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July 20, 2018 - 6:21pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in fair, music, arts, entertainment, news, DriVen.

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DriVen -- a power trio comprised of Dylan Desmit on guitar, Mike "Thunder" Warran on base, and Alex Desmit on drums -- beat out Invictra to win the 2018 Genesee County Fair Battle of the Bands.

I first saw Dylan Desmit play a few years ago and he was a good, young guitarist. He's become a great guitarist.

As the winner, DriVen is tonight's entertainment at the fair. They are scheduled to play from 7 to 11 p.m.

It's also Demolition Derby night and there will also be barrel racing at 8 p.m.

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July 12, 2018 - 9:07am
posted by Howard B. Owens in arts, batavia society of artists, news, batavia, Kiwanis Park.

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Deb Meier, a retired Batavia art teacher, provided a demonstration in watercolor plein air painting for members of the Batavia Society of Artists at Kiwanis Park on Monday.

Painting en plein air, or outdoor painting, which often requires the painter to work quickly in direct response to the scene before the painter, was a technique favored by the French impressionists of the 19th century and has continued to remain popular with artists.

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July 4, 2018 - 1:48pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Batavia Ramble, batavia, news, music, entertainment, arts.

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Photo: Paul Draper and Stephen Kowalcyk, co-directors of the 2018 Batavia Ramble Music and Arts Festival.

Press release:

The 2018 Batavia Ramble Music & Arts Festival will be held on Saturday, July 7th, from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. This year we will have two main stages that will feature live performances from 34 local bands & artists.

The "Eli Fish" stage will be located in Jackson Square and the "Center Street" stage will be located in the parking lot across from Center Street Smoke House.

Along with musical performances, we will also have local artists, craft vendors and food trucks lined up all along Center Street.

As always, The Batavia Ramble is free to the public so bring a chair and a few friends and come and check out the biggest show in Batavia! For additional information, please email Paul Draper III at [email protected]

The 2018 music lineup:

 Eli Fish Stage:

  • Ghost Riders
  • Me & Red
  • Koko & The Moon Crickets
  • Justin Williams Band
  • Shotgun Pauly
  • Trolls 2.0
  • Genesee Ted
  • Driven
  • Zero
  • Old Hippies
  • Sierra
  • Noahs Reign
  • Bluesway Band
  • Warren Skye & Friends
  • Eagle Creek
  • Justin Crossett Band
  • Audibull

Center Street Stage:

  • J. Hopkins
  • Grizzwoode
  • PD3
  • Dave Holnbeck
  • Steve Kruppner
  • Kruppner Brothers
  • Jenny & Michelle
  • Beethovan's Dream Group Again
  • The Live Bait Band
  • The Pedestrians
  • Lonesome Road
  • Rock Soulgers
  • Gretchen & The Girls
  • Blues Daddios
  • Mercury Express
  • Conspiracy Theory
  • We are Groot
June 27, 2018 - 4:08pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Geezer Radio, WGCC, music, arts, entertainment.

Richard Beatty, the host of "Geezer Radio" on WGCC, 90.7 FM, invited me to come on his show tonight at 8 p.m. to share some songs from my rockabilly music collection.

We'll play some new stuff, such as Imelda May and the Bellfuries; the first stuff, such as Elvis Presley and Carl Perkins; as well as dig into the Sun Records archives a bit, and a few obscure rockabilly pioneers such as Jack Earls, Johnny Carroll, and Joe Clay.

June 27, 2018 - 9:58am
posted by Howard B. Owens in Batavia Concert Band, batavia, news, arts, entertainment.

The Batavia Concert Band will perform indoors this evening, show time, 7 p.m., due to rain, at Genesee Community College. The performance will be in the Stuart Steiner Theater.

June 15, 2018 - 9:32am
posted by Howard B. Owens in pembroke, pembroke hs, news, arts, entertainment.

This short film was produced by a group of Pembroke High School for a class project. It's a sequal to a short film produced by students in 2009 called "The Birdman Phenomenon."

June 14, 2018 - 12:28pm

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Smokin' Eagle BBQ & Brew opened its 2018 Battle of the Bands competition with a check presentation of $3,000 to the Golisano Children's Hospital in Rochester. The Coniber family, Jason, Missy, and Hailey, of Le Roy, accepted the check on behalf of the hospital. 

This year, the crew at the Smokin' Eagle hopes to raise $5,000 during the Battle of the Bands competition, which ends in October. In addition to the 50-50 raffle that runs throughout the competition, the Smokin' Eagle will also be selling $15 chicken BBQ tickets for the finale.

The first band up last night was The Fallen, based in Rush, but with members from the region, including Le Roy.

There will be bands competing every Wednesday until the champion is crowned.

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This year's judges, Carl Giammarva, Sarah Tonzi, Jackie Whiting, Jeff Kanaley, and Chris Biviano.

June 8, 2018 - 5:21pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in alexander, schools, education, music, arts, entertainment, news.

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Alexander Central School hosted its second annual Jazz Invitational on Thursday night, which featured performances of Alexander's brass band, the Alexander Jazz Cadets (photos), and the Alexander Jazz Experience, along with a performance by the Warsaw Jazz Ensemble.

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June 8, 2018 - 4:59pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in elba, Elba Central School Drama Club, news, music, arts, entertainment.

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The Elba Central School Drama Club presents "Spotlight: A Night at the Movies" tomorrow at 7 p.m. The show is a review of music associated with Hollywood and the movies.

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May 31, 2018 - 11:09am
posted by Howard B. Owens in BHS Drama Club, Batavia HS, batavia, news, arts, entertainment.

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Batavia High School teacher Caryn Wood has woven together songs from three musicals, "Wicked," "The Wiz," and "The Wizard of Oz," to create a new production for the Drama Club that will serve as a fundraiser for the program.

Wood said the songs are pulled together in a single timeline to tell the Wizard of Oz story.

"All three are very different musical styles, but we took some of the most well-known songs from each," Wood said.

Wood described the story:

Wicked tells the story of Elphaba & Glinda and their unlikely friendship that gets turned upside down when the young girl, Dorothy drops from the sky into Munchkin Land. Unfortunately, during a cyclone, Dorothy's house lands on a kills the Wicked Witch of the East who in Wicked you learn is really Nessa, Elphaba's younger sister.

Both The Wiz and The Wizard of Oz pick up the story at that point and follow Dorothy and her band of three friends (Scarecrow, Tinman, & Lion) as they travel the yellow brick road through Oz. In the Emerald City, they meet the Wizard who sends them on a mission to free the land from the grips of The Wicked Witch of the West.

But in Wicked the question is also asked...who really is the "Wicked Witch?" Perhaps the answer isn't quite as simple as you might think.

"The music from these shows is amazing and memorable, and our students have loved bringing all three of them to life," Wood said.

The price of admission: Whatever you are willing to donate to the program.

The performance is tomorrow at 7 p.m.  

Seating is limited.

Featured cast includes:

  • Madison Hoerbelt (senior) -- Elphaba
  • Madeline Keenan (senior) -- Glinda
  • Eryn Dunn (junior) -- Dorothy
  • Evan Bellavia (senior) -- The Wizard
  • Kathryn Fitzpatrick (freshman) -- Addaperle
  • Parise Ricks (senior) -- Madame Morrible
  • AT Thatcher (junior) -- Boq/Tinman
  • Elise Hoerbelt (junior) -- Nessa 
  • Cameron Bontrager (junior) -- Fiyero/Scarecrow
  • Tanner Kolb (senior) -- The Lion
  • Kristen Glosgowski -- Aunt Em

There are also six returning alumni participating in the production.

Jeffrey Fischer is vocal director and accompanist, Jane E. Haggett is on keyboard/synthesizer and Wood is the director and producer.

Top Photo: Tanner Kolb, Eryn Dunn, AT Thatcher, and Cameron Bontrager.

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Evan Bellavia

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Madison Hoebelt and Madeline Keenan

May 31, 2018 - 10:53am
posted by Howard B. Owens in Le Roy, le roy hs, arts, education, news.

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Among the young artists with featured displays last night at Le Roy High School's Fine Arts Night was Austin Hampton.

Austin is a senior and plans to pursue a career in art, with a focus on fine art and perhaps becoming an art teacher.

He said he always loved art but the teachers at Le Roy helped that love bloom into a passion.

"They're great teachers," Austin said. "They always help me with hands-on activities. Their techniques help me with mine, as well."

He said when he's not at school, at home, his focus is art. He spends at least five hours a day of his own time on art.

"I’m always making art, doing something," Austin said. "I always have to have a pen in my hand."

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May 11, 2018 - 11:05pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Literature, poetry, moon java, batavia, arts, entertainment, news.

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Bryon Hoot, a poet from Pennsylvania who visits Batavia often for literary events, reads some of his poetry at Moon Java this evening for the debut event for The Visual Truth Theater Ensemble, a literary group organized by Eric Zwieg.

Zwieg, Julian Tuast, and Cole Rogers also read from their work. Richard Beatty was the emcee for the reading.

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Richard Beatty

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Cole Rogers 

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May 4, 2018 - 11:00pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Genesee Symphony Orchestra, GSO, arts, music, entertainment, news.

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Sunday's Genesee Symphony Orchestra concert in the auditorium at Elba Central School will feature soloist Mimi Hwang on cello performing Elgar's "Concerto for Cello & Orchestra in E-minor."

Hwang, a resident of Brighton, winner of both the Banff and the Evian International String Quartet Competitions. She has performed with such quartets as Tokyo, Colorado, and Ciompi at Duke University in North Carolina, and was a participant of both Beijing and Los Angeles philharmonics. She also played at the San Francisco Chamber Orchestra.

The orchestra, under the direction of S. Shade Zajac, will also perform Wagner's "Siegfried's Death & Funeral March," Howard Hanson's "Symphony No. 2 'Romantic,' " and Holst's "St. Paul's Suite for String Orchestra."

The concert, "Romantic Masterpieces," begins at 4 p.m.

Tickets are available through geneseesymphony.com, GO ART!, Roxy's Music Store, The YNGodess Shop, and Smokin' Eagle BBQ  & Brew in Le Roy.

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May 4, 2018 - 1:26pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in alexander, Alexander Central School, schools, education, news, arts.

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There are more than 1,000 pieces of student artwork, from middle and high school students, on display in the foyer of the Alexander Central School Auditorium and Wednesday's school board meeting, Trustee Rich Guarino drew attention to it and to the jazz ensemble that performed prior to the meeting.

He said he's heard over the years how students who perform music and participate in fine arts do better academically and he said that may just be anecdotal but he tends to believe it.

"I see the kids who are in the music program or the visual fine arts program and those are often the kids I see in other activities that the school has and it’s great to see," Guarino said.

Actually, there is some evidence that students who play music tend to do better academically. That seems to apply across artistic disciplines.

According to Guarino, more than half the students in the elementary grades are learning to play a musical instrument.  

"That's a huge percentage and it's great," Guarino said.

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May 3, 2018 - 11:17am
posted by Howard B. Owens in Genesee Chorale, arts, entertainment, music, news.

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Press release:

As he began the process of putting together this spring’s concert program, all Genesee Chorale Director Ric Jones could sense was turmoil in the world.  He felt that there was a large divide in the world, a divide that seemed to grow larger every day. He wanted  to counteract that divide and encourage people to embrace unity and peace.

Thus was born “The Call of Humanity,” a mix of contemporary, Gospel, choral and classical music, including the debut of one piece written specifically for the Genesee Chorale.

“I tried to do a variety of mini-themes within the program,” says Jones. “Prayer,” in the words of Mother Teresa, is about helping the needy.  Other selections, such as “We Shall Overcome,” “Harriet Tubman” and “MLK,” address civil rights and some  of the mega figures who have had an impact on that movement. The lyrics of “Across the Bridge of Hope” come from a poem written by a group of young friends in Ireland; one of the boys was killed in the fighting shortly after their poem was written.

Two pieces form the foundation of the concert program, “Song of the Universal” by Ola Gjeilo from a Walt Whitman poem, and “The Waking,”  written for the Genesee Chorale by Composer-in-Residence Daniel Baldwin from a Theodore Roethke poem.

“Song of the Universal” was the first piece to “grab” Jones as he went through the selection process. “The text is beautiful,” he said, “and I love the composer. I kept going back to it. I decided I’d make it the centerpiece.” 

“The Waking” stems from Jones’ desire to find “something different that inspires the Chorale and brings the community into Chorale.”

Luckily, GO ART! grant money was available, so, with the blessing of the Chorale’s Board, Jones began the fun and frustrating process of choosing text and composer for an original piece. He and his wife, Karen, pored over “a ton of different poems,” but kept coming back to Theodore Roethke’s famous poem. “I liked the rhythm in the text,” says Jones, “and I like the overall message.”

The text was also an inspiration for Baldwin, the composer chosen by Jones.

“The majority of text chosen for me to set is older and in the public domain,” Baldwin said in an e-mail interview. “The poem (Jones) sent was contemporary and very well done, but also spoke to me in a way I was not expecting. When writing vocal or choral music, text is the most important element and must flow naturally (speech, even conversational speech, has its own rhythms, etc.).”

For Baldwin, the text is the beginning.

“I always write out the poem by hand and apply rhythms to the text based on what feels natural when reading the poem aloud,” he said. “Then, based on the message and perceived mood of the poem, I assign themes to these rhythms, harmonize, etc. It’s a process!”

Baldwin hopes that people “read through the wonderful text in advance of hearing the piece. A vocal or choir performance is the musical equivalent to a dramatic reading. I set the poem how I heard it and how the text affected me. I hope the audience enjoys my interpretation.”

Jones has published some of Baldwin’s other works as part of his Imagine Music business.

“I love his music,” he said, “and I’ve watched him evolve. His music feels cinematic to me usually – that epic sound with grandiose chords.  I wanted to see what he’d do with this text.”

What Baldwin did was surprise Jones.

“This was more on the contemporary side,” Jones said. “It is different than I expected, and the first time I heard it, I went ‘hmmm,’ but as I listened, there was something haunting about that motif.” It is, he notes, a challenging piece and Chorale members have had to work hard to prepare it for the concert.

Concerts are at 7 p.m. May 4  at St. James Church and at 4 p.m. May 6 at Pavilion Junior-Senior High School Auditorium, 7014 Big Tree Road., Pavilion. Presale tickets cost $8 and are available from Chorale members or online at GeneseeChorale.com. Tickets at the door cost $10.

Photos by Howard Owens.

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April 29, 2018 - 6:57pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Forum Players, GCC, news, arts, entertainment.

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The Forum Players performed selections Saturday night from 50 years of theater productions at Genesee Community College.

The show included selections from:

"A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum," "Singin’ in the Rain," "Peter Pan," "The Mystery of Edwin Drood," among others.

These photos are from the musical "Chicago."

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April 29, 2018 - 5:54pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in GO ART!, batavia, arts, entertainment, news.

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Jodi Fisher was the greeter Saturday night at Seymore Place for GO ART!'s first "Swing Fling."

The evening's entertainment included an old-fashioned radio show and The Genesee Jazz Collective with vocalist Wendy Williams (also pictured below, Dan Klinzar on trumpet.)

Jim Burns brought his 1950s era Graflex Speed Graphic camera (the standard professional/press camera for decades, and still in use in the 1970s, after being introduced in 1912). Partygoers could purchase black and white portraits of themselves during the event.

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April 28, 2018 - 10:07pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in byron-bergen, schools, arts, education, news.

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Morgan Fuller, a senior at Byron-Bergen High School, was among the dozens of students at the school last night who showcased their artistic and musical talent in the school's annual "Buzzin Bistro," a celebration of the arts.

Besides the art show, vocal and music students performed in the cafeteria to a packed house, including songs such as the B-52s' "Love Shack" and the Guys and Dolls/Frank Sinatra hit "Luck Be A Lady."

As for Fuller, as much as she loves art, especially drawing either with graphite or charcoal on black paper, she is thinking of pursuing a career in photojournalism.

"I still like drawing but I don't know if I'll do it that much professionally because, you know, moneywise, and stuff like that, but I'll always do it as a hobby," she said.

She doesn't go much for abstract art. She likes realism but she likes pictures that tell a story and can get a reaction from people rather than just a depiction of a realistic subject.

"I like pictures that are very awkward," She said. "The fish one is my favorite because it’s so awkward and it makes people feel uncomfortable. I also like the mysterious look of black and white and graphite."

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April 26, 2018 - 2:02pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Batavia HS, music, arts, education, news, batavia.

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Press release:

Batavia Middle School and High School ensembles will be performing at the 11th Annual Jazz Cabaret on Friday evening in the Batavia High School gymnasium beginning at 6:30.

Dessert, coffee and water will be served. A $5 donation is suggested.

Ensembles performing tomorrow evening include MS jazz and string ensembles, HS jazz and brass ensemble, string ensemble, beautyshop ensemble, saxophone and flute ensemble.

The event supports our music scholarships given out every year for our graduating seniors. Music students hope to see you there!

Submitted photo.

April 25, 2018 - 9:39am

A new literary group in Batavia, organized by Eric Zwieg, The Visual Truth Theater Ensemble, will present readings by writers Byron Hoot, Cole Rogers, Julian Tuast, and Zwieg on May 11 at Moon Java Cafe.

The title of the program is "Speak Again, Speak Like Rain" and begins at 7 p.m.

Richard Beatty, of the Geezer Radio Show on WGCC on Thursday nights from 8 to 10 p.m., will host the reading.

The reading is free and open to the public.

Contact [email protected] for additional details. 

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