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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.

March 13, 2017 - 4:25pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Rashaad Santiago, arts, entertainment, batavia, business.

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Special effects artist Rashaad Santiago has set up a studio on the third floor of the Harvester Center where he can do work for his clients from all over the world as well as teach aspiring artists.

Santiago won the reality TV series "Face-Off" in 2014 for his monster-making prowess.

The studio gives Santiago a place where he can make costumes, masks, and props for clients, whether molded, sculpted or welded.

He said he's been getting work for movies, television and commercials.

He's also traveled on personal appearances to conventions and special events. He returned recently from Nashville where he was invited to provide a demo in monster-making.

He said he enjoys teaching.

"I love talking about this stuff," Santiago said. "I love being part of the process of watching somebody learn something new and then watch them work at it until they get it."

Currently, Santiago is running a four-week Wednesday night course. He will start a new course when he returns from his business trip. For more information or to sign up, visit his Facebook page or email him at [email protected]

March 3, 2017 - 11:04am
posted by Howard B. Owens in GCC, arts, entertainment, news.

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The work of Genesee Community College students enrolled in Fine Arts courses are on display this month in the Rosalie "Roz" Steiner Gallery.

Opening receptions were held yesterday afternoon and evening.

The artwork was created by students involved in drawing, painting, 2D and 3D design, and ceramics.

The show is on display through the end of March.

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March 3, 2017 - 10:53am
posted by Howard B. Owens in Batavia HS, batavia, arts, entertainment, news.

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Students at Batavia High School are in the midst of rehearsals for the musical "Hairspray," which they will perform next weekend.

Showtimes are at 7:30 p.m., March 10 and 11, and 2 p.m. March 12.

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March 1, 2017 - 4:46pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in byron-bergen, schools, education, arts, entertainment, news.

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This is the cast of "10 (Again)" at Byron-Bergen High School, which opens at 7 p.m. tomorrow at the school.

The show is an original musical by the school's music teacher Laurence Tallman.

There are also performances at 7 p.m. on Friday and Saturday.

Tickets are $10 for adults and $8 for students and seniors.

Submitted photo and information.

February 28, 2017 - 5:03pm
posted by Billie Owens in congressman chris collins, arts, news, Announcements.

Press release:

Congressman Chris Collins today released the following statement announcing this year’s Congressional Art Competition and encouraging local high school students in New York’s 27th district to participate.

“The Congressional Art Competition is a great opportunity for hardworking high school students to showcase their work to the hundreds of thousands of people who visit the Capitol each year,” said Congressman Collins. “There are incredibly talented artists throughout NY-27. I look forward to seeing this year’s submissions and the opportunity to welcome the winning artist to our nation’s capital.”

Now in its 35th year, the Congressional Art Competition is open to all high school students who reside in New York’s 27th Congressional District. Last year there were more than 90 submissions. The winning artist will receive a round trip flight to Washington, D.C., to see their artwork in the U.S. Capitol, where it will be on display for one year.

Submissions are due to either of Congressman Collins’ two district offices no later than 5 p.m. on Tuesday, April 4. A reception and award ceremony will be held on Saturday, April 8th, at the Roz Steiner Art Gallery, located on the Genesee Community College campus in Batavia. Local high schools have been notified regarding contest rules and submission guidelines.

Interested students should see their art teacher for details or contact Chris Catt from Congressman Collins’ office at (585) 519-4002.

February 21, 2017 - 5:07pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Elba Drama Club, elba, arts, entertainment, news.

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The Elba Central School Drama Club is presenting the musical "Hello, Dolly!" this weekend.

The show opens at 7 p.m., Friday. Additional performances are at 2 and 7 p.m., Saturday, in the school auditorium.

Tickets are $6 for students and seniors and $8 for adults. Tickets available at DailyNewsTickets.com, Roxy's Music Store, and at the door before the show.

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February 14, 2017 - 11:58am
posted by Howard B. Owens in Genesee Chorale, arts, music, entertainment, news.

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Press release:

The Genesee Chorale invites the community to "Summer Daze," a summer-themed choral performance at 4 p.m. on Sunday, Feb. 19 at St. Joseph Catholic School at 2 Summit St. in Batavia. This fun concert will depart from the Chorale's classical selections to uplift the audience and melt away the winter doldrums with an afternoon in the summer sun.

“This time of year, the long, dark winter days seem to stretch on forever,” said Director Ric Jones. “We wanted to give our audience a much-needed break from the snow and cold by transporting them to a warm, sunny day through music.”

The concert venue will be decorated for the theme, Chorale members will dress the part, and the Chorale will be accompanied by local musicians on percussion and ukuleles! These fun performances are audience favorites, with familiar songs and performances by the full chorale, small ensembles, and soloists.

Concertgoers will recognize many of the song selections, like the Beach Boys’ "Little Deuce Coupe," Israel Kamakawiwo'ole’s Hawaiian rendition of "Somewhere Over the Rainbow," Bob Marley’s "One Love," and many more.

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. In the event of severe winter weather, the concert will be rescheduled for the same place and time on the following Sunday, Feb. 26.

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

The Genesee Chorale is a community chorus founded in 1971 with members from Genesee County and seven surrounding counties. The Chorale’s repertoire includes a wide variety of music in various styles from motets and madrigals of the Renaissance, to folk, musicals and jazz. The Chorale always welcomes new singers. The Chorale is directed by Ric Jones, who is the owner of Imagine Music Publishing, the musical director of the Brighton Symphony Orchestra and The Middleport Community Choir, and is also the organist at St. Peter Evangelical Lutheran Church in Medina and Trinity Lutheran Church in Wolcottsville.

Photos by Howard Owens.

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February 14, 2017 - 10:35am

Chance the Rapper, fresh off a Grammy win this week, has been added to the lineup of top stars coming to Darien Lake Performing Arts Center this season.

The show is scheduled for 8 p.m., May 31.

The theme park won't be open on that date, though for all other upcoming dates, Live Nation is celebrating 25 years of bringing music to Darien Lake by partnering with the Theme Park to offer free park admission on concert nights.

Other acts booked for the summer include Zac Brown Band, Third Eye Blind, Nickelback, Chicago and the Doobie Brothers, Foreigner, Kings of Leon, Lady Antebellum, and Green Day.

For more on the concert season, click here.

February 11, 2017 - 9:42am
posted by Howard B. Owens in Batavia Players, Harvester 56, theater, arts, news, batavia.

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This weekend and next, Batavia Players, now in its 85th season, is presenting "The Magic Kingdom On Broadway VIII." The musical review features performances from a variety of Disney productions, including "Zip-A-Dee-Doo-Dah," "A Spoonful of Sugar," "A Whole New World," "The Ballad of Davy Crockett," songs from "Frozen," and songs from "High School Musical," plus several other numbers. 

The cast includes 37 local dancers and singers from age 8 to 40. The show consists of five segments with a 15-minute intermission and a total run time of an hour and 45 minutes. The show is appropriate for theatergoers of all ages.

There is a performance at 56 Harvester today at 7:30 p.m. and tomorrow at 2 p.m. Next weekend there are performances on Friday and Saturday at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $15 for adults and $13 for students and seniors. 

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February 8, 2017 - 2:24pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in arts, art, batavia, news.

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One time when Shirley Taylor was pinstriping a man told her, "I've never seen anybody pinstriping like you before."

She knew the man wasn't being negative, but she still wasn't sure how to take the remark.

When the publisher of a UK-based hot rod magazine, "Pinstriping and Kustom Graphics," contacted her on Facebook and said she really liked her work, Taylor thought maybe she had found her own style that people like.

This month, Taylor is featured in that magazine, a bit of recognition only six years after she took up the art form.

"I always loved art, ever since I was a little kid," the Batavia resident said. "I’ve always loved painting and drawing, but I never knew about pinstriping until six years ago and I was first introduced to it. I never knew it existed."

Pinstriping is the art of creating designs using thin, precise lines, usually as decoration on objects. The art form is tied closely to hot rods and motorcycles, but pinstripers will also paint on sheets of metal and just about any object that might be of interest. Taylor's mailbox, for example, is pinstriped, and her collection of work includes Christmas tree ornaments.

She got started while attending an annual hot-rodding event hosted by her brother and a pinstriper there offered her a lesson. She's been hooked ever since, she said. After she learned the basics, she started to develop her own style.

When she attends the Syracuse Nationals this year, it will be her fourth year participating, painting panels along with pinstripers from all over the world. She said all of the items painted are auctioned off with the proceeds being donated to the Ronald McDonald House. Over the three days, she said, on average, they raise $75,000.

Last year was her first trip to a panel jam (a group of pinstripe artists gathering to paint) in Cleveland and she's been invited to an event in Chicago this year.

"It's a good community of people who come from all over the world for panel jams," she said.

Taylor's work can be found on her Facebook page.

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January 9, 2017 - 1:04pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Batavia Players, batavia, arts, entertainment, news.

Batavia Players held its annual gala and awards ceremony at the Harvester 56 Theater on Saturday night.

Here are the award winners:

  • Outstanding Performance of the Year, Evan Bellavia as Harry the Horse, "Guys & Dolls"
  • Outstanding Actor in a Play, Norm Argulski as Lionel Percy, "Bakersfield Mist"
  • Outstanding Actress in a Play, Michele Stamp as Martha, "Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf"
  • Outstanding Dramatic Performance of the Year, Kevin Partridge as George, "Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf"
  • Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Play, Alex Farley as Nick, "Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf"
  • Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Play, Wendy Williams as Sissy, "Come Back to the 5 & Dime, Jimmy Dean, Jimmy Dean"
  • Outstanding Featured Actor in a Play, Jesse Conklin as Corin, "As You Like It"
  • Outstanding Featured Actress in a Play, Kathy Johns as Joanne, "Come Back to the 5 & Dime, Jimmy Dean, Jimmy Dean"
  • Outstanding Actor in a Musical, William Grimble as Nicely Nicely Johnson, "Guys & Dolls"
  • Outstanding Solo Vocal Performance, Amy-Catherine Cunningham as Charity Hope Valentine, "Sweet Charity"
  • Outstanding Actress in a Musical, "Sweet Charity," "Little Women"
  • Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Musical, Nash Johns as Laurie Lawrence, "Little Women"
  • Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Musical, Emily Crawford as Marmee March, "Little Women"
  • Outstanding Featured Actor in a Musical, Patrick Burk as Daddy Brubeck, "Sweet Charity"
  • Outstanding Featured Actress in a Musical, Wendy Williams as Aunt March, "Little Women"
  • Outstanding Musical Ensemble, Sit Down You're Rockin' the Boat, "Guys & Dolls"
  • Outstanding Youth Performance, Evan Bellavia as Harry the Horse, "Guys & Dolls"
  • Outstanding Youth Performance -- Female, Celia Flyn as Adelaide, "Guys & Dolls"
  • Outstanding Child Performance, Paige Sikorski as the Snowflake, "A Christmas Gift"
January 4, 2017 - 8:47am
posted by Howard B. Owens in music, arts, batavia, corfu, news.

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The way Laura Kauppi sees it, every child, regardless of income, should have a chance to learn piano.

The Corfu native who teaches piano to a lot of higher income kids in Amherst, decided recently that she wants to give back to her local community and has partnered with Roxy's Music to offer piano lessons to low-income children.

"Every child should be able to learn piano," she said.

She's calling the program, "Every Child Music School."

For qualifying students, classes are three times a month for 20 minutes at $3 per lesson. To qualify, parents need to show a benefits card, such as a WIC card, at the first lesson.  The lessons are available to children 18 months and older.

She's looking for donations of touch-sensitive keyboard (press hard for a louder note, soft for a softer note) to help ensure students have an instrument to practice on.

Kauppi studies piano performance at Geneseo while pursuing an undergraduate degree in another field, but put herself through college teaching piano.

"When I started teaching, I realized I absolutely loved teaching piano and I wanted to keep doing it, so I’ve been teaching for 12 years now," Kauppi said.

To donate or register, call Kauppi at 585-861-0153.

January 3, 2017 - 8:32am
posted by Howard B. Owens in T.F. Brown's, batavia, music, arts, entertainment, news.

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Rock star Joey Belladonna returns to Batavia Jan. 14 for a show at T.F. Brown's with his cover band, Big Chief Way.

Belladonna is best known as lead singer for the popular thrash metal band Anthrax. Anthrax, with frontman Belladonna, has released 10 albums that have sold 8 million copies worldwide. The band was nominated for three Grammy awards.

From Western New York, Belladonna occasionally plays shows in the area with Big Chief Way.

There are a limited number of VIP tickets available that includes a chance to meet Belladonna between 8 and 9 p.m. for $10. Tickets must be purchased at T.F.'s by Jan. 13. The show starts at 10 p.m. and tickets are $5 pre-sale or at the door. Tickets may be purchased at T.F. Brown's.

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December 19, 2016 - 3:48pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Batavia HS, batavia, news, music, entertainment, arts.

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The Batavia High School Choir is singing Christmas carols all over Batavia, mostly at businesses that made a donation to help cover the $50,000 it will cost for them to travel and participate in a competition in Washington, D.C.

We happened to catch up with them while they were at Valle Jewelers.

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