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May 21, 2017 - 9:51pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia society of artists, arts, batavia, news.

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Jenny Wood hosted the Batavia Society of Artists today at her home on West Main Street Road, Batavia, for a "sketch out," a chance for artists to paint and draw the landscape of her yard, which is well known locally for the annual bloom of forget-me-nots.

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May 19, 2017 - 5:54pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in GO ART!, arts, entertainment, batavia, news.

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GO ART! opened two shows at Seymore Place last night -- the member's show, with the theme, "Summer of Love," in honor of the 50th anniversary of the hippies' heyday --summer of 1967, and "The Dream of America."

"The Dream of America: Separation & Sacrifice in the Lives of North Country Latino Immigrants," is a display of the photography and writing of Lisa Catalfamo Flores. It originally was on display at the Crandall Public Library in Glens Falls. GO ART! is its first stop on a statewide tour. The show will be on display through July 7.

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May 12, 2017 - 4:39pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia society of artists, arts, batavia, news.

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David Burke is the winner of the 2017 Spring Art Show hosted by the Batavia Society of Artists at the Richmond Memorial Library. Burke received his award at the show's opening last night.

Richard Ellingham received second place and Kevin Feary received third place.

Rachel Beck, a Genesee Community College student and resident of Attica, received the Carr-Mumford scholarship.

May 12, 2017 - 9:10am

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Members of the Genesee Symphony Orchestra visited Oakfield-Alabama Elementary School yesterday to meet with students from each grade to talk with them about classical music and the instruments they use. Above, Bob Knipe talks about his French horn. 

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Conductor Shade Zajac.

May 11, 2017 - 12:10pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Batavia Players, Harvester 56 Theater, batavia, arts, entertainment, news.

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Amy Martin and Joe Kusmierczak star in the Batavia Player's production of "The Last Five Years," a musical written and composed by Jason Robert Brown and produced and directed by Kathy White, with performances this weekend at the Harvester 56 Theater.

Show times are 7:30 p.m., Friday and Saturday, and 2 p.m., Sunday.

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May 4, 2017 - 6:09pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in elba, Elba Central School Drama Club, arts, entertainment, news.

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The Elba Central School Drama Club performs a Broadway musical review they've dubbed "Spotlight" at 7 p.m. Saturday, May 13, in the school's auditorium.

Drama Club members past and present were invited to audition for the show, performing show tunes of their choosing so long as they numbers hadn't been part of a past or an upcoming show.

After the performance, audience members will be invited to participate in a mega game of musical chairs in the gym.

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May 4, 2017 - 10:24am
posted by Howard B. Owens in GSO, Genesee Symphony Orchestra, elba, music, entertainment, arts, news.

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The Genesee Symphony Orchestra performs in Elba Central School at 4 p.m., Sunday, in its final concert of the season.

The program is called "Escaping Gravity: A Journey Through the Stars," and features "And God Created Great Whales," by Hovhaness, "Music from Apollo 13," arranged by John Moss and featuring the String Workshop, "Suite from Close Encounters of the Third Kind," by John Williams, and "The Planets," by Holst.

Musical Director S. Shade Zajac conducts.

Tickets are $15 for adults, $7 for students, $10 for seniors and families are $35. Tickets can be purchased online at GeneseeSymphony.com.

Photos are from Monday's rehearsal.

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April 28, 2017 - 11:54am
posted by Howard B. Owens in Roz Steiner Art Gallery, GCC, arts, entertainment, news.

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A new show opened at the Genesee Community College Roz Steiner Art Gallery yesterday featuring the work of students. The show, called Vision, runs through May 21.

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April 26, 2017 - 11:24am
posted by Howard B. Owens in GCC, theater, arts, entertainment, news.

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Press release:

Genesee Community College’s Stuart Steiner Theatre will be transformed into the deep jungle, allowing audiences to follow three cheeky monkeys. Seeno, Hearno and Sayno journey toward wisdom as they swing through the trees without a care, learning to survive as humans encroach upon their idyllic world.

Three Wise Monkeys is presented by GCC’s Forum Players Children’s Theatre Ensemble and features one show only at 7 p.m. on Friday, April 28. Audiences of all ages will enjoy watching Seeno, Hearno and Sayno in their quest to find their lost baby monkey, Dono, and return him to his rightful place—all while eating bananas, of course!

Tickets are $8 for adults, and $5 for seniors (55+) and students (16+) and GCC faculty/ staff. GCC students with ID are $3, and GCC alumni with ID will receive a $2 discount on adult ticket. To reserve seats contact the GCC box office at [email protected] or (585) 345-6814.

Cast and crew:

  • Maryanne Arena, artistic supervising director, Le Roy
  • Jessica Skehan, “Dono,” Holley
  • Taylor Renee Wilson, narrator, Cheektowaga
  • Mikayla Godleski, stage manager
  • Benjamin Martis, "Sayno," Curacao
  • Pedro Phellipe, "Seeno," Jundiai, Brazil
  • Valentine Strange, costume designer, Alden 
  • Becka Naber, dancer
  • Xochitl Rosario, dancer
  • Tillison Pease, sound designer, York
  • Emily Carey, narrator
  • Spencer Henley, "Hearno"/Tiger, Akron
  • Kaylee Koch, lighting designer, Alexander
  • Celeste Brownell, "Hearno"/Tiger, Batavia
  • Brie Cummings, backstage/projections, Bath
  • Gabriel Grey, backstage, Batavia
  • Robert Reiss, director, Batavia
  • Ed Hallborg, technical director
  • Tara Pocock, choreographer
  • Clare Francis, narrator, Alexander
  • Kandice Green, backstage

Photos by Maureen Spindler.

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April 21, 2017 - 12:30pm

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The concert lineup for the 2017 season at Darien Lake Performing Arts Center continues to fill out, with a total of 23 shows schedule after the latest addition, Lady Antebellum.

Other shows added over the past few weeks: Goo Goo Dolls, Train, Zac Brown Band, Third Eye Blind, Nickleback, One Republic, Kings of Leon, and John Mayer.

This is the 25th season for Darien Lake PAC and to celebrate, concert tickets are also good for admission to the theme park.

For a complete concert lineup and ticket information, click here.

April 21, 2017 - 1:14am
posted by Howard B. Owens in Batavia Players, Harvester Center, 56 Harvester, theater, arts, news.

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Hamlet may be undecided about his fate, but the Shakespeare tragedy will "be" despite heavy flooding overnight at the Harvester Center that came close to jeopardizing the stage and the costume and prop room of Batavia Players at 56 Harvester.

Batavia Players President Pat Burk said Batavia City firefighters had a lot to do with keeping the heaviest flood waters out of the most critical areas of the theater.

Most of the flooding, caused by last night's heavy rain, was confined to the common areas just outside of the theater, but some water did get into the theater and members of the troupe are being asked to come in tomorrow at 3 p.m. to clean up inside the theater.

The Players are scheduled to open Shakespeare's "Hamlet" at 7 p.m. There will definitely be a performance, Burk said.

The flood could have been a disaster except that Hunter Doran and other members of the theater group were on hand getting costumes ready for the show's opening.

There was leaking as early as 3 p.m., Doran said, but water started to flood in at 8:30 p.m. That's when he called for help.

City fire responded with shop vacs and squeegees to help stem the tide and most of the water was dumped down drains by the time firefighters had to leave for another call.

"Hamlet" is part of Batavia Player's annual Shakespeare in the Springtime production. Besides the show tomorrow, there is one at 7 p.m. Saturday, at 2 p.m., Sunday and again at 7 p.m. on April 28 and 29. Tickets are $13 for adults and $10 for students and seniors.

Photo: Ed Canty finishes water cleanup in a hallway outside the theater.

April 7, 2017 - 12:30pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in GO ART!, arts, batavia, news.

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Gregory Hallock, assistant director of GO ART!, reads off the winners Thursday night of the juried exhibition held by the arts council this month at the show's opening at Seymore Place in Batavia.

First Place, with a $200 cash prize, went to Conrad Borucki, of Alden. Joann Long, of Bloomfield, was second (both pictured below).

Third, Kevin Hammon and honorable mentions to: Rebecca Graham, John Hodgins, Lynnette Celedonia, Sabrina Ahmed, Brian Kemp, David Burke, Tracy Billings and Richard Ellingham.

GO ART! received hundreds of submissions under the theme "Art of the Rural." A total of 68 pieces were selected for the show, which runs through May 12.

Pictured with Hallock, Director Jennifer Gray and Board Member Mary Jo Whitman.

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April 6, 2017 - 2:30pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Le Roy, schools, education, arts, music, entertainment, news.

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Le Roy Central Schools has been named one of the best communities in the nation for music education by the National Association of Music Merchants. It  was one of only 527 schools, or 4 percent of the eligible schools, in the United States to earn the award.

Le Roy High School Principal Tim McArdle said the award recognizes the efforts of teachers, administrators, parents, students and community leaders who have helped make music education an important part of students' lives. 

"This award represents our district's long-standing commitment to valuing what music education does for our students and the true pleasure it brings to our community," McArdle said. "We are so proud of all of our music students and staff that year in and year out produce high-level performances on our stages, in the pit, in competition, on the field, and in many places across the region. Our strong music program is one of the many aspects of our school that makes being an Oatkan Knight so special!"

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April 1, 2017 - 9:24am
posted by Howard B. Owens in music, arts, entertainment, schools, news.

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Music students from Genesee and Wyoming counties will perform today at 2 p.m. at Pavilion High School in the second of two all-county music festival concerts.

The festival is organized by the Genesee-Wyoming Music Educators Association.

Today's show features the high school band, the junior high chorus and the elementary band.

Tickets are $4 each at the door.

These photos are from yesterday's rehearsal.

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March 21, 2017 - 10:30am
posted by Howard B. Owens in GCC, dance, arts, entertainment, news.

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Press release:

Friedrich Nietzche once said, "We should consider every day lost on which we have not danced at least once." With great music, fine lighting, a diverse cast of more than a dozen practiced dancers and a range of choreographic styles by Tara Pocock, a Genesee Community College faculty member, "The Night of Dance" promises to be a great day found and fully appreciated. The one-show only event is scheduled Saturday, March 25 at 7 p.m. in the Stuart Steiner Theatre at the Batavia Campus. All proceeds will benefit the GCC Forum Players Theatre Group.

"This fun and family-friendly event will feature varying dance styles from jazz, hip hop, modern, lyrical, and tap," Pocock said. "It combines the talent of many and will even include an optional audience participation opportunity."

Music for "The Night of Dance" will range from Michael Jackson to Skrillex, the 90's hip hop hits to contemporary "rise up" and some "guillotine" music scores to complement multiple styles of movement. The cast includes: Tara Pocock of Batavia, Erin Korn of Brockport,

Katie Luttrell, Nicole Pritchard, Sam Hunt, Remiah Sundine, Alexis Moore, Alex Dowd,

Madison Dowd, Amanda ball and Riley McPherson-all from Churchville, Makayla Spence from Rochester, Rebecca Phelps of Bergen and members of the GCC Dance Club

Tickets prices are: General admission $8; Seniors (55+), students (16+), GCC faculty and staff $5; GCC students with a valid ID $3 and all GCC alumni with the Alumni card receive $2 off regular priced tickets. Doors open at 6:30 and there will be a 15 minute intermission during the 90 minute program.

Photos by Howard Owens

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March 21, 2017 - 7:24am
posted by Howard B. Owens in Batavia HS, Mr. Batavia, schools, arts, entertainment, news.

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Batavia High Schools annual Mr. Batavia contest is at 7 p.m., March 31, in the school auditorium.

Contestants have been in rehearsals for weeks for the annual event.

This year's contestants and their charities they are competing for: 

  • Jerry Reinhart, Michael Napoleone Memorial Foundation
  • Dominic Brown, Iroquois Trail Council, BSA
  • Campbell Anderson, Red Cross
  • Casey Radka, Genesee Cancer Assistance
  • Cody Dioguardi, Ricky Palermo Foundation
  • Sam Bartz, Batavia VA
  • Quentin Branciforte, Anna's Wish
  • Ryan Bieniek, All Babies Cherished
  • Casey Austin, Collin Crane Memorial
  • Joe Allegue, Community Action
  • Freddie Cunningham, Volunteers for Animals
  • John Currier, Habitat for Humanity

Below, a few shots from rehearsal for the "swimsuit" competition.

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March 21, 2017 - 7:15am

Press release:

Darien Lake, Western New York’s largest theme park, is expanding benefits for season pass holders by increasing its free concert offerings through its partnership with Live Nation.

Season pass holders will have exclusive eligibility for a limited number of free lawn tickets to three Live Nation concerts during the 2017 season, including Third Eye Blind on June 29, OneRepublic on July 25 and Goo Goo Dolls on August 12.

“We are always looking for ways to reward our most loyal guests and increase the experience value,” said General Manager Chris Thorpe.  “What better way to do that than to increase our free concert offerings for season pass holders?”

Season pass holders will present their processed season pass at Darien Lake’s Live Nation Portal located in the park next to the Grizzly Run attraction only on the day of the concert to receive their free lawn ticket. This benefit is first-come, first-served, and only a limited number of tickets will be given out. As these concerts are Live Nation events, all Live Nation restrictions apply.

Paying for itself in just two visits, a Darien Lake 2017 season pass remains the best value available to park guests. In addition to unlimited admission all season long, season pass holders will enjoy a free souvenir mug, free tickets for friends, free parking, free concerts and other benefits if they purchase and process their pass by May 29.

For more information on season passes, concerts or accommodations, visit www.DarienLake.com.

March 20, 2017 - 9:25am
posted by Howard B. Owens in GO ART!, arts, entertainment, news.

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Press release:

2017 marks the 30th year that GO ART! has proudly administered the New York State Council on the Arts’ Decentralization (DEC)  Regrant Program  in Genesee and Orleans counties. This program was initiated by the NYS Legislature to offer more artistic and cultural decision-making for state monies spent at a local level.

On March 2nd , GO ART! honored 24 grant recipients from across our two-county region. This year, 20 Reach Grants have been awarded to deserving nonprofits and local government entities who will provide cultural and artistic programming to benefit the local community. In addition, one Ripple Grant has been awarded to an individual artist to create a new work, and three Spark Grants (Arts in Education Grants) have been awarded to individual artists and nonprofit organizations, providing K-12 public school students and/or senior learners high-quality artistic learning experiences.                

With the honorees and GO ART! Board and staff, Sharon White representative of Stephen Hawley, Lynne Johnson, Vice Chairperson of Orleans County Legislature, John DeFillips, of Orleans County Legislature, and Gregg Torrey, of Genesee County Legislature, were treated to a vocal performance by the Genesee Chorale and local school music teachers, Lauren Picarro-Hoerbelt and Jennifer Neroni-Trupo.

 These are the 2017 DEC recipients:

 Orleans County

  • The Arc of Genesee Orleans, sponsored by Orleans County Chamber of Commerce (Open Mic & Art Show), $2,375
  • Lee-Whedon Memorial Library ("Finally Fridays!"), $2,800
  • Lyndonville Lions Club (Music Fun in the summer in Lyndonville), $3,800
  • Orleans County Chamber of Commerce (Traveling Towpath Troubadours: Bicentennial Celebration of the Erie Canal), $5,000
  • Village of Albion (Concerts on the Canal), $2,673
  • Village of Holley (Concerts at Canal Park), $1,000
  • World Life Institute Inc. (Voices from Earth: Pottery Experience in Orleans County), $4,908
  • Yates Community Library (More Than Just Books ),  $4,400

Genesee County

  • The Arc of Genesee Orleans (Art Show and Film Festival), $2,394
  • Batavia Concert Band (2017 Summer Concert Series), $4,250
  • Batavia Players (Summer Musical), $1,750
  • Byron-Bergen Public Library (Art and Music in the Community), $2,250
  • Genesee Chorale (Genesee Chorale 2017 Season), $4,000
  • Batavia Players (Spring After School Program), $1,427
  • Jill Pettigrew (NYS School for the Blind 150th Anniversary Permanent Ceramic Tie Mural), $3,559
  • Ted Canning sponsored by Genesee Symphony Orchestra (Steel Band Residency), $1,725
  • David Burke (Byron-Bergen Public Library Exterior Mural),  $2,500

If you enjoyed any of the events or public artwork created by the recipients, please note that the Decentralization Grant Program (DEC) is probably in danger of being cut or disseminated by Federal budget cuts that are being proposed. If you care about art and culture in your life at the grassroots level, let your legislators know that we need funding to continue to promote art and culture in our community.

March 18, 2017 - 3:39pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in arts, education, City Schools, schools, batavia, news.

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Last night was the last official student art show for Deb Meier, an art teacher at Batavia High School for 31 years. She's pictured in the back row on the left, with some of the city schools students who won awards Friday night in the opening art show at Richmond Memorial Library for Student Art Month.

Meier said she will continue volunteer work with student artists because she thinks it's so beneficial to the kids.

"Art gives enjoyment to life," Meier said. "It gives meaning. The arts, even though we only celebrate it once a month a year with Youth Art Month, it's essential to our beings. We are no longer living in caves. We’re living in houses that are designed by architects, wearing clothes that are designed by fashion designers."

Art is all around us, she agreed.

"Yes, we just need to learn to see it."

What she's enjoyed most about teaching art she said is seeing the students blossom. 

"Seeing the realization, seeing the light bulb go off when they realize they’ve got it, they did something right, they took something and explored a new media or new idea in expression," she said.

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March 16, 2017 - 8:30pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in arts, GO ART!, news.

The proposed federal spending plan released today by the Trump Administration cuts funding for the arts, which, as the Washington Post points out, will hit small rural communities, such as Batavia, the hardest.

The $148 million National Endowment for the Arts Budget -- 0.004 percent of the overall federal budget -- is funneled down the local level by the New York State Council on the Arts.

If cut, that funding will mean the elimination of grants for local arts groups, said Jennifer Gray, executive director of GO ART! She said there are 25 organizations and individuals in Genesee and Orleans counties who depend on those grants to provide arts events, about 70 a year, along with classes and programs that are enjoyed by more than 20,000 people throughout the two counties.

"If those programs are defunded, those programs will not happen," Gray said.

Early today, Rep. Chris Collins issued a press release expressing a couple of reservations about the Trump budget, particularly as it pertains to agriculture and the National Institute of Health, but did not address any other budget cuts, including eliminating the NEA. Twice today we emailed members of Collins staff requesting a comment on the topic from the Congressman and did not receive any response.

Elimination of arts programs could have far-reaching effects locally, including on education and business.

Steve Hyde, CEO of GCEDC, said he understands the balancing act the president must go through to arrive at a budget he believes is best for the country, but it's also true businesses are looking for communities where they might set up shop certainly take into consideration lifestyle issues for employees, which includes access to arts and entertainment opportunities.

Companies want to know that potential employees will want to move into a community that offers the lifestyle choices and amenities that attract top talent.

The arts, Hyde said, also play a key role in educating the future workforce.

"The arts help kids engage and it draws on those necessary critical thinking and creative thinking skills," Hyde said.

Gray also noted the potentially dire economic impacts of cutting arts funding.

"Our region will continue to become a cultural wasteland, which in turn drives away potential residents, potential property tax income, potential industry, the list goes on," Gray said. "We will be an area that supports methadone clinics before it supports the arts. Our children will have the options to get drug treatment over participating and thriving in the arts. The arts change lives, change regions, (it) lifts up the economy and drives tourism. Who wants to live in a region devoid of all that?"

Eliminating the NEA has been long been the goal of many social conservatives who not only say the NEA is wasteful spending, but that it also promotes artistic expression social conservatives find objectionable.

While the NEA is only a tiny portion of overall federal spending, the funds it disperses is also only about 1 percent of all the money spent on the arts in the United States. In smaller communities, though, where just as a matter of smaller populations, there are fewer people to support the arts and fewer rich patrons, the federal spending has a greater impact.

Gray doesn't know if defunding NEA will lead to the eventual demise of GO ART!, but even if it doesn't, she said, it will have a profound impact on the local arts community.

"Like all of Trump's policy's so far," Gray said, "it will devastate those people and organizations that need it the most. Poverty-stricken areas and low-income regions will further fall into the abyss of both cultural void and economic destitution."

DISCLOSURE: Howard Owens is on the board of directors of the Genesee Symphony Orchestra, which in the past has received grants from GO ART! that help fill budget gaps for the orchestra.

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