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September 15, 2017 - 9:02am
posted by Howard B. Owens in GO ART, batavia, news, arts, entertainment.

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Wyoming County writer and photographer Barbara Knight was on hand Thursday night at GO ART! for an artist's reception featuring her photos of Ireland. Knight has worked for 25 years as a writer and photographer and she traveled to Ireland in April. The photos on display at GO ART! capture the beauty and grandeur of what she saw during her visit.

GO ART! also opened its latest member show, "Guilty Pleasure."

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Alex Segouia, of Avon, with his painting, "Lust." 

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Lydia Zwierzynski with "Dreams of Fortune." 

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Top picture, "West of the Fields" by Kevin Hammon, and "The Fishing Shack" by Julie Lambert.

September 13, 2017 - 11:09am
posted by Howard B. Owens in Batavia Players, Harvester 56 Theater, batavia, arts, entertainment, news.

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This weekend the Batavia Players present at Harvester 56 a three-act play, "The Laramie Project," which is based on the murder of Matthew Shepard.

Shepard was a 22-year-old student at the University of Wyoming when he was beaten and robbed and left tied to a fence post in the fall of 1998. Two friends of Shepard's soon after claimed he was killed because he was gay and Shepard's death gained national attention and led to the creation of hate crime laws in most states. Whether Shepard was killed because he was gay has been called into question during the intervening years.

The play is written by Moises Kaufman and members of the Tectonic Theater Project in New York City.

Performances are at 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday and at 2 p.m. Sunday. Tickets are $13 for adults, $10 for seniors and students.

The show contains content that may not be suitable for young children.

The cast: Dorothy Gerhart, Michele Stamp, Joe Kasmierczak, Anthony Giambrone, Micheal Flanagan, Wendy Williams, Kathy Johns, Lucine Kauffman, Peggy Marone, and Norm Argulsky. All cast members play multiple roles.

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August 27, 2017 - 1:59pm

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Punk rock band Green Day, along with special guest Catfish and the Bottlemen, performed last evening at Darien Lake Performing Arts Center in front of a nearly sold-out, jumping crowd. The band is on their Revolution Radio Tour opening with "Know Your Enemy," during which they asked a fan to join them on stage.

Billy Joe Armstrong and his head-spinning members have not lost the beat of their multi-decade followers, who continued to shake the venue to new levels. The explosive pyrotechnics of white and orange sparks heated up the zoo of many faces to be entertained.

The crowd was outspoken for singing lyrics of songs like "Welcome to Paradise," "American Idiot," "21 Guns" and "Good Riddance." The two-plus hours fueled an energetic night for all who attended.

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August 26, 2017 - 9:09pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in religion, news, music, entertainment, austin park, batavia.

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Austin Park was filled with praise and worship this weekend for the Here and Now Festival, featuring several Christian music acts and pastors along with dozens of vendors and activities for families.

More than 3,000 people turned out for last night's music and the festival continues today through 10 p.m.

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August 21, 2017 - 1:16pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in music, entertainment, batavia, news.

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Growing up, Carmen DelPlato got to know just about all of the 200 or so songs his older brother John wrote, which he describes as very Beatlesque.

"John used to sing me when I was a kid frequently so I could sing along with him," DelPlato said. I'm a bit biased but I think the songs are pretty good."

They're good enough, DelPlato thinks, that more people should hear them, so he's created a Kickstarter campaign to raise $1,800 to pay for studio recordings of eight of the songs. For a contribution of $10 or more, you could own a bit of Batavia's rock music history.

"We're doing this to share his music so it can be heard because when he goes the music goes with him," DelPlato said. "We're not out to make money. You can't make money in the music business unless you have a lot of money and we don't have a lot of money."

The DelPlato family is a musical family. Carmen's maternal grandfather, Francesco Marcello, was a musician and composer who wrote marches. One of them, family legend has it, was played for Franklin Delano Roosevelt.

His mother, Mary, was also a songwriter. Some of her Christmas songs have been featured on The Batavian the past couple of years, such as this one.

Carmen is the youngest of nine children -- John, Charley, Danny Jr., Joe, Vincent, Mary Ellen, Michael and Carmen. Carmen professes to no musical talent. John, Charley, Mary, and Vinny all played music. Mary Ellen is also a songwriter.

The boys in this large family often had to share rooms, two and three to a room, in their house on Hutchins Street, but there was still space for a music room with drums, guitars and keyboards. There was also a piano in the living room.

The musical talent has been passed down to Carmen's nephew, Anthony, who will produce and play on the recordings of John's songs. He has a degree in recording.

"He can play many instruments," Carmen said. "He can sing, which makes it easier and cheaper than otherwise to pay other musicians."

To make your contribution to the recording effort, click here.

August 10, 2017 - 10:10am
posted by Maria Pericozzi in batavia, news, arts, entertainment, music.

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(Submitted photo)

Alexander Davis found a place for himself when he started playing the bassoon at Batavia High School.

Now, at 27 years old, he is completing his fellowship at the Tanglewood Music Center in Boston.

Davis went to SUNY Fredonia for music education and completed his master’s degree at Stony Brook University. He started playing bassoon because he said it was a weird instrument.

“At first, I was playing saxophone,” Davis said. “When I started going to All County Festivals, I saw a bassoon for the first time, and said I had to play it.”

Davis said he was drawn to the instrument, but that his mom really pushed him to play music.

“She taught me that music was something that connected to me easily,” Davis said. “When she had me start band in eighth grade, I was hesitant. Now that I’m here, I couldn’t be more thankful for how much she loved me.”

Throughout his career, Davis said he has looked up to multiple professionals, including Laura Koedke, Frank Morelli and Monica Ellis, all bassoon players. Each bassoonist, influenced him in a way no other person did.

“Each one taught me something about myself that I didn’t know,” Davis said.

Davis is part of Xelana Duo, which has brought him to play in venues such as The National Opera Center, and played with ensembles such as the New Juilliard Ensemble, and the CityMusic Cleveland Chamber Orchestra.

Davis said he pursues every opportunity he can. He would like to see himself in a chamber orchestra, teaching at a college, playing a lot of chamber music, or having his own studio in the future.

Batavia gave Davis the opportunity to have many experiences, he said.

“Kids that grew up in New York City and Rochester, there are more kids auditioning to be in groups, trying to be in ensembles,” Davis said.

During a musical at Batavia, Davis was able to be a character on stage during the first half, and a member of the orchestra pit during the second.

“Because it was a very intimate setting, I was able to do everything I wanted to do,” Davis said.

Growing up in Batavia helped shape Davis into the musician and person he is today.

“Batavia was the perfect place,” Davis said. “You could be a big fish in a small pond.”

August 10, 2017 - 10:05am
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, arts, music, entertainment, news, Batavia Concert Band.

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Press release:

The Batavia Concert  Band concluded is 2017 Summer Concert Series in Centennial Park with some fantastic music, a great crowd, and two special awards.

In 2016, the Batavia Concert Band established the Pam Frisby Memorial Friend of the Band Award. Pam was the former board president and long-time enthusiast and support of the Batavia Concert Band.

At the Aug. 9 concert, current Board President Jill Franclemont presented the 2017 award to Genesee Community College, who has graciously provided rehearsal space and a rain venue for the Band for past 20 years.

In Pam’s honor, the Band donated $50 to the Genesee Community College Foundation. Accepting the award on behalf of the Foundation is James Smith, a member of the Board of Directors.

In addition, the Bob Pastecki, Batavia Concert Band finance director also presented the 2017 Scholarship to Cheya-Rain Eagle on behalf of the Board of Directors. Cheya is a Music Therapy major at Fredonia and has been a member of the Batavia Concert Band for several seasons.   

The Batavia Concert band wishes to thank all of our sponsors, patrons, and GO ART! for their fantastic support for the 2017 Summer Concert Series!

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August 9, 2017 - 12:00pm
posted by Session Placeholder in entertainment.
Event Date and Time: 
August 23, 2017 - 5:00pm to 7:30pm

You are invited to come to “August Fun Fest”
Theme: “Finding the Light of the World”
Wednesday, August 23, 2017, 5:00 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.
Location: Batavia First United Methodist Church, 8221 Lewiston Rd., Batavia, NY
Activities: Interactive Games, Skits, Craft Projects, Emmanuel UM Church Worship Leaders Song Fest, Playground, Sand Table, Basketball Hoops, Praise Singing with Music & Motion DVD
Food: Pasta Dinner provided & S’mores!
No charge for food or event activities.
Public Welcome – All children must be accompanied by an adult.

August 8, 2017 - 10:39am
posted by Howard B. Owens in theater, arts, entertainment, news.

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Story and photos by Alecia Kaus/Video News Service.

Debbie Packard is well known in the Genesee County area.

She taught kindergarten at Jackson Elementary School in Batavia for a long time and has touched so many.

This past weekend Packard hosted her annual three-day trip to NYC for those interested in attending a Broadway play.

This trip, however, was not like the others. This year their flight was canceled at the last minute and they could not get another plane.

So the group of 24 women got creative real quick.

Taking to the rails on an Amtrak train, the group of women made their way to the Bernard Jacobs Theatre on West 45th Street to see "Bandstand," which opened on Broadway on April 27 after a successful run at Paper Mill Playhouse in the fall of 2015.

The Genesee County/Brockport assembly of women made their way past the excited fans and learned an after-show “meet and greet” was set up for family and friends of both Geoff Packard and Joey Pero, who are co-stars in the new musical which takes place in 1945 in Cleveland, Ohio.

The Tony Award winning musical is directed and choreographed by Andy Blankenbuehler and centers around the journey of a band made up entirely of veterans who are returning home from World War II hoping that things will be the same.

Lead character Donny Novitski (Cory Cott) is held with the responsibility of checking in on his friend’s wife, Julia Trojan (Laura Osnes), after he died in a friendly fire incident.

The two quickly form a bond as they share a chemistry through music and lyric writing. Julia joins the band as their singer and the band enters a nationwide competition where the winner will be featured on a live NBC televised segment and eventually a Hollywood movie.

“The Donny Nova Band” performs live jazz orchestrations throughout the show.

The musical gives a glimpse into the world of soldiers returning home who feel like underdogs that have been left behind battling for normalcy while fighting PTSD, loss, and the secrets of war.

“Just a lot of connections here tonight,” says Elaine Watson, of Batavia.

” I absolutely loved the show. I worked for years at the VA and PTSD is very very real and a sad thing. Good to have it addressed.”

In a stairwell, backstage near the dressing rooms, a memorial wall has been created for each soldier who has had a show dedicated.

There are eight shows per week.

In his dressing room before a show, Joey Pero reflected on his own battle to overcome being struck by a van on Feb. 12 and after three surgeries on his leg and countless hours of physical therapy was able to make a return to the show on June 30th.

“I’m getting stronger and stronger, going to take some time to be back to my old self, but I’m in pretty good shape right now.”

This is Pero’s Broadway debut.

“I hope the show runs until I’m 70,” says Pero.

“I kind of developed the role as Nick Radel over the past couple of years, I have been very fortunate and you know it’s kinda of tough because I’m not that gruff in real life.”

Pero says he draws a few things from family and friends and people he knows into the role. He has had a lot of support from his hometown of Batavia.

“It always makes me more nervous to perform in front of people from my hometown, I love it though, it gives me some good energy.”

Visit the Bandstand website 

Top photo: Geoff Packard, Debbie Packard and Joey Pero.  

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Bandstand cast members from left: Geoff Packard (Wayne Wright), Joey Pero (Nick Radel), James Nathan Hopkins (Jimmy Campbell), Laura Osnes (Julia Trojan), Cory Cott (Donny Novitski), and Brandon James Ellis (Davy Zlatic). Photo by Jeremy Daniel.

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August 7, 2017 - 10:00pm
posted by Session Placeholder in entertainment.
Event Date and Time: 
September 1, 2017 - 6:00pm to 10:00pm

Batavia High School Class of 1987 • 30th Reunion
Friday September 1st from 6-10pm
Batavia Country Club
Open Bar and Appetizers from 6-8
Band Rise Again (Ray Eighmey) 8-10pm
$35 per person

Contact Joe Fiannaca, [email protected]
or Stephanie Mogavero Choate, [email protected]

August 3, 2017 - 10:00am
posted by Howard B. Owens in Batavia Downs, music, news, entertainment.

Press release:

Batavia Downs Gaming & Hotel is proud to announce that Grammy Award-winning American country and Southern gospel singer Larry Gatlin will be appearing at the Paddock Room Events Center on Saturday, Sept. 16th.

An original member of the legendary trio the Gatlin Brothers, some of Gatlin's biggest hits include "Broken Lady," "All the Gold in California," "Houston (Means I'm One Day Closer to You)," "She Used to Be Somebody's Baby," and "Talkin' to the Moon." In addition to being inducted into the Grand Ole Opry in 1976, the trio has been nominated for awards by the Country Music Association, the Academy of Country Music and the Music City News Awards, among others.

Tickets will be available at www.BataviaConcerts.com beginning at 10am on Friday, Aug. 4th. Individual tickets will be $10 for General Admission while VIP tickets will be $15. Tickets can also be purchased in-person at the Batavia Downs Gaming & Hotel “Made in America” store located in the lobby.

“Coming on the heels of our successful outdoor concert series, we’re excited to continue our live entertainment offerings through the fall and winter,” said Henry Wojtaszek, president & CEO of Batavia Downs Gaming. “We proudly welcome Mr. Gatlin to Batavia Downs Gaming & Hotel as we continue to strive to be the region’s premier entertainment destination.”

Doors will open at 7 p.m. and the show will begin promptly at 8 p.m. Hotel room packages can be purchased at thehotelatbataviadowns.com by using the code: GATLIN. Hotel booking includes two General Admission tickets to the concert. Each concert ticket is also redeemable once at Player’s Club in the three days following the concert for $10 Free Play to be used on one of Batavia Downs Gaming’s 800+ gaming machines. Additional information may be found at www.BataviaDownsGaming.com.  

July 28, 2017 - 2:48pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in GO ART, art, entertainment, news, notify.

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For more than 100 years, there was a bar serving drinks at 201 E. Main St., Batavia, and GO ART! is looking forward to reopening the bar once the art council's application for a liquor license is approved.

"We're really excited because of our use of the old Batavia Men's Club," said Gregory A. Hallock, executive director of GO ART. "I can't wait till it's midnight and there are people walking on the street because the City applied for a DRI grant and they're hoping to get $10 million to do some arts and cultural stuff.

"So they're going to get that grant and people will be walking down the streets and they're coming here at 11:30 at night to get a glass of wine and walk around looking art. I'm really excited to have that happen."

Hallock made his announcement during GO ART's inaugural media dinner, with catering donated by Red Osier Landmark Restaurant, last night at Seymore Place.

The liquor license is just for beer and wine, but Hallock is working with an old friend, a bartender in Hawaii, to create cocktails that use beer and wine.

"We're actually going to have mixed drinks and we're going to have the bar open and we're putting in to open our back ally way," Hallock said. "It's going to be a beer garden so people can just hang out. It's just going to be incredible."

To start, the bar will just be open on weekend evenings.

Hallock's other big news of the night was an announcement of a planned showing for photographer Ryan Gustman. Hallcock discovered Gustman's working during the Sprout Film Festival and wanted to feature his work locally. Gustman has autism. He's from Winston-Salem, N.C. He also happened to be in town this week because he's doing a new series of photographs in Rochester and Buffalo.

Gustman specializes in art photos of old, decaying buildings (below, the video about him that was part of the Sprout Film Festival).

Through his discovery of photography and abandoned buildings, Gustman has found a way to focus and better manage his autism. Since then, he's been able to move out of his parents' home and take a job in IT with a company in Winston-Salem.

The process started when Gustman wandered into an abandoned building and sat for 30 or 40 minutes watching old lead paint fall from a ceiling like snow.

"There was this utter silence and I found out with the silence that I can actually calm down," Gustman said. "I'm not sure you understand how the autistic mindset works. There's always something clicking and everything --  that sounds a little crazy -- and normally and you can't basically focus. I was able to calm down and I took that feeling and I started taking pictures with it."

Hallock said he's hoping to draw wide attention for the show, bring in other autistic artists at the same time, and Gustman said he wants to use his newfound notoriety as a photographer to help other autistic artists.

"There's not enough programs or creative avenues for people with autism," Gustman said. There are plenty of classes you can go to for 30 minutes. But then there's nothing to show. So I'm trying to use this platform reaching out and actually helping these people."

That show should be in September.

Hallock also laid out a series of ambitious plans for the coming year, from a 1940s themed Picnic in the Park, more member shows, including one with theme of "Guilty Pleasures," a tea for children, a puppet show, a show by local artist Sean Madden (who has a regional following), and a return of the popular juried art show (which got 130 entries in its first year this year).

He's also very ambitious about what to do with Seymore Place. His goal is to get art on every wall.  

There are currently two shows at Seymore Place, one by Mary Ann Fritz, from Delavan, of her work of painted and sewn cloth, and Stacy Kirby's show of en plein air paintings and illustrations.

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Mary Ann Fritz

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Ryan Gustman

July 18, 2017 - 8:00am

The 178th annual Genesee County Fairgrounds turn out to be a great showing on opening night for the grand parade that marched through the grounds.  

For a complete schedule of daily events click here: http://gcfair.com/Home/FairInformation/DailySchedule.aspx

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July 15, 2017 - 8:57am
posted by Howard B. Owens in Batavia Downs, music, entertainment, news.

Press release:

Batavia Downs Gaming & Hotel has announced that they will be donating 800 tickets to the upcoming Lee Greenwood concert to local Veteran Organizations. The concert takes place on Friday, July 21st.

“Lee Greenwood and his song 'God Bless the USA' are synonymous with our great country and we’re honored to have him play here," stated Batavia Downs Gaming & Hotel President & CEO, Henry Wojtaszek.

“We work closely with other veteran agencies in the area and wanted to give back to all the local veterans who have fought to defend our freedoms.”

The tickets will be handed to representatives from various local Veterans agencies in a brief ceremony on Monday, July 17th, at 10:30 a.m. in the Batavia Downs Lobby by their Made in America satellite store.

Tickets to the Lee Greenwood show can be purchased at Bataviaconcerts.com or in person at the Made in America store in the Batavia Downs Lobby.

Three opening acts will play beginning at 5 p.m., including country recording artist Ricky Lee, Alyssa Trahan, and the band Gypsy Souls. Doors open at 4 p.m.

"To care for him who shall have borne the battle and for his widow and his orphan." (Abraham Lincoln)

July 12, 2017 - 12:49pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Batavia Concert Band, music, entertainment, arts, batavia, news.

Because of the rain, the Batavia Concert Band's regular Wednesday evening show at Centennial Park has been moved inside to the auditorium at Batavia High School.

Downbeat is 7 p.m.

July 8, 2017 - 8:05am

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Rochester native Lou Gramm packed in a large crowd of fans in Western New York at Batavia Downs racetrack last evening. 

On this warm summer night people gathered all around the local area to hear “Lou Gramm the Original Voice of Foreigner” and his band play classic hits like, "Cold as Ice," "Double Vision," "Midnight Blue" and "Juke Box Hero," plus many more from his days with his former band Foreigner.

Fans were singing from their lawn chairs, dancing on the lawn and jamming out those classic revival tunes from many years since the 1970s to now.

This was the fourth outdoor summer concert part of Batavia Downs concert series with two remaining, Marshall Tucker band next Friday, July 14th, and Lee Greenwood on July 21st.

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July 1, 2017 - 9:54am

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The trio Something Else played Jackson Square yesterday evening as part of the summer concert series downtown. There's live music in Jackson Square each Friday at 7 p.m. through August.

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June 30, 2017 - 11:51am

The Batavia Ramble and Arts Fest is tomorrow in Downtown Batavia.

In the case of rain, performances will take place inside Center Street Smoke House.

Here's the lineups for both stages:

Jackson Square Stage
  • 11 – 11:15 a.m. --  **Opening Ceremony**
  • 11:15 – 11:45 a.m. -- Ghost Riders
  • 11:50 a.m. – 12:20 p.m. -- KoKo & The Moon Crickets
  • 12:25 – 12:55 p.m. -- Ryan & Scott
  • 1– 1:30 p.m. -- Gridder
  • 1:35 – 2:05 p.m.  -- Bluesway
  • 2:10 – 2:40 p.m. -- Genesee Ted
  • 2:45 – 3:15 p.m.  -- Me & Red
  • 3:20 – 3:50 p.m.  -- TONK
  • 3:50 – 4:05 p.m.  -- * * * Memorial * * *
  • 4:05 – 4:35 p.m.  -- Sierra
  • 4:40 – 5:10 p.m.  -- PD3 & Co.
  • 5:15 – 5:45 p.m.  -- Rich Lullo Band
  • 5:50 – 6:20 p.m.  -- Lonesome Road
  • 6:25 – 6:55 p.m. -- Loosely Tight
  • 7 – 7:30 p.m. -- Trolls
  • 7:35 – 8:05 p.m.  -- Zero
  • 8:10 – 8:40 p.m. -- Driven
  • 8:45 – 9:15 p.m. -- Noah's Reign 
Center Street Stage
  • 11 – 11:15 a.m. -- **Opening Ceremony**
  • 11:15 – 11:45 a.m. --  Steve Kruppner
  • 11:50 a.m. – 12:20 p.m. -- Kruppner Brothers
  • 12:25 – 12:55 p.m. -- Mark Grover
  • 1  – 1:30 p.m.  -- Ryan Consiglio
  • 1:35 – 2:05 p.m. -- Dave Holnbeck
  • 2:10 – 2:40 p.m. -- Kevin Moyles
  • 2:45 – 3:15 p.m. -- Paul Almeter
  • 3:20 – 3:50 p.m. -- Jim Luttrell
  • 3:50 – 4:05 p.m.  --  * * * Memorial * * *
  • 4:05 – 4:35 p.m. -- Red Creek
  • 4:40 – 5:10 p.m.  -- Mitty & The followers
  • 5:15 – 5:45 p.m. -- Rock Soulgers
  • 5:50 – 6:20 p.m.  -- Bad Luck
  • 6:25 – 6:55 p.m.  -- Audibull
  • 7 – 7:30 p.m. -- Rhythm Collision
  • 7:35 – 8:05 p.m.  -- Eagle Creek
  • 8:10 – 8:40 p.m. -- Nichols Brothers Band
  • 8:45 – 9:15 p.m. -- Open Jam
June 29, 2017 - 8:46am
posted by Howard B. Owens in Batavia Concert Band, batavia, music, arts, entertainment, news.

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The Batavia Concert Band opened its 2017 season Wednesday evening in Centennial Park with John Bailey conducting.

The season continues with outdoor concerts at the park every Wednesday at 7 p.m. through Aug. 9.

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