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August 28, 2016 - 10:42am

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In five years of covering concerts at Frostridge, there are four shows I'm sure I'll always remember: Marty Stuart in 2011, which was my introduction to Jam at the Ridge, The Farm, featuring Alexander native Krista Marie, the time Blackjack Billy upstaged the night's headliner, Blackberry Smoke, that same year, and finally, Blackjack Billy's return to Le Roy last night.

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August 24, 2016 - 9:39am

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National recording artists and rock band ZZ Top performed last night, headlining three concerts in one week at Darien Lake Performing Arts Center. They played many greatest hits off their 15-album career like "Legs," "Rough Boy," "Cheap Sunglasses," "Tush" and "La Grange."

Over 45-plus years of the band's success has also included TV and films early in 1990s as they appeared in the movies "Back to the Future Part III" and "Mother Goose Rock N Rhyme."  Very popular in the 1980s, they won three music video awards for "Legs," "Sharp Dressed Man" and "Rough Boy."

Earlier this month, Gregg Allman cancelled the remainder of his solo and U.S. tour with ZZ Top due to serious health issues, so Randy Bachman and his band opened for ZZ Top. 

The former lead guitarist of The Guess Who and Bachman-Turner Overdrive from the 1960s and '70s played some classics like "No Sugar Tonight," "American Woman," "You Ain’t Seen Nothing Yet" and "Takin’ Care of Business."

Also opening was Jonny Two Bags from Social Distortion who performed a 30-minute set.   

Tonight’s concert is pop / punk rock band Blink 182 and Friday’s performance is American bro-country duo Florida Georgia Line, both starting at 7 p.m.

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Randy Bachman

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August 16, 2016 - 7:01pm

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Shade Zajac makes his official debut Sunday as the full-time conductor of the Genesee Symphony Orchestra in a special performance being sponsored by the United Way at Mercy Grove in Le Roy.

Zajac previously conducted the orchestra last season as part of an audition process for the musical director's position with the GSO and was appointed by the GSO board earlier this year.

Mercy Grove is Genesee County's newest event facility and will be a beautiful setting for this special performance.

Tickets are $75 per person and proceeds benefit the United Way and the Genesee Symphony Orchestra.

Party attire is suggested. The event starts at 3:30 p.m. There will be hors d'oeuvres, grazing stations and a cash bar. The GSO performance, "Summer Serenade," begins at 4:45.  

Tickets are available through GSO's website, or at Bank of Castile in Batavia and Le Roy, Roxy's Music, the United Way and GO ART!

Photos are from Monday's rehearsal.

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August 15, 2016 - 1:29pm
posted by Billie Owens in batavia peace garden, news, batavia, music, entertainment.

Press release:

The International Peace Garden Foundation, in conjunction with the Friends of the Batavia Peace Garden, are bringing a special concert to Batavia from 4 to 6 p.m. on Sunday, Nov. 13.

The "Peace on Earth" concert will launch the holiday season and feature Colleen Marcello, an acclaimed soprano in Western New York, and the Irrera Brothers, who are world-famous musicians.

All three artists have roots in Genesee County. The Irrera’s are graduates of Batavia High and Colleen’s grandfather, Philip Marcello, was a former Mayor of Batavia. Together they proudly represent Batavia’s rich Italian heritage.

The critically acclaimed Irrera Brothers have captivated audiences throughout the United States and abroad. The New York Concert Review cited their 2013 concert in Carnegie Hall as a “riveting and dynamic performance.” Additional concert engagements have brought Joseph and John to notable venues such as the Lincoln Center, the Kennedy Center, the Eastman Theatre and internationally throughout France, Germany, Italy, Bulgaria and Latin America. With a range of educational venues, the brothers both received their doctorates in Musical Arts from the Eastman School of Music in 2014. Besides performing together and as soloists, the Irrera Brothers have served on the faculty at the Eastman School of Music and the Eastman Community Music School.

Marcello received her Master of Vocal Pedagogy and Performance from Westminster Choir College. A frequent area soloist, Marcello “won the audience over” as Sister Blanche of the "Agony of Christ" in Opera Sacra’s recent production of the "Dialogues of the Carmelites." She has also been a featured soloist under the baton of Robert Franz and Marvin Hamlisch with the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra. Her musical talents have also led her to Off-Broadway musical theater in such productions as "State Fair," "The King and I" and "Fiddler on the Roof."

Another notable feature of this concert will be the Steinway piano cosponsored by Denton Cottier and Daniels. Joseph Irrera is one of 500 Steinway musicians worldwide.  The quality of the music at this event will be unparalleled, and will be a wonderful way to kick off the holidays.

The concert will be held inside the Batavia High School Auditorium. Tickets can be purchased at Roxie’s Music Store on West Main Street in the city and at the Genesee County Chamber of Commerce, or by calling 585-201-7100 or 585-343-2387. The ticket costs range from $15 for General Admission to $30 for VIP tickets, which also includes a Meet-the-Artist cocktail reception at the Dibble Center following the event. VIP tickets are very limited. Student tickets are $10. Advance purchase is recommended.

Make this an early holiday gift for those friends and family who are music lovers. This advance notice will insure that you can put the date aside and mark it on your calendar. This is a great way to support the arts in Western New York.

August 13, 2016 - 9:53pm
posted by James Burns in genesee, Le Roy, the ridge, Kansas, news, music, entertainment.

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Imagine having a multiple platinum recording rock band performing for you and your closest friends in your back yard. Well that was the feel of the Kansas concert in Le Roy at The Ridge.

Kansas must have felt right at home with Great Plains-style pop-up thunderstorms in the area as they played for a very friendly crowd that was not at all afraid of the rain.  The fans on hand were singing and dancing along with the bands many well known hits. Yes, you should have been here.

There are two more chances this summer to catch The Jam at the Ridge. The next show at the ridge is Blackjack Billy Aug. 27th

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August 4, 2016 - 3:00pm
posted by Session Placeholder in music.
Event Date and Time: 
October 23, 2015 -
7:00pm to 9:00pm

Crossroads House in conjunction with St. James Episcopal Church is offering a FREE Community Concert at 7 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 23, titled “A Showcase of a Local Treasure.”
“Our community is fortunate to have such a rare treasure in an acoustical setting second to none,” said Crossroads House Executive Director Jeff Allen. “In keeping with St. James’ 200th Anniversary and the City of Batavia’s Centennial, this concert is given as a gift back to a generous community that has supported us since 1996.”

August 4, 2016 - 1:06pm

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American five-piece girl group Fifth Harmony performed last evening at Darien Lake Performing Arts Center with special guests JoJo and Victoria Monet. The five singers who all successfully auditioned as soloists on the second season of "The X Factor USA" in 2012 failed to progress individually in judging competition and decided to form a group together.

The band was formed one month following the second season of "The X Factor USA" and was named "Next Pop Superstar of 2013" by Popdust magazine.  They played hits like "Gonna Get Better," "All In My Head (Flex)," "Worth It" and "Work from Home."

Opening for them was Joanna Noëlle Blagden "JoJo" Levesque and Victoria Monet. Next concert is BRAD PAISLEY: LIFE AMPLIFIED TOUR, Aug. 19th at 7:30 p.m.

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JoJo:

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July 28, 2016 - 7:30am

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Over 40-plus years and millions of albums sold the Wilson sisters -- brunette lead singer Ann and blond lead guitarist Nancy -- didn't miss a beat, as they kept the crowd dancing in the aisles last evening with their band Heart at Darien Lake Performing Arts Center.  

Hands waving, cell phones were overheating amongst many followers engaged in some of the band's greatest hits like, "Magic Man," "What about Love," "These Dreams," "Crazy on You" and "Barracuda."

Cheap Trick and Joan Jett and the Blackhearts opened for Heart tonight with some famous songs by each band, "Dream Police," "I Want You to Want Me" from Cheap Trick. Joan Jett played some classics, "Cherry Bomb," "I Love Rock 'n’ Roll," and "I Hate Myself for Loving You."

Next concert is tomorrow night featuring G-Eazy & Logic: The Endless Summer Tour, with guests YG and YO Gotti at 6:30.

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July 2, 2016 - 5:04pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Ramble Music & Arts Fest, music, entertainment, batavia, news.

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Hundreds of music fans and musicians swarmed into Downtown Batavia today for the annual Batavia Ramble Music and Arts Fest, held in Jackson Square and at a stage set up at School and Center streets.

In all, 40 music acts were scheduled to perform. The last act goes on at 8:40 p.m., so there's still time to see the show.

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July 2, 2016 - 11:31am

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The 2016 summer season of concerts in Jackson Square kicked off Friday night with performances by St. Joe's of Batavia Brass Ensemble (its 85th Reunion) and the Mighty St. Joe's Alumni Corps (with an interlude covering the history of the bugle, featuring members of the ensemble).

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June 30, 2016 - 1:07pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Batavia Concert Band, music, entertainment, batavia, news.

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With a flourish of patriotic favorites and classic pops pieces, the Batavia Concert Band opened its summer season at Centennial Park on Wednesday evening with Josh Pacino conducting.

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June 29, 2016 - 10:17am

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The Corfu-Pembroke Community Band celebrated its 30th season last night with a concert at Darien Lakes State Park.

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June 29, 2016 - 10:00am
posted by Session Placeholder in music.
Event Date and Time: 
June 29, 2016 -
7:00pm to 9:00pm

Batavia Concert Band – 91st Annual Concerts in the Park
Aug. 3
Featuring sections and soloists from the Batavia Concert Band Centennial Park, 7:00pm*
Silver: Bailey Electric
Bronze: St. Paul Lutheran School
* Rain venue: Genesee Community College, Stuart Steiner Theatre

June 20, 2016 - 1:28pm
posted by Billie Owens in corfu, pembroke, Darien Lakes State Park, music, news, Announcements.

Submitted photo and press release:
 
Corfu-Pembroke Community Band welcomes David Stringham back to the podium as guest conductor for its 30th season concert at Darien Lakes State Park, from 7 to 9 p.m. on Tuesday, June 28th. It's free!
 
Skip Taylor, retired Pembroke Music teacher, started this group in 1985 as a Moms and Pops Band and it has grown to approximately 40 members. Phil Briatico will also be guest conducting.
 
Come hear the wonderful sounds of this group!
 
The concert will take place at Shelter #2. There are picnic tables, but people are welcome to bring their own chairs or blankets to sit on. 
June 17, 2016 - 1:26pm
posted by Billie Owens in Batavia Concert Band, news, music, entertainment, Announcements.

Press release:

The Batavia Concert Band’s 91st season of music making will run again this year with free public concerts in Batavia’s Centennial Park on June 29; July 6, 13, 20, 27; Aug. 3 and 10, as well as the ever-popular July 4 "Picnic In The Park" sponsored by GO ART!

In addition, the Band will be featured at Birchwood Village Apartments' "Light the Night" concert on Tuesday. Aug. 2. The Aug. 3 concert in Centennial Park will feature sections of the Band and soloists.

The Batavia Concert Band’s repertoire is wide ranging in origin, period and style: marches, Big Band and swing numbers, popular songs from musicals and movies, rock favorites arranged for band, classical adaptations, fun songs for kids of all ages, and everything in between.

The Band consists of 45-55 brass, woodwind and percussion players ranging from talented high school students to 60-year veterans. Many have professional experience; the rest are advanced amateur musicians. All love to play.

This year’s conductor will be John Bailey, instrumental music director at Lyndonville Central School. The June 29 and July 4 "Picnic In The Park" concerts will be conducted by Joshua Pacino.

Founded in the early 1920s, the Batavia Concert Band has brought musical pleasure to the region every year except during World War II. The Band currently enjoys support from GO ART!, concert sponsors, program advertisers and individual patrons. The City of Batavia supplies chairs for musicians. The Band also sponsors 50-50 raffles at every concert, bake sales and other low-key fundraisers. Individuals or businesses interesting in supporting the Band should contact a Board member at any concert.

Downbeat for regular season concerts is 7 p.m., Wednesday evenings, in Centennial Park, Batavia. (*In the event of rain, concerts will move to Genesee Community College’s Stuart Steiner Theatre. Notices will be posted at the northwest corner of Centennial Park, announced on in local media, on the Batavia Concert Band’s website http://bataviaconcertband.net, and the Band’s Facebook page.)

June 12, 2016 - 12:34pm

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Collin Raye, who is celebrating 25 years as a recording artist this year, opened the 2016 concert season at Frostridge last night with a set that highlighted his #1 hits and other fan favorites.

Before the show, he met with fans who had purchased VIP passes, including one who presented him with a handmade guitar strap. He also posed for a picture with Frostridge owners David and Greg Luetticke-Archbell.

Among the opening acts were the Morgan Twins.

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June 3, 2016 - 1:43pm
posted by Billie Owens in art, Film, music, GCC, news, festival.

Press release:

The Genesee Community College Center for the Arts will welcome Beaver Alley Studios, Inc., and the Western New York Film, Art and Music Event (FAME) from Friday, Aug. 12, until Sunday, Aug. 14, for a three-day festival that will include local and international films, performances, art displays, educational workshops, vendors and networking.

As filmmakers, FAME understands the burden of high festival fees and the frustration of low audience turn out. The group keeps fees low and has created an event with mass appeal. The festival treats film makers, musicians and artists like celebrities with an audience Q&A or panel discussion and encourages active audience participation by allowing attendees to choose some of the awards. Festivalgoers can also take a break to get food, browse vendors, sit in on workshops, or join in the music festival fun.

The mid-August festival at GCC has already received nearly 300 film, music and photography entries from all over the world. The deadline for submissions is June 15. The organization is also seeking workshop presenters, sponsors and vendors. Vendor tables cost $100 for three days, but are discounted to $75 if booked by June 30th.

Tickets for the event are available on a per-block or workshop basis all the way to full VIP all-access. Tickets range from $10 – $60 and more information can be found on the festival Facebook page and the Film Freeway website: http://www.facebook.com/WNYAFAME/http://filmfreeway.com/festival/WNYFilmArtandMusicEventFame. The contact phone number is 585-798-2815 or e-mail: [email protected]

The festival schedule is as follows (subject to change):

Friday, Aug. 12 -- Fright Night -- Scary and Bloody Films:

• 4:00 -- Vendors Open- Opening Band TBD

• 4:15 -- Dmon Productions (Zombie Face painting)

• 4:30 -- Documentary Block

• 5:00 -- Movie Block 1

• 6:30 -- Band - Kamp Crystal Lake

• 7:00 -- Movie Block 2

• 9:00- After Party – at TBD

Saturday, Aug. 13 -- "Girl Power" A focus on films by female writer/directors or strong female leads:

• 11:00 -- Vendors open

• 11:30 -- Workshop -- Shawn Essler -- Becoming a Filmmaker.

• 12:00 -- Movie Block 3

• 1:00 -- Band -- Creative Spirit

• 1:30 -- Workshop B

• 2:00 -- Movie Block 4

• 3:00 -- Band -- Jim Candytree

• 3:30 -- Workshop C

• 4:00 -- Movie Block 5

• 5:00 -- Band -- Anonymous Willpower

• 5:30 -- Documentary Block in Classroom

• 6:00 -- Movie Block 6

• 8:00 -- After Party at TBD Band "The Lonely Ones"

Sunday, Aug. 14 -- WNY films and Family Friendly Films:

• 11:00 -- Vendors open

• 11:15 -- Cosplay Trivia Contest

• 11:30 -- Workshop D

• 12:00 -- Movie Block 7

• 12:15 -- Dmon Productions (Face painting)

• 1:00 -- Band -- The Nigh

• 1:30 -- Workshop E

• 2:00 -- Movie Block 8

• 3:00 -- Band -- Genesee Johnny

• 4:00 -- Movie Block 9 and Awards and Raffles/ Costume Contest

• 6:00 -- Movie Block 10 -- Beaver Alley Studios, Inc., Film "Lonely Bananas"

Beaver Alley Studios, Inc., is a nonprofit organization established for the purpose of facilitating the production, promotion, distribution, exhibition and celebration of independent art in all forms, especially art from a female perspective. The organization offers services such as screenwriting and script consultation, cinematography, editing, film reviews, film school, and packages for events, commercial use, music videos and short films.

Beaver Alley Studios, Inc., was founded by Rhonda L. Parker, a recent GCC graduate who earned degrees in Communications and Media Arts and as well as Paralegal Studies. She graduated with President's List Honors earning a GPA of 3.75 or higher. A resident of Albion, Parker is an active filmmaker and produced the full length movie, "Friends Don't Let Friends - Date Friends" in 2014. She has also written and produced the feature films "Lonely Bananas," "Message in a Bottle," a number of short films, and appeared as a "Walmart mom" in a television commercial.

"We are very excited about hosting an event like no other," Parker said. "Three days of regional and international films, performances from local singers and songwriters, art displays, educational workshops-and of course, the all-important networking giving all attendees the opportunity to explore, exchange and share ideas and inspiring artists to continue their work."

Anyone under the age of 18 will not be admitted without an adult and children must be supervised at all times.

May 23, 2016 - 10:46am
posted by Howard B. Owens in Genesee Chorale, batavia, music, entertainment, arts, news.

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Press release:

As we watch our favorite films, it is often the music that brings to life what we see on the screen. A soundtrack can tug at your heartstrings, incite a fit of giggles, bring tears to your eyes, or put you on the edge of your seat. Ric Jones, musical director of the Genesee Chorale, has created a performance that takes those moments off the screen and brings them to a live audience.

The Genesee Chorale invites the community to "Meet Me at the Movies"! This performance will feature a multimedia presentation of movie clips followed by a live performance of featured songs by individual singers, small ensembles, and the entire 60-member Genesee Chorale.

Song selections will come from some of your favorite movies, including "Grease," "The Bodyguard," "O Brother, Where Art Thou?," and many more. This performance will also feature the Genesee Children’s Chorus, directed by founder Heather Lovelace. The Children’s Chorus will be performing songs from "The Sound of Music" and Disney Pixar’s "Brave."

“The last time the Chorale performed 'Meet Me at the Movies!' the event sold out,” Jones said. “The community’s response was overwhelming and we have so much great music to choose from in films, we couldn’t resist doing a second performance!”

This exciting event will take place at 4 p.m. on Sunday, June 5, at Northgate Free Methodist Church, North Campus. It is located at 8160 Bank Street Road in Batavia.

Refreshments will be available for purchase by concertgoers at the concession stand. Presale tickets cost $8 and can be purchased from any Chorale member or online at www.geneseechorale.com. Tickets will also be available at the door for $10.

May 20, 2016 - 3:28pm

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It would probably be a stretch to say that S. Shade Zajac knew from an early age he wanted to be a symphony orchestra conductor. Like every young person, he explored lots of interests growing up.

But then, there was that time his grandfather gave him a baton and he took it to kindergarten for show and tell.

"My mom got a note from my teacher saying, 'We understand that Shade really likes his baton, but some of the other kids are not mature enough to handle sharp, pointing sticks. So, we would ask you kindly not to bring it in anymore,' " Zajac recalled with a chuckle.

Zajac's obvious passion for music, his love of leading an orchestra and his sheer talent are why, at 22, fresh from earning his Bachelor of Music in Music Performance from Nazareth College, Zajac is the new conductor of the Genesee Symphony Orchestra.

He was selected by the GSO Board of Directors after a season in which he and three other conductor candidates each took turns leading the orchestra for one performance. All four shows were well attended and well received, but it was Zajac who was selected to lead the orchestra as it enters its 70th year.

Not too many young conductors get the opportunity to lead a symphony orchestra right out of college and Zajac is thrilled by the opportunity.

"It's an unbelievable experience and an unbelievable opportunity," Zajac said. "There's no substitute for having living people in an ensemble for you to work with. And not just for you to experiment and fail and to grow, but to learn from them and to learn 'okay, what works? What doesn't work? There's a problem. We're not playing this. It's not gelling yet. Why? How can I fix that?' There's only so much you can do on your own, just looking at the music."

It was Zajac's professor at Nazareth, Nancy P. Strelau, who told him about the opening with the GSO, but she warned him not to get his hopes up. His resume would arrive amongst other candidates with doctorate degrees and decades of experience.

"She told me, 'It's going to be really good for you to go through this process. Let's take a look at your resume, and you know, you won't get asked for an interview,' " Zajac recalled.

Then he got an e-mail inviting him to an interview, and he thought that was great, but "they're not going to ask me to do a concert because I'm 21 years old."

In truth, Zajac said, throughout the process, with the search committee, the board, the orchestra, he never felt like his age was an issue.

"I didn't feel like they're not taking me seriously because I'm so young," Zajac said. "They're just looking at me as a musician."

He admits he was nervous at that first rehearsal. Even for conductors in their 40s, he said, orchestras can look at a new conductor like, "Ok, who is this guy?"

"There's always going to be people who don't think I know what they're talking about or 'what is this?' " Zajac said. "They think, 'I can do better than this jerk here.' And I never, through this whole process, I never felt that. I think I said at the concert that I could have been working with these people for 40 years. It just felt, you know, we could get time to work, we could have a laugh, and we could make music, which is what we're supposed to do."

Zajac grew up in Ovid surrounded by music.

His grandparents were musicians and one of his earliest memories is being at their house and hearing Ravel's "Bolero." He was captivated.

"Just about every string player in the world, and probably other orchestra musicians, hate it because it's 15 minutes of the same thing," Zajac said laughing. "I'm probably the only person who loves it."

His next musical stepping stone was Yanni.

"My grandmother had a VHS -- whatever those are -- of 'Yanni Live at the Acropolis,' " Zajac said. "Say what you will about the man and his music but it was very helpful. It taught me that if you're going to be a cool drummer you need to have a lot of drums," which Zajac laughs at now. "So I actually really first started kind of drumming, and I was banging on pots and pans to Yanni. It sounds cliche, but I'm told it's true, and I was given a toy drum set when I was 2 or 3."

His grandfather taught in the Ithaca College School of Music and at his grandparent's house were more than Yanni -- there was Beethoven and Bach, too.

His father was a rock musician, playing guitar in bands, so he also heard a lot of Led Zeppelin, AC/DC and Rush.

"So I had these two very different musical paths and all of which I enjoyed," Zajac said. "Very rarely do I find something I don't like. When I was, I think, 3, my grandfather took me to my first orchestra concert at Ithaca College, and I barely remember it. It was the Stravinsky 'Firebird Suite' and apparently I went home and I just was all about, 'Oh, the timpani was so loud. I love that cello thing.' And I kept talking about the cello and I really wanted to play it, I guess. I started taking lessons when I was 3 or 4."

There was no string program at his middle school, so Zajac started studying with professors in Ithaca, but that duel interest in classical and rock came up again in seventh grade when some other boys asked him to be the drummer in their rock band, and they played together for several years.

"It's amazing how everyone always would freak out," Zajac said. "They only knew me as a cellist, classical music. 'You like rock music? You like jazz?' Absolutely. And it helps me so much with classical music, especially because playing in the rock band was, in a weird way, my first form of chamber music."

Nazareth College was a natural pick for Shade, both because he wanted to study under Nancy Strelau and it's perhaps the only college in the nation that allows undergraduates to conduct. As a result, he's already conducted a few symphony and chamber performance, including the Nazareth College Symphony Orchestra and the Chamber Orchestra, the Finger Lakes Summer Festival Orchestra and the Greater Rochester Women's Philharmonic. He's also participated in workshops, master classes and apprenticeships with the Baltimore Chamber Orchestra and the Northwest Symphony Orchestra.

"All throughout high school, I had other interests," Zajac said. "I enjoy reading, and probably in another lifetime, I would fancy myself a writer, or a painter, but I have always known that somehow I wanted to do music for my life, whatever that meant. If that meant being a rock drummer and touring the world, or being an orchestral musician, or being a conductor. If any of those things happened, I would be happy.

"Conducting," he added, "what really drew me to conducting, I think is, for one, there's so much music in the world, that even if I listened to something new, if I just spent each day for the rest of my life listening to something new, I probably wouldn't begin to scratch everything that's out there. I didn't want to just limit myself to say, just the cello solo repertoire or the quartet repertoire because that is just a skin cell in a body of music that I'm sure is out there."

That vast body of music -- centuries of composers from all seven continents -- will give Zajac much to choose from as he begins to chart out each season of GSO's four performances. He must balance each performance to ensure the pieces work together, that there is the right mixture of audience-pleasing hits as well as new, challenging or unfamiliar works to help spark exploration and interest. That's important both for the audience and the orchestra members, who can grow even more bored than the audience if the same pieces are performed year-after-year.

He knows he's gotten into something special with the GSO, an orchestra that consistently performs at the highest levels and attracts talent from throughout the region, something rare for the few small community orchestras that still survive. He wants to cherish that and nurture it, providing pieces that both please and challenge orchestra members, but not take them further than they're able to go.

"Me and Professor Strelau sat down and said, 'Well, what's good for this orchestra?' And what I chose was a little risky to do. Capriccio Espagnol and Polovtsian Dances. They're meaty pieces. And, quite frankly, they played the hell out of them. And it has nothing whatsoever to do with me. I mean I can only do so much. The conductor is there to inspire and to guide, but they do all the hard work. I just wave my hands. You have to have good players, and then you have to pick a smart repertoire, an engaging repertoire. I think it's a great group."

So good, in fact, that Zajac went through, after the performance last fall, a spell of "post-concert depression." It's a real thing most conductor's experience, he said, because there is so much work and anticipation that go into preparing for a performance, and then just like that, it's over. It's done.

"You're on cloud nine for a little while if it went really well, and then the next day you go, 'Ugh. When do I get to do another one?' And I have not experienced such post-concert depression as after the concert in September. Not only because it was such a great experience, and I felt such a connection, and they played so well, and I thought, 'Even if I get this, I have to wait so long before I get to work with them again.'"

The ideas of what to perform in the coming seasons are already running through his head. Perhaps a whole show of orchestral pieces from movies.

"John Williams is obvious, but Bernard Herrmann is one of my favorite composers," Zajac said. "He did most of the Alfred Hitchcock movies. "Psycho' is obviously the one you think about, but "North By Northwest" and "Marnie" and "Vertigo," they have really stunning music."

He's also interested in exploring local composers.

"Dana Wilson, for example," he said. "I guess he just retired this year, actually, from Ithaca College. Very important composer, relatively local, in the area, and he wrote some really phenomenal stuff. One is called, "Shortcut Home." It's a three or four-minute overture that's vibrant. It's got some jazz influence in it and I think the orchestra would really like it, and it's exciting as a listener. Even for someone who's not into classical music, it's cool. There are trumpets with plungers."

Perhaps, someday, the GSO will even perform one of his own compositions. He wrote his first piece in seventh grade. But he isn't considering that any time, soon, he said. The performances should be about the music and the orchestra, and he's afraid that if he programs one of his own compositions, it will look like it's about him.

There's also a very good chance one of the professors from Nazareth, a world-renowned pianist, will perform Brahms Piano Concerto No. 1. The pianist was in Batavia for Zajac's performance with the GSO and was impressed with the orchestra. He said if Zajac got the job, he would perform.

At 22, with his first appointment as conductor for a symphony orchestra, it's hard not to think the GSO could be just a stepping stone for a young, passionate and talented musician, but Zajac said he doesn't look at it that way. He doesn't even like the term "stepping stone," he said. Maybe there will be opportunities down the road that are too good to pass up, but he said he's committed to helping the GSO grow and thrive, if not for the sake of the GSO, just for the sake of his own enjoyment of music.

"As long as I'm working with musicians who want to be working, and who are just as passionate as I am about what we're doing, I could be conducting the Berlin Philharmonic or I could be conducting the East Podunk Orchestra with five people in it," Zajac said. "My goals are just to make music every single day until I physically can't or die. I think it's very easy to set these goals, like, 'I want to be the new conductor of the Rochester Philharmonic or the Berlin Philharmonic,' and although they're really wonderful names, the name is not what's most important.

"I'm convinced that I can experience just as beautiful of an experience at the GSO or another orchestra."

DISCLOSURE: Howard Owens is a member of the Board of Directors for the Genesee Symphony Orchestra.

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