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August 15, 2018 - 3:26pm

Press release:

After a three-year break from touring on the East Coast, arguably one of America’s great songwriters brings his stories and melodies back to select East Coast locales this month.

At 8 p.m. on Saturday, Aug. 18, Walt Wilkins will be at Farmer’s Creekside Tavern & Inn, located at 1 Main St. in the Village of Le Roy. There is a $15 cover charge at the door.

Since he was last on the East Coast, Wilkins has put out three new records:

  • "Streetlight,” perhaps his most poignant solo effort to date with all new songs;
  • “Watch It Shine,” a harmonic masterpiece with his Texas supergroup the Mystiqueros;
  • “Live at the Rock Room: Walt Wilkins & Kevin Welch,” a touching and overdue collaboration from two master storytellers, recorded over two nights in Austin, Texas.

This eight-stop tour, will give old fans and new friends a chance to see and hear a master songwriter in intimate venues and concert houses.

About Walt Wilkins:
San Antonio, Texas-born Walt Wilkins has been called a genius, more than once, and a writer the caliber of John Steinbeck and his voice as comfortable as a pair of old blue jeans, and he is, and has, all of that.

His crafting of story-songs, hard-edged vocals to sing them and a plaintive guitar have made him a fixture of the Texas music scene (and Nashville before that). He’s put his magical touch on recordings by new and veteran artists, too many to count.

His songs have been recorded by the likes of Kenny Rogers, Kellie Pickler, Ricky Skaggs, Pat Green, Brandon Rhyder, Ty Herndon, Cory Morrow and Kevin Welch. He has recorded 12 records, some solo, some with his Texas super-group The Mystiqueros and some with his singer-songwriter wife, Tina. His latest record is a live CD with fellow Texas songwriting master Kevin Welch.

Walt Wilkins: "I am fortunate that I play my songs across a wide region that is filled with people who find comfort, enjoyment and meaning in coming out to listen to folks like myself. I am fortunate that enough they come out, generally, that I can come back to those places and play my songs again. I am lucky, I think, that I knew my calling at an early age, and at one point in my life, I took the necessary steps to follow that calling out into the world.

"I am still learning how to listen to, and stay true to the voice, and true to the work I am given. I try not to take myself too seriously, but I do try to take seriously this work; this calling. I play some nights just me and my guitar, and some nights with my talented and funny wife, Tina. And some nights with the The Mystiqueros, a living art collective, a hill country jukebox, one of the bands on the bill in honky-tonk heaven.

"I drive, I play, I sleep and dream. I have had a fair share of songs recorded by other folks, which was my dream all along, and I have played shows with heroes and real poets and the deepest of cats. But I live for the gig tonight, and tomorrow. I am fortunate... and I hope to see you down this road.”

August 14, 2018 - 3:50pm

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Monday night at Genesee Community College, the Genesee Symphony Orchestra rehearsed for Sunday's third annual Summer Serenade.
 
The garden party event is a combined fund-raising event for the United Way's Backpack Program and the Genesee Symphony Orchestra.
 
It will be Aug. 19th from 3:30-6:30 p.m. at the Mercy Grove Event Center, 7758 E. Main Road (Route 5) in Le Roy.
 
During the three-hour Garden Party, guests can enjoy hors-d'oeuvres, grazing stations, beer, wine, and a cash bar, all catered by the Le Roy Country Club. 
 
The Genesee Symphony Orchestra will play a concert from 4:45 to 5:30 p.m. under a large white tent, which is set up off the back patio of Mercy Grove. The stately mansion was built by Donald Woodward in 1927 and sets amid beautifully landscaped grounds with expansive views.
 
Le Roy Historian Lynne Belluscio will conduct mansion tours during the Garden Party.
 
Bright-colored, garden-party attire recommended.
 
The orchestra will feature "Summer Songs" with their concertmaster, GSO Conductor S. Shade Zajac. Kiran Rajamani is the featured violin soloist. Some other musical surprises will also be played.
 
Theresa DeMars, an account manager with Lawley Insurance, chairs the event for United Way.
 
Tickets to support this combined fundraiser are $75 per person; $40 of that ticket cost may be claimed as a donation to these two nonprofit organizations.  
 
Tickets may be purchased at the door or as follows:
  1. Le Roy Country Club
  2. Roxy's Music Store
  3. United Way or GSO Board Members
  4. Online at: www.uwrochester.org/summer serenade
  5. www.geneseesymphony.com

(Photos by Howard Owens.)

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August 12, 2018 - 3:00pm

The third annual Summer Serenade is a combined fund-raising event for the United Way's Backpack Program and the Genesee Symphony Orchestra.
 
The Garden Party will be held Sunday, Aug. 19th, from 3:30-6:30 p.m. at the Mercy Grove Event Center, 7758 E. Main Road (Route 5) in Le Roy.
 
During the three-hour Garden Party, guests can enjoy hors-d'oeuvres, grazing stations, beer, wine, and a cash bar, all catered by the Le Roy Country Club. 
 
The Genesee Symphony Orchestra will play a concert from 4:45 to 5:30 p.m. under a large white tent, which is set up off the back patio of Mercy Grove. The stately mansion was built by Donald Woodward in 1927 and sets amid beautifully landscaped grounds with expansive views.
 
Le Roy Historian Lynne Belluscio will conduct mansion tours during the Garden Party.
 
Bright-colored, garden-party attire recommended.
 
The orchestra will feature "Summer Songs" with their Concertmaster. Kiran Rajamani is the featured violin soloist. Some other musical surprises will also be played.
 
Theresa DeMars, an account manager with Lawley Insurance, chairs the event for United Way.
 
Tickets to support this combined fundraiser are $75 per person; $40 of that ticket cost may be claimed as a donation to these two nonprofit organizations.  
 
Tickets may be purchased at the door or as follows:
  1. Le Roy Country Club
  2. Roxy's Music Store
  3. United Way or GSO Board Members
  4. Online at: www.uwrochester.org/summer serenade
  5. www.geneseesymphony.com
We hope to see all of our wonderful United Way and GSO supporters at Summer Serenade lll next Sunday!
August 10, 2018 - 1:32pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Batavia Concert Band, batavia, music, arts, entertainment, news.

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Press release:

As part of the last concert, Dave Lumberg, owner of Tim Hortons, of Batavia, received the annual Pam Frisby Friend of the Band Award.  Pam was a longtime board member and president for the Batavia Concert Band, and the Band honors her memory every year with a Friend of the Band Award. 

Tim Hortons was recognized for their generous donation each season of baked goods for the concession stand, of which the proceeds are used to fund a scholarship program for college students who play in the Batavia Concert Band. 

Pictured is Dave Lumberg, a Tim Hortons Batavia franchise owner, Anne Arent, BCB Board member, and Jason Smith, BCB general manager.

Tim Hortons received a certificate for display in their restaurant, and their name will be engraved on a special plaque displayed at every concert. Tim Hortons also donated the prize award back to the Batavia Concert Band.

The Band also thanks GO ART!, WBTA, the City of Batavia, and Genesee Community College for their support of our entire season, as well as the following concert sponsors: The Zehler Family, Rotary Club of Batavia, HE Turner & Company Funeral Home, Batavia Lions Club, Bailey Electric, GCASA, The Insurance Center, UMMC, friends of Neil Hartwick, the Pacino family, Michael Kubinec D.D.S., and Brighton Securities.  

Thank you to all our audience members who faithfully attended each week, and plans are already underway for the 2019 season!

August 8, 2018 - 1:23pm

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International superstar band Chicago headlined last evening at Darien Lake Performing Arts Center.

Chicago, which started in the city of the same name in 1967, initially as Chicago Transit Authority, is one of the longest-running and most successful rock groups ever, and one of the world's best-selling groups of all time, with more than 100 million records sold.

Chicago started their set with "Make Me Smile."

REO Speedwagon -- fellow Illinoisans, out of the City of Champaign 135 miles south of "Chi-Town" -- opened the show with "Don't Let Him Go." (The group's biggest selling album was 1980's "Hi Infidelity," with four Top 10 hits and more than 10 million albums sold.)

The enthusiastic crowd was rockin' to classic songs and the bands jammed for hours. 

Next concert at Darien will be Jason Aldean this Friday at 7 p.m.

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REO Speedwagon photos below

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August 4, 2018 - 1:49pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Blackjack Billy, the ridge, Frost Ridge, music, arts, entertainment, news.

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Nashville-based Blackjack Billy made its third appearance in five years at The Ridge in Le Roy, waiting out the rain with their fans and then rewarding them with another rockin' show.

The band's new single is "Straight Line Sober" (video embedded below).

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August 4, 2018 - 8:45am

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Three Dog Night packed Batavia Downs' summer concert series last evening in front of a few thousand people. The band formed in L.A. in  1968 and scored a succession of 21 hit singles, including 11 Top Tens, and 12 consecutive gold albums from 1969 to 1975.

Batavia fans were dancing and grooving to the band's multiple favorite tunes, crowd-pleasers that entertained at the most packed concert yet of this summer series.

(The band's name comes from an Australian expression describing low nocturnal temperatures in the Outback (the colder the night, the more dogs needed to keep warm while sleeping.))

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August 3, 2018 - 12:50pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in GO ART!, thebatavian, wbta, news, arts, entertainment.

Tomorrow starting at 6 p.m. the place to be is GO ART!, 201 E. Main St., Batavia, where the night's guest bartenders will be Howard Owens of The Batavian and Chris Kalin of WBTA.

Billed as a competition, our goal is to raise as much money as possible for local arts, so come, be merry, enjoy a few drinks, leave tips on the bar.

August 1, 2018 - 3:15pm
posted by Billie Owens in news, Batavia Downs, concerts, batavia, music, entertainment.

Press release:

Batavia Downs Gaming & Hotel has announced the lineup for their fall and winter tribute shows, with one concert each month featuring music from great artists.

The Paddock Room will play host to Abbamania – A tribute to Abba, based out of Toronto, Ontario, Canada.  The cast looks and sounds like the famous Swedish rock group and will roll through all your favorites on Saturday, Sept. 8th.

Saturday, Oct. 6th is the date for American Graffiti starring Johnny Gems and the Red Hot Bananas. These artists have collectively been performing for 30 years.  The show brings back every major hit from every major artist, from 1955 to 1965.  You’ll hear hits by Elvis, Chuck Berry, Little Richard, Jerry Lee Lewis, Fats Domino, Bo Diddley and Bill Haley and the Comets! Into the 1960s with The Beatles, The Beach Boys, The Four Seasons, Roy Orbison, Del Shannon and a highlight to Danny and the Juniors with “At the Hop” and “Rock and Roll is Here to Stay”!

Next up, on Saturday, Nov. 17th, Batavia Downs welcomes Walk the Line – A Tribute to Johnny Cash.  With Gavan Rosseau playing the part of “The Man in Black” with a four-piece backing band, this tribute show showcases Rosseau’s ability to emulate the voice, look and mannerisms of the late singer. Songs performed include the Sun Record days all the way to those from the 1970s.

Blame it all on Their Roots –  Garth Brooks and Shania Twain Tribute takes the stage on Saturday, Dec. 15th. This high energy show performs all this hits of the two country headliners whose records have sold more than 230 million albums worldwide.

Each concert will take place on a Saturday immediately following live racing. General admission tickets are $10 and are on sale now at www.BataviaConcerts.com for each show.

Each concert begins at 8:30 p.m. with doors at 8 p.m. Each ticket is redeemable on the gaming floor the day of the concert or the next day for $10 in Free Play. Tickets can also be purchased in-person at Batavia Downs Gaming & Hotel at their “Lucky Treasures” Gift Shop located in the lobby.

“We are looking forward to these indoor tribute shows,” said Henry Wojtaszek, CEO/president at Batavia Downs Gaming. “Building on the success of our summer concert series, we’re happy to keep General Admission ticket prices at a reasonable $10 to make sure everyone can enjoy these great tribute shows.”

About Batavia Downs/WROTB

Owned and operated by 15 Western New York counties and the cities of Rochester and Buffalo, Western Region Off-Track Betting Corporation is a public benefit corporation with headquarters in Batavia, NY. WROTB owns and operates 29 branches, as well as Batavia Downs Gaming, a standard bred racetrack and gaming facility. Since its inception, Western Region OTB has generated over $215 million in operating and surcharge revenues to the taxpayers of those participating municipalities.

July 27, 2018 - 11:50pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in stumblin' inn, elba, news, music, arts, entertainment, notify.

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Jim Goff never knew. For decades the Stumblin' Inn in Elba was a haven for local musicians. He knew he was having fun. He didn't know what it meant to the musicians he nurtured and the community that followed them.

Now he knows.

A fire destroyed the storied watering hole the second Sunday of the July, despite a valiant effort by the Elba Volunteer Fire Department and their mutual aid companies to save the 143-year-old building. Jim and his brother Steve, or Stork to everybody who knew him, were asleep upstairs when the alarm went out. They were alerted in time to make a safe escape.

They found themselves on the sidewalks of their small village surrounded by friends and neighbors sharing their tears.

"I never knew until this happened how much it meant to the community," Goff said shortly after arriving Thursday at an open mic night in a park across the street, next to the Elba Fire Hall.

More than 150 local musicians and music fans had gathered for what is likely the last open mic night for the Stumblin' Inn, a Thursday night tradition for years.

"Musicians have always been my people," Goff said. "That’s who I relate to, that’s who I feel comfortable around. We started an open mic in the 1980s and did it off and on. Musicians just liked to hang out there. It felt like home to everyone. We had a lot of bands who called that place home."

Standing next to Goff was local musician Doug Barnard. He said Barnard and his band Southbound were responsible for helping Goff recognize the value of local bands to his bar business.

"They said 'Give us a chance,' " Goff said. " 'We guarantee we'll pack this place.' They told me that about three times so I gave them a chance. They packed the place for five years. I realized maybe this local band thing is a pretty cool thing to embrace."

It all worked, Goff said, because he and his brother kept their priorities straight.

"It’s all about having fun," Goff said. "If you’re having fun, you’re going to make money. Money and fun, it all goes together."

As for the future, that's still a blank slate.

"All the experts say you don’t make big decisions right away," Goff said. "You let things sink in. There’s certainly some pressure to rebuild. Age is definitely a factor. We honestly don’t know. I would say we’re leaning toward probably not, but who knows? I’m not going to say no because I don’t know. I honestly don’t know."

Top photo: Goff as he arrived at Thursday's open mic night, hugging local musician Dylan Desmit, who helped organize the fundraiser for the Goffs with co-host Paul Draper.

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July 26, 2018 - 8:00am
posted by Howard B. Owens in stumblin' inn, elba, music, entertainment, news, notify.

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The great thing about the Stumblin' Inn is that owners Steve and Jim Goff give every musician who walked through the door and had the courage to ask for a spot on the stage a chance to perform.

They did it for Dylan Desmit when he was first starting his music career.

"The first time we were here, my keyboard player put my amp through the window," Desmit said. "I was mortified. I thought for sure we would never play here again but Jim just kind of laughed it off. We’ve been playing here ever since and it just felt like a second home."

Desmit lost count of how many times he played the Stumblin', whether with one of his bands for an acoustic open mic night.

So many musicians have benefited from the largess of the Goffs that many of them are coming together for one more Thursday open mic nite in Elba where they will play music and pass the hat to raise money to assist Steve and Jim, who lost not just their business but their homes in a fire July 8.

Desmit and Paul Draper (who had last-minute work commitments that kept him from participating in the photo above) organized the event for tonight, starting at 8 p.m. in front of Chap's Elba Diner, and Desmit said the outpouring of musicians wanting to help Steve and Jim has been substantial.

The Stumblin' Inn was the place in the area for local musicians to congregate and get a chance to be heard and those musicians want to repay the favor.

"I saw someone compared it to the Penny Arcade in Rochester and that’s pretty much, yeah, every local band, ever, played here," Desmit said. "There’s so many musicians, and judging by the reaction on Facebook for the benefit, there are so many people devastated by losing it."

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 9, 2018 - 12:21pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in music, entertainment, news, Batavia Downs.

Press release:

After a 15-year hiatus pop rock group Seven Day Faith, featuring their original lineup of Rob Ferenc, John Rosini, Kevin Ernst and Rob Bilson, will reunite for a one-night-only concert experience.

Taking place on Saturday, Sept. 15th, the four original members will perform such hits as “Everything,” “Ready To Go” and “Forever and a Day” on stage together for the first time in more than 15 years.

“We are looking forward to hosting Seven Day Faith’s reunion show,” said Henry Wojtaszek, CEO/president at Batavia Downs Gaming. “These talented musicians have entertained thousands of Western New Yorkers and we’re excited to welcome their fans to experience what’s sure to be a great night of music.”

“The four of us John, Kevin, Rob Ferenc and Myself, we have not been on stage together for over 15 years. I am looking forward to performing our songs and reliving those years of making great music and traveling together. This is sure to be a magic evening," said Rob Bilson, lead singer of Seven Day Faith.

“The time is right, it has been this is the 15th Anniversary of our second release "Somebody Save Me." That record gave us arguably our biggest single in “Forever and A Day” which was a top 5 hit on the Kiss 98.5 charts. It will be an amazing night revisiting this record as well as the wonderful music from our debut release “Life Says We Think Too Much.”

Tickets go on sale tomorrow, July 10th, at 10 a.m. on bataviaconcerts.com. On concert day, doors open at 7 p.m., with live music starting at 8. Tickets are just $7. Each concert ticket is also redeemable at Player’s Club that night for $7 in Free Play to be used on one of Batavia Downs Gaming’s 800+ gaming machines.

About Batavia Downs/WROTB

Owned and operated by 15 Western New York counties and the cities of Rochester and Buffalo, Western Region Off-Track Betting Corporation is a public benefit corporation with headquarters in Batavia. WROTB owns and operates 17 branches, as well as Batavia Downs Gaming, a standard bred racetrack and gaming facility. Since its inception, Western Region OTB has generated more than $215 million in operating and surcharge revenues to the taxpayers of those participating municipalities.

About Seven Day Faith

Founded in 1996 by Western New York musicians Rob Ferenc, John Rosini, Kevin Ernst and Rob Bilson, Seven Day Faith’s musical and lyrical talents helped them earn the distinction of the Top Original Rock Group at the 2002 Buffalo Music Awards, with Rob Bilson winning the Top Original Male Vocalist award at the 2003 Buffalo Music Awards.

They claimed the number one spot in Billboard magazine’s Independent music Charts in 2004 and have gone on to open for national acts such as John Entwhistle, Pat Benetar, Michele Branch, Simple Plan, Switchfoot, Gavin Degraw, Avril Lavigne, Shaggy, LLCool J, Vanessa Carlton, JC Chasez, Papa Roach, Fuel and Our Lady Peace.

July 8, 2018 - 6:46pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in ramble music & art fest, Ramble, batavia, downtown, news, music, entertainment.

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Once again, lots of music fans, lots of musicians, lots of music, and lots of fun at the Ramble Music and Arts Festival in Jackson Square and on Center Street, Batavia.

The bands performing during our visit to the festival yesterday were Lonesome Road, Sierra, Noah's Reign, Rock Soulgers, and The Bluesway Band.

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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 29, 2018 - 10:41am

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Grammy-Award-winning artist Chris Stapleton headlined Darien Lake performing arts center last evening (June 28) in Darien.

The Southern rock-country guitarist opened with "Midnight Train to Memphis," which he first recorded when he was the frontman of The Steelriders" in the late 2000s.

Stapleton has won several country music awards including Album of the Year, Male Vocalist of the Year and New Artist of the Year.

Brent Cobb, and Marty Stuart and his Fabulous Superlatives opened for Stapleton.

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Marty Stuart and his Fabulous Superlatives

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.

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