and music all the time in my head. If I didn’t have those outlets, I think I would be a very sad man.”

Call Hanley believes that Western New York holds a great deal of musical talent and he feels lucky to be a part of it.

“I feel very fortunate,” he said. “I feel very lucky to be where I am. I am very grateful to that. It’s been a lot of hard work, but I’ve been very grateful.”

(Photo: Courtesy the Nashville Symphony.)

June 13, 2015 - 9:34am

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Heavy rain didn't dampen the spirit of Friday's Genesee Symphony Orchestra concert, which was moved from Jackson Square to City Centre because of the storms. As promised, the GSO delivered a lively and energetic show.

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June 9, 2015 - 10:10am

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Press release:

The Genesee Symphony Orchestra is having a full-orchestra concert this Friday, June 12, 7 p.m. at Jackson Square. The GSO musicians are reaching out to our Batavia audience in hopes of having an entertaining concert for all ages. The program will be conducted and led by GSO concertmaster Gregory Docenko. Greg is a phenomenal violinist and will be playing his electric violin while conducting the orchestra through the program.

Greg has designed the program with musical arrangements that will get the audience whistling and clapping. There is a portion of the program that will feature the GSO Jazzers, and Blue Grass Fiddles. Howard Owens will be featured on his typewriter during the "Typewriter" by LeRoy Anderson. State Assemblyman Steve Hawley will read the narrative/story of "The Frog Prince" with orchestra accompaniment. "Stars and Stripes Forever" and a brass rendition of "America the Beautiful" will fill our patriotic hearts.

Though Jackson Square concerts are free, the GSO will be accepting donations to support our orchestra for the upcoming 69th season. So, bring your chairs and enjoy our very entertaining hour-long concert. The GSO is proud to continue and support our area's cultural traditions.

Photos by Howard Owens, rehearsal Monday evening in the band room at Batavia HS.

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June 8, 2015 - 5:45pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Batavia HS, batavia, music, entertainment.

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Ross Chua and Chelsea Jensen rehearse Monday afternoon on the Batavia High School stage for tomorrow night's talent showcase.

The show goes on at 6:30 p.m. and tickets are $3 each.

June 4, 2015 - 5:38pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Smokin' Eagle BBQ and Brew, Le Roy, business, entertainment, music.

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The Smokin' Eagle BBQ & Brew in Le Roy kicked off a summer series Battle of the Bands on Wednesday night.

For each of the next 10 weeks, 10 bands will compete to move on to the next round. One band each Wednesday is playing from at least 8 to 9 p.m. (the period of judging, the bands may play longer).

The series kicked off with a performance by JP Shaggy, from Syracuse.

There will also be bands in the competition from the local area as well as Buffalo and Rochester, said Jimmy B, from Jimmy B entertainment, who is organizing the event with Smokin' Eagle co-owner Jon Marcello.

There is a panel of five judges. They will judge the bands on stage presentation, time management, sound quality, band synchronization, band enthusiasm, and attitude and audience response.

The top six bands move onto the semi-finals. Round 2 will be three weeks of two bands each week, top seed vs. bottom seed. 

The finalists will compete Sept. 19, which is a Saturday, from 2 to 10 p.m. That event will be a fundraiser for a charity yet to be selected. There will be other entertainment along with raffles and drawings.

JP Shaggy is Jason Krueger.  To find out more about him, visit his Facebook page.

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June 4, 2015 - 3:13pm
posted by Billie Owens in jackson square concerts, music, batavia, downtown.

Press release:

The Downtown Batavia Business Improvement District (BID) is sponsoring the 16th Annual Jackson Square Concert Series, each one is from 7 to 9 p.m. on Fridays, June 12th – Aug. 28th, in Downtown Batavia. Free to the public. Food and refreshments available. Rain Days at Batavia City Centre. Bring your own seating. More Info: Don Burkel at B.I.D. at 585-344-0900. Visit: www.downtownbataviany.com

The Jackson Square Concerts “ Friday Nights In The Square” will be featuring:

  • Genesee Symphony (Friday, June 12th)
  • Emerald Isle (June 26th)
  • Fat City (July 3rd)
  • Mitty & The Followers (July 10th)
  • Penny Whiskey (July 17th)
  • OHMS Band (July 24th)
  • Ghost Riders (July 31st)
  • Ghost Riders Drum & Bugle (July 31st)
  • It’s My Party (Aug. 7th)
  • Bluesway Band (Aug. 14th)
  • John Cole Blues Band (Aug. 21st)
  • C’est Bon Dance Band (Aug. 28th)
June 1, 2015 - 8:25am
posted by Jess Wheeler in entertainment, music, veterans, batavia, weapon-x.

The ignition of the fuel on a diesel engine creates a low, aggressive grumble, booming bass and grungy chugging. Who would have thought that the same sounds could be heard in songs written in the Marine barracks in Iraq?

Dan Clor, 39, who grew up in Le Roy, wrote the songs in 2006. After his tour, he brought them to Los Angeles, where he lives now, and started recording them in 2007. From there, Weapon-X was born.

The name comes from a Marvel comic. It was recommended to Clor by a Marine friend. The band started playing live shows and people took to the name. Clor asked Marvel and they let him use it.  

As a Marine, Clor is moved by his time in the military. The band plays shows for veterans and receives a lot of support from them.

“I feel like three out of four veterans hear our music and latch onto it pretty well. Marines and vets are usually in your corner as long as you don’t screw up,” he said.

Although their songs have a lot of military and underdog overtones, Weapon-X doesn’t want to be put into a corner. They’re inspired by a lot of heavy and forceful music.

“It all started with Pantera, Metallica and (Black) Sabbath. I like everything from Johnny Cash to early '90s rap stuff,” Clor said. “Metallica is the band that made me go to House of Guitars and buy my first guitar. I didn’t know what to do with it.”

Not only did he learn how to play guitar, but at 18, Clor was teaching music lessons at Roxy’s when it was in the Batavia Shopping Center. He’s grateful for the time he spent in Genesee County.

“I thought it was cool to be raised in the small-town atmosphere,” he said. “Everyone is real close to each other. I did like just kind of having that closeness, but I felt a little stifled. I knew I wanted to move somewhere bigger. I needed more activity, more opportunity.”

Clor moved to L.A. in 2003. He went to the Musicians Institute in Hollywood. After running low on money, he decided he had to get right to work in the industry. Now, in addition to being the front man of Weapon-X, Clor owns Victory Music Academy in L.A. There, he helps build and develop young bands. He aims to be a mentor for people who like to play edgier and darker music.

For now, Clor is back in town. He and Weapon-X are preparing for the Beast Coast Tour. This tour marks the first time the boys are playing the East Coast since the band's inception.

“We decided to come back here because we were getting a lot of response from people back home,” he said. “We put feelers out there and the response was really good.”

The tour kicks off at Montage Music Hall in Rochester on Friday for $15. They will play a second show at the same location on Saturday. Both shows are being sponsored by Center Street Smoke House. The tour will also see stops in Syracuse, Cambridge, Mass., Philadelphia, New York and Washington, D.C.

The band consists of Clor on lead vocals and guitar, Bill Scott on guitar, Ryan Whyman playing the keyboard, Jesus Rauda on bass, and David Thueson on drums. Unfortunately, the usual bass player and drummer could not make it. The Beast Coast Tour will see Jared Swaney on bass and James D. Jackson on drums.

May 29, 2015 - 4:24pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in va center, batavia, music, entertainment, veterans.

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Country singer Ricky Lee performed at the Batavia VA Hospital this afternoon. His set list included patriotic songs, songs honoring veterans and even some George "The 'Possum" Jones.

Each veteran in attendance was given a copy of his latest CD for free.

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May 14, 2015 - 10:54am
Event Date and Time: 
May 16, 2015 -
11:00am to 2:00pm
This Saturday, May 16th, the Holland Land Office Museum and the Batavia International Peace Garden are celebrating a joint event! The Peace Garden's annual flag raising will take place at 11:00 am with speaker State Assemblyman Steve Hawley and the St. Joseph's Brass Ensemble providing patriotic music. At 1:00 pm, the Holland Land Office Museum will be burying its Bicentennial Time Capsule and keynote speakers include Genesee County historian Michael J. Eula and City of Batavia historian Larry Barnes.
May 10, 2015 - 9:04am
posted by Howard B. Owens in Genesee Chorale, arts, music, elba.

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Photos from yesterday's rehearsal of the Genesee Chorale. 

Here's a press release about the upcoming performance:

On Sunday May 17 at 3 p.m. at Elba MS/HS Auditorium, the Genesee Chorale will present its Spring Season, “Music in Motion.” In the past, the Chorale has shared the stage with other musicians, ranging from a full orchestra to other chorale groups and soloists. This time, Director Ric Jones thought to try something entirely new: why not share the stage with live dancers? The Genesee Chorale Board applauded the notion and unanimously gave the go-ahead, and Jones went from there.

He first approached Dan Doctor, of Medina’s West Side Academy, asking him, “So…what do you think of choreographing a show entirely to live chorale music?” And Doctor responded quickly in the affirmative: “Yes!  We’re in.” And after reviewing the repertoire, he committed his dancers to six songs.

They weren’t the only ones. Dancers from Batavia’s Divine Dance, directed by Erin Martin, were in as well, happy to join the Genesee Chorale in such a unique endeavor. Though May is a busy season for every performing group, they were pleased to share some of their best performers to feature in “Music in Motion.” And finally, the Greycliffe Quartet, a renowned string ensemble from Buffalo, committed to accompany the singers, too.

The Genesee Chorale is accompanied on piano by Doug Hanson. The concert will also feature soloists Mark Christenson, Rachel Chrostowski, Janine Fagnan, Yvonne Freeman (also featured as a flutist), Merry Lou Holley, Carl Schoonover, Heather Lovelace, and Norm Woodworth.

Presale tickets are $8 and are available online at www.geneseechorale.com. Tickets will also be available at the door for $10.

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May 6, 2015 - 1:49pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in music, arts, batavia, Richmond Memorial Library.

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Alec R. Sass, a sophomore at Clarence High School, performed a 45-minute bagpipe show at the Richmond Memorial Library last night. In all, 50 people attended the performance, which included the songs "Scots Wha Hae and "Amazing Grace."

Photos submitted by Craig Gillard.

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April 24, 2015 - 9:58am
posted by Howard B. Owens in arts, music, entertainment, schools, education, Notre Dame.

Notre Dame High School hosted its annual spring concert at the school Thursday night with jazz ensemble and concert choir performing such pieces as the "Overture of the Magic Flute," highlights from "Harry Potter," Disney movie tunes and a portion of Pachelbel's "Canon in D." Theresa Kehl is conductor of both the ensemble and the choir.

April 11, 2015 - 4:39pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in arts, music, entertainment, Genesee Symphony Orchestra.

The Genesee Symphony Orchestra Board of Directors hosted a farewell luncheon at GO ART! this afternoon for Raffaele Ponti, the musical director and conductor of the orchestra for 18 years who will conduct his final concert with the GSO tomorrow.

The luncheon was attended by board members and several longtime orchestra members, including Helen Grapka, pictured above with Ponti and his daughter, Sofia.

Sofia is holding the violin Grapka played for 46 years with GSO. She sold it to the Ponti family, along with the violin of her late husband, John, when she retired from music a few years ago. Sofia will play it during her featured performance at tomorrow's concert.

Grapka is the last surviving founding member of GSO.

In the 1940s, she and her husband played with a small orchestra organized by a local man who wanted to be a conductor each Jan. 1 at the old folks home in Bethany. At the 1947 show, Helen and John had a conversation with two members of their string quartet and decided they should start a local orchestra.

The GSO's first concert was later that year, in November, at the old Dipson Theater. Some 1,400 people attended and hundreds more were turned away at the door. Grapka remembers men showing up in tuxedos and the women dressed in long gowns and minks.

From the beginning, the orchestra attracted the finest musicians in the area and had a dozen first violinists that first season.

John Grapka was musical director at the New York State School for the Blind and after teaching at a public school for six years, Helen taught music at the School for the Blind for 20 years.

She's proud that what she and her husband started has lasted into the 21st Century.

"If anything ever happens and it all falls apart, it will never happen again," Grapka said. "It's important to keep it going because it's such an important cultural thing for the community."

Tomorrow's concert is at 4 p.m. at Batavia High School.

Ponti with an award presented to him by Board President Paul Saskowski and Board Member Roxanne Choate. 

Below are pictures from yesterday's rehearsal at Batavia High School. Dave Mancini is also performing with the orchestra tomorrow. The Rochester resident will perform on some of his own compositions, including "A Piece for Him," which he wrote and dedicated to his father. Members of the Student String Workshop (featured in some of the photos below) will also perform with the orchestra.

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