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October 15, 2016 - 9:41am
posted by Howard B. Owens in Genesee Symphony Orchestra, S. Shade Zajac, batavia, news, music, arts.


The Genesee Symphony Orchestra, led by new conductor S. Shade Zajac, opens its 2016-17 season tomorrow at 4 p.m. at St. James Episcopal Church in Batavia.

The concert will feature performances by the winners of the annual Young Artists Competition, Jackie Hager, cello (top photo), and Jarod Yap, piano (second photo).

The program includes a piece by New York composer Dana Willson, "A Shortcut Home," along with Concerto in D Minor, by Lalo, Concerto in A Minor, by Schumann and "Scheherazade," by Rimsky-Korsako.

Purchase tickets online on the GSO website.







October 14, 2016 - 4:49pm
posted by Billie Owens in east bethany, news, arts, crafts, Announcements.

Several local artisans have gotten together to sell their homemade items from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday, Oct. 15-16.

The location is 5444 Ellicott Street Road (Route 63), East Bethany.

Some items include home decor, fall decor, fine art done on reclaimed wood, refinished/painted furniture, repurposed items, jewelry, and flavored popcorn.

Discover all-handcrafted rustic and primitive decor, and pottery, too.

September 5, 2016 - 12:41pm
posted by Billie Owens in arts, news, batavia and le roy.

(Submitted photo: "Winter Morning," painting by Don Grieger of The All Weather Gang, a group whose works are now on display at Elzay Gallery at Ohio Northern University's Wilson Fine Art Building through Oct. 5.)

Press release:

The All Weather Gang is a group of diverse individuals (think aerospace engineer and English teacher to graphic designer and owner of a construction company) from Western New York, including Batavia and Le Roy, who have met almost every Saturday for decades to go outdoors and paint in weather that at times would give even the U.S. Postal Service reason to reconsider.

They gather to paint the world around them and by doing so to draw attention to the scenes that "every one looks at, but no one sees." For the first time, the group's artwork is on display in Ohio.

The new exhibition, which opened Aug. 29 runs through Oct. 5, brings together paintings from summer, fall, winter and spring that are painted en plein air (outdoors) and on site.

The show is at the Elzay Gallery located at Ohio Northern University's Wilson Fine Art Building at 515 S. Gilbert St. in Ada. The gallery is open daily 1 to 4:30 pm. Sponsored by Ohio Northern University Art & Design Department and CASE (Committee on the Arts and Special Events).

August 24, 2016 - 11:24am
posted by Genesee Chamber... in news, GCC, arts, entertainment.

Mindfulness, self-improvement and guidance are important themes in today’s crazy world. With all of this anxiety swirling around our society, it’s probably the most perfect and appropriate time for a wonderful painting exhibition called “Meditations” by Joanna Angie at The Rosalie “Roz” Steiner Gallery at Genesee Community College in Batavia.

“Meditations” runs through Sept. 24. The gallery hours are 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday through Friday and open during GCC special events.

Buffalo artist Angie’s large, colorful thangka paintings explore the themes of compassion, community and knowledge. The images stem from the natural connection of Tibetan spiritual practice and the traditional form of art dating back to the 11th century. In addition to their stunning beauty, the thangka paintings serve as objects of devotion, aids to spiritual practice and sources of blessings to the who meditate upon them.

Angie’s colorful works are reflective of her life’s path. Her early childhood passion for colorful paintings began a journey of creative pursuits. Along the way, she got involved with Tibetan spiritual practice, which has taken her across the world to places like China, Tibet, India and beyond. After founding Buffalo Arts Studio in 1991, Angie directed the organization and worked on her mural career.

Visit to learn more...

August 10, 2016 - 12:47pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in City Canvas, batavia, arts, murals, downtown, news.


Nicole Brill says she loves Batavia, she loves City Church and she loves color, so as part of the City Canvas art trail project, she's painting a mural of a stained-glass window on the side of the Generation Center.

Brill is a graphic designer for City Church, so she often works with Brian Kemp, co-owner of T-Shirts Etc. on projects and Brill said it was Kemp who approached her about participating in the mural project.

There are four murals planned for downtown this summer. Two of the three on the side of the Mancuso Bowling Center are already completed, Brill is working on hers and another one is planned for the northeast corner of Main St. Pizza Co.'s building.

"Pastor Marty (Macdonald) didn't ask what I was doing," Brill said. "He said do it and do it big."

Macdonald, pictured below with Brill, happened by while we were talking with Brill and said he couldn't be prouder of Brill's participation in the project.

The art trail project will create a trail map for downtown visitors and it will include existing murals, such as those in Jackson Square by Vinny DelPlato, and the fire hydrants painted by artists two summers ago.

Kemp said he was able to reach out to artists in the community whose work isn't as often seen locally and get them to participate this year. The project is funded through a grant from GO ART!.

"I want to see creativity and color really shine here," Brill said. "And I love that I get to use it as part of my ministry at City Church."




August 10, 2016 - 9:41am


The Batavia Society of Artists sponsored a Sketch Out/Paint Out event in Jackson Square on Wednesday evening, featuring cast members from the Batavia Players upcoming presentation of "Guys and Dolls."

The event gave local artists a chance to paint or draw characters from the famous musical.








August 1, 2016 - 9:19am
posted by Howard B. Owens in theater, arts, GO ART!, Darien, Darien Lakes State Park, news.


Shake on the Lake, Genesee Valley’s Shakespeare Festival, now in its fifth season, performed Saturday at Darien Lakes State Park, entertaining an audience with "Twelfth Night," co-produced by Arkansas Shakespeare Theatre.

The evening, which opened with plein air artists painting Darien Lakes landscapes, was sponsored by GO ART!

If you missed the performance, there are opportunities this week to see it in Attica and Silver Lake. For more information, visit the theater company's website.








July 29, 2016 - 9:23am
posted by Howard B. Owens in arts, theater, alexander, news, Naomi LaDuke.


Last night, a homegrown youth theater troupe in Alexander performed a special production of the "Wizard of Oz" before dozens of invited guests.

This 25-page adaptation of the famous story was based on a script by 13-year-old Naomi LaDuke, who based her version on a musical performed at Shea's, on silent films, the movie and the book.

These pictures are from the rehearsal Wednesday at the treehouse on Church Street where the actual performance took place.

Naomi also cast the players, designed and sewed Dorothy's costume and created the scenery and props. The musical accompaniment was played by David Lange, the organist at St. James Episcopal Church, which Naomi recorded using Apple's software, Garage Band.

This is the fourth annual production by the kids, under the name of their theater, Open Door Productions.  

There was no admission fee for guests last night, but they were asked to make a donation at the door benefiting Brittany's Hope, a nonprofit in Pennsylvania that assists in international adoptions. The evening's theme was "There's no place like home."

"The kids are hoping to raise money and awareness to bring another child home to their forever family," said Naomi's mother, Karen Laduke. "Two of the actresses are internationally adopted themselves, so this is a theme that hits close to home."

Leigh LeFevre, pictured above, played Dorothy.

Naomi, besides being the writer, director, set and costume designer, also played the Wizard.

The rest of the cast: Lillian McClellan, Sally LaDuke, Jennmarie Schiller, Mya Hardie, Margarite LaDuke, Samual LaFevre, Kylee McClellan, Kathryn McClellan, Katelyn Hardie and Lucy LeFevre.




July 27, 2016 - 7:30am


American singer, songwriter, actor, Josh Groban performed last evening at Darien Lake PAC in front of a contemporary, light-spirited crowd of six thousand people. His last appearance was in 2011 in Buffalo. He performed some hits like “You Raise me Up” and from musicals “Somewhere over the Rainbow,” and “Le Temps des Cathedrales.” 

Sarah McLachlan performed two duets with Josh, one being her own “Angel.” She was the lead opener with songs like "Building a Mystery," "I will Remember You" and "Sweet Surrender." Foy Vance opened for Sarah McLachlan.  

Next concert is tonight featuring Heart with Joan Jett & the Blackhearts and Cheap Trick, 6:30 p.m.




Sarah McLachlan



July 11, 2016 - 7:18am


Photos by Rich Engelbrecht of Journey, the Doobie Brothers and Dave Mason at the Darien Lake Performing Arts Center on Saturday night.










July 7, 2016 - 9:47pm

Press release:

Batavia’s premier consumer-run human service and advocacy agency for people with disabilities, Independent Living of the Genesee Region (ILGR), is “art partnering for the disabled” with the University Heights Arts Association (UHAA), a group of artists in North Buffalo with a commitment to community that places art in businesses and nonprofits through an established Art Partnering program.

Having the stated purpose of showing that “art is for everyone irrespective of disability”, the groups’ “ARTiculations Ability Exhibitions promote the inclusion of artists and audiences with disabilities into the rich network of exhibitions offered throughout Western New York."

The program provides opportunities for artists with disabilities living in Genesee, Wyoming and Orleans counties to enter works for jurying (judging), which meet criteria such as medium, framing, size, wall-hanging hardware, etc. Those accepted will be displayed in ILGR’s office at 113 Main St., Suite 5, in Batavia, in quarterly solo and group exhibitions.

If they wish, artists can offer the works for sale at the end of the exhibition, and retain all proceeds, but they are not required to sell their works to participate. Neither of the sponsoring organizations will be charging the artists to enter.

Artists must email photographs of at least three different artworks to [email protected] to be considered; dates and times will be arranged for the accepted works to be dropped off, and then retrieved after the exhibition closes.

Artists will be welcome to participate in an annual reception at ILGR for all the ARTiculations Ability Exhibitions that have taken place that year. For more information, or to request a prospectus with the criteria and an entry form, call Donna at (585) 815-8501, ext. 411.

June 29, 2016 - 10:17am


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







June 27, 2016 - 12:08pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in arts, batavia, news, Richmond Memorial Library.


When Marilynn Palotti, a retired art teacher, traveled to Alaska two years ago, she had no idea it would unleash a flurry of creativity when she returned, but it did. She's painted dozens of pictures capturing what she saw and experienced while on the trip.

Speaking even now about the trip, she's still filled with wonder.

"It’s such a unique place," Palotti said. "It’s so isolated in places. The people are so fiercely independent, yet are so willing to help each other. It’s very hard to describe to someone else what Alaska is, all its idiosyncrasy. It has only 12,000 miles of paved roads and it has millions upon millions of acres of national parks and refuges that are so isolated that you can’t get into them except by flying."

Palotti's show is on display now at the Richmond Memorial Library. The show runs through July and the opening is Thursday, July 7th from 6 to 9 p.m.





June 21, 2016 - 12:57pm


Dancer and choreographer Shoulin Young has traveled the world, working and performing with the likes of Brittany Spears, Chris Brown, Jason Darulo and Justin Beiber. Monday, he was in Batavia, conducting classes with students at Kristen's Performing Arts Center on East Main Street.

"I love what she (Kristen) has going on here, especially for a small town like Batavia," said Young, who is originally from Rochester, but now lives in Tampa, Fla. "Any chance I get to come here and work with these kids, I love to do it. The kids always have great energy. I love every second of it."

Owner Kristen Drilling opened the studio 10 months ago and offers a wide range of classes in performing arts, including all styles of dance, theater, music and pageant training. Each summer, she tries to bring in an accomplished and well-known instructor to conduct classes for a day.

Students from the studio have won competitions in Niagara Falls and Rochester, which has drawn attention from choreographers such as Young, she said.

"They see a lot of talent through our girls," Drilling said. "They see we're from a small town, so when we have really talented girls go out and win first place over all these big cities, we get a lot of choreographers in our studio to see what our girls have."

Young said he sees the talent, but more importantly, he sees an enthusiasm for hip-hop that a lot of people might not expect from a small town.

"When you think of Batavia or smaller towns in Upstate New York, you don’t really think hip-hop, but the hip-hop talent specifically here is very, very impressive," Young said. "There are lots of kids who are very hungry for it and dance in general is something that younger kids really want and the style of hip-hop is just a music that they all love.  I’m very impressed with the dancers I see here."






June 10, 2016 - 12:00pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in elba, Elba HS, Elba Drama Club, entertainment, arts, news.


The Drama Club of Elba High School presents a performance tonight that highlights the past 10 years of musicals performed by the Club, including selections from "The King and I," "Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory," "Cats" and "My Fair Lady." The performances will be followed by senior awards.

The show starts at 7 p.m. in the Elba Central School theater and tickets are $3 per person.



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


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 Tickets will also be available at the door for $10.

May 20, 2016 - 3:28pm


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.

May 14, 2016 - 4:38pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in appraisal fair, GO ART, news, arts, Antiques.


Modeled after Antiques Roadshow, GO ART! hosted its second annual appraisal fair today at Seymore Place. Area residents were able to bring in the rare, the antique and the unique to have experts give their best estimate of the piece's value and quality.





May 4, 2016 - 10:44am

Live Nation's concert line up for 2016 at Darien Lake looks pretty much like it's set for the season.

Here it is:

  • Bad Company & Joe Walsh – Tuesday, June 7th
  • Miranda Lambert w/ Kip Moore & Brothers Osborne  – Thursday, June 23
  • Zac Brown Band – Sunday, July 3
  • 5 Seconds of Summer – Wednesday, July 6th
  • Vans Warped Tour – Thursday, July 14th
  • Toby Keith w/ Eric Paslay – Friday, July 15th
  • Disturbed w/ Breaking Benjamin – Sunday, July 24th
  • Josh Groban w/ Sarah McLachlan – Tuesday, July 26th
  • Heart & Joan Jett w/ Cheap Trick – Wednesday, July 27th
  • G-EAZY with Logic – Friday, July 29th
  • Darius Rucker with Dan + Shay and Michael Ray – Sunday, July 31st
  • Brad Paisley w/ Tyler Farr – Friday, Aug. 19th
  • Goo Goo Dolls w/ Collective Soul – Saturday, Aug. 20th
  • ZZ Top & Gregg Allman --Tuesday, Aug. 23
  • Blink-182 w/ A Day to Remember & All Time Low – Wednesday, Aug. 24th
  • Florida Georgia Line w/ Cole Swindell – Friday, Aug. 26th
  • Kidz Bop Kids Live! – Sunday, Aug. 28th
  • Def Leppard w/ REO Speedwagon & Tesla – Wednesday, Aug. 31st
  • Jason Aldean w/ Thomas Rhett & A Thousand Horses – Thursday, Sept. 22nd
April 28, 2016 - 10:34am
posted by Howard B. Owens in Emily Helenbrook, Genesee Chorale, batavia, arts, entertainment, music, news.


Press release:

The Genesee Chorale, under the direction of Ric Jones, is excited to offer a performance of Carl Orff’s “Carmina Burana” at 7 p.m. on Friday, April 29th, in the beautiful sanctuary of St. James Episcopal Church, located at 405 E. Main St. in Batavia. 

“Performing this amazing work will truly be a memorable experience for us and for the audience,” said Jones, director of the large, talented community chorus based in Batavia. “This performance will run the gamut of human emotion; excitement, intrigue, humor, and love all rolled into one amazing work."

“Carmina Burana” is a scenic cantata composed by Orff and based on a collection of 24 medieval poems. You might recognize the exciting “O Fortuna,” which was first introduced to mainstream media in the 1981, John Boorman film, "Excalibur." Other appearances in movies include "Glory" (1989), "The Hunt for Red October" (1990), "The Doors" (1991), "Natural Born Killers" (1994), and "The General’s Daughter" (1999).

Orff’s Carmina Burana is based on 24 of the 254 poems found in the medieval collection Carmina Burana, a manuscript composed of 11th – 13th century poems and dramatic texts, believed to be written by clergy in Italy and Western Europe for traveling scholars, universities and theologians. The collection of texts was discovered in 1803 in the Benedictine monastery of Benediktbeuern in Bavaria (Germany).

The Chorale will consist be accompanied by several three outstanding soloists: Emily Helenbrook, soprano; John Clayton, tenor; Joe Finetti, baritone.

Hellenbrook is a senior at the Eastman School of Music, studying with Carol Webber. Helenbrook has performed several times as a featured soloist with the Buffalo Philharmonic and in several appearances with Ars Nova Musicians in the Viva Vivaldi Festival. She also appeared twice on the nationally acclaimed show, From the Top, recorded at the Chautauqua Amphitheatre and Kodak Hall at Eastman.

Clayton is a tenor based in Buffalo. He has been described as “One of Buffalo’s top vocalists” who performs “gallantly.” He studied music and voice at SUNY College at Buffalo and has worked with vocal coaches from across America and Europe. Clayton is a frequent soloist with choral ensembles in Western New York. He has also been featured in concert with the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra and Nickel City Opera. Clayton has sung the National Anthem for Buffalo Bills' home games and is a current member of the Harmonia Chamber Singers.

Finetti, bass – baritone, enjoys various performing opportunities in the Rochester area. He recently appeared as the beleaguered Herr Schlendrian in Bach’s Coffee Cantata at Nazareth College, interpreted the Bass role of Haydn’s "Creation" in several performances with the Finger Lakes Chorale, and sang Broadway favorites as a guest of the Irondequoit Chorale. A longtime member of the baroque ensemble The Publick Musick, he has sung solo roles in numerous Bach cantatas and masses as well as period performances of Handel’s "Messiah." Finetti performs regularly with the Renaissance group Musica Spei, the annual sponsor of the Rochester Early Music Festival as well as the well-known local chamber choir Madrigalia. He has a practice of family medicine in Greece, NY, and lives with his wife Maria Mastrosimone, also a family physician, in the Highland Park neighborhood of Rochester.

The performance will also feature two talented pianists, Doug Hanson and Howard Spindler. Five percussionists from the Batavia and Rochester area will accompany the work.

Tickets for the performance at St. James are available on the Genesee Chorale Web site,, from any Chorale member, or at the door. For more information please contact the Chorale president, Heather Lovelace at (716) 531-8986.

The Genesee Chorale is directed by Ric Jones, owner of Imagine Music Publishing. In addition to being the musical director of the Genesee Chorale, he also serves as musical director of the Brighton Symphony Orchestra and The Middleport Community Choir. Jones is also the organist at St. Peter Evangelical Lutheran Church in Medina and Trinity Lutheran Church in Wolcottsville.

The Genesee Chorale is a community choir comprised of singers from all walks of life. It draws membership from Genesee County and seven surrounding counties. The repertory of the Genesee Chorale encompasses a wide variety of music in various styles from motets and madrigals of the Renaissance, to folk, musicals and jazz. Over the years, the Chorale has championed contemporary works for choir as well as larger liturgical settings including Bach's St. Matthew's "Passion," Charpentier's "Midnight Mass for Christmas," the Mozart and Brahms requiems, and several masses by composers such as Schubert and Mozart. Additionally, the Chorale has performed "Die Fledermaus," Mendelssohn's "Elijah," Handel's "Solomon," Haydn's "Creation," Vivaldi's "Magnificat," and Vaughan William’s "Hodie."

This concert is made possible in part with funds from the Decentralization Program, a regrant program of the New York State Council on the Arts, administered by the Genesee Regional Arts Council.


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