In the age of COVID, when many indoor activities are curtailed and we're supposed to keep our distance outside, Debra Webster decided she could use the park-like area behind her business, Dave's Ice Cream, on West Main Street, as a place to give people something to do.
This week, she kicked off a summer concert series featuring Austin Wahl, a guitar performance student at the Eastman School of Music in Rochester.
Webster plans free concerts from 6:30 to 8 p.m. on Thursday nights during the summer.
With no live gigs to play, Le Roy's Justin Williams has been using his time at home to write some instrumental tracks. Today he released "July Morning."
The song was mixed by Joe Lambert, of Batavia.
Williams said the song is inspired by the need to have a bright spot in our daily lives in these times.
"I've written several instrumentals during these strange times," Williams said. "It just felt natural during these divisive times to let the music do the talking. The video was fun to make as well. More on the way. Just gonna keep releasing as singles for now. May put out as an EP at the end of the year."
Williams is a singer/songwriter/lead guitarist and he has released music with Butterscotch, Exit 47, and a pair of solo EPs, as well as playing on other artists' albums (BC Psychos, JJ Lang Band, among others). Additionally, he has written music for advertising (Ryan Heating and Plumbing, The YNGodess Shop, among others). Typically, he can be found performing with Justin Williams & Forward Progress, The Shaking Bones, as a solo acoustic performer, and occasionally with The BC Psychos.
Starting next Wednesday, July 22, Dave's Ice Cream will host live music outdoors -- in back of the ice cream parlor, located at 3872 W. Main Street Road, Town of Batavia.
Come on down and bring a chair! Music starts at 6:30 p.m.
At the debut event, the talents of guitarist Austin Wahl will delight listeners.
About Austin Wahl
He is a guitarist of many skills. Currently pursuing his master's degree at the Eastman School of Music in Rochester, where he also earned a bachelor's degree and Performers' Certificate, Wahl has played classical guitar since age 5.
He is also a skilled bluegrass and rock guitarist, equally at home in all three genres.
(UPDATED July 25: the owner has decided that subsequent concert this season will be on Thursdays, same time -- 6:30 p.m.)
Submitted photo and information from Debra Webster.
The Elba Betterment Committee, through a grant from GO Art, presents the final concert of our Music and More event. Come to our All American themed evening featuring the Corfu Pembroke Community Band. The Betterment Committee will be grilling up hot dogs and hamburgs and serving Mom's apple pie! And, of course there will be ice cream. Please bring your own chair and be prepared for social distancing and wearing a mask in common areas. Don't forget to wear your red, white and blue.
The Elba Betterment Committee, through a grant from GO Art, presents music from Genesee Ted at the Village Park. Bring a chair and enjoy great music and great food from Center Street Smokehouse and Pub Coffee Hub. Please be prepared for social distancing and wearing a mask in common areas only.
The Elba Betterment Committee, through a grant from GO Art, presents a tie dye event featuring the Old Hippies. Wear your tie dye or bring a shirt and we'll help you make one. Center Street Smokehouse and Pub Coffee Hub will be there as well. Bring a chair, have some dinner and enjoy some great music. Please be prepared for social distancing and wearing a mask in common areas only.
The Elba Betterment Committee, through a grant from GO Art, presents SAVAGE CABBAGE! Come rock with the Starowitz boys and enjoy food from LosCompadres Mexican Food truck. More details to come as they are complete.
The Elba Betterment, through a grant from GO ART!, and in conjunction with BEST ( Building Elba School Together) invites you to "Rock out" with Bobby and the Pedestrians. Rock painting, pizza from Andy's Pizza, ice cream from Zuber Farms and lots of family fun with our own Bobby Skrzypek.
Please bring your own chair and be prepared for social distancing and masks in common areas only
The Elba Betterment Committee, with a grant from GO Art, presents The Jimmie Legs Trio. Come to the village Park Main St., Elba for dinner and some great music. Circle B Winery, Los Compadres Mexican food truck, Pub Coffee Hub will be there. Please bring your own chair and be prepared for social distancing, and masks in common areas only.
Madison Hoerbelt is a 2018 graduate of Batavia High School and a winner of a John Mikalski Scholarship from the Genesee Wyoming Music Educators Association. Hoerbelt is attending Ithaca College for Voice Performance and is a mezzo-soprano.
What is her favorite musical experience?
When I was in high school I was very lucky to attend Conference All-State as well as All-Eastern in Atlantic City, New Jersey! During my freshman year of college, I went on tour with the Dorothy Cotton Jubilee Singers to Virginia, North Carolina, and Washington, D.C. This past year as a sophomore I went to sing the National Anthem with the Ithaca College Choir at MetLife Stadium right outside of New York City!
What is your musical goal?
My goal is to be an opera and musical theater actress in opera houses and companies around the world. Mainly in New York City, Germany, and Italy. My goal also includes going to graduate school to get my master's degree in Voice Performance and eventually a doctorate.
What is your favorite performance venue?
My favorite venue I've ever performed in would be the Kodak Theater in the Eastman School of Music. I performed there for two concerts during my time in Conference All-State and three more times with the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra in their Holiday Pops Concerts throughout high school! Some of her main performance influences are Renee Fleming, Isabel Leonard, and Anita Rachvelishvili.
Other exciting musical fun facts:
I would have been attending Songfest, a prestigious art song program, in May and June but unfortunately, it was canceled. I'm a member of Mu Phi Epsilon, which is a coed professional music fraternity, for which I have just been elected the vice president/pledge mom. I also play many instruments including clarinet, saxophone, flute, guitar, ukulele, and piano.
Amidst the societal and scholastic change that our country has had to adapt to during the current Pandemic of 2020, the Genesee-Wyoming Music Educators Association (GWMEA) had to cancel their annual All-County Festivals that highlight the top 500 musicians from out combined counties.
The 12 schools that makeup GWMEA consist of Alexander, Attica, Batavia City, Byron-Bergen, Elba, Le Roy, Notre Dame, Pembroke, Pavilion, Oakfield-Alabama, St. Joseph, and Wyoming schools.
Students between the grades 5-12 would have been highlighted this year in March during performances at Pembroke and Le Roy High Schools.
In honor of all students who auditioned for the six ensembles who will never get to perform as a group, the GWMEA would like to thank all students who individually put in the time preparing for these great music festivals.
Lastly, we would like to honor all the seniors who will never have the honor of performing again at another GWMEA Festival. Some of our seniors would have been making their first appearance in an all-county ensemble, and some would have been appearing for their ninth year, committing hours and hours to their craft. Regardless of years committed, we would like to honor you one last time. Congratulations.
Le Roy graduate Kathleen Dessert received a John Mikalski Scholarship from the Genesee Wyoming Music Educators Association in 2018. She is currently studying Music Education at SUNY Fredonia. She is a vocal major, a soprano who also plays piano, flute, guitar and ukulele.
While at Le Roy, her favorite music experience was performing as Ariel in "The Little Mermaid." So far while at Fredonia her favorite musical experience was performing Verdi's "Requiem" under the direction of David Rudge, Ph.D.
Dessert is looking forward to singing with the Fredonia Choirs at a celebration for Stacey Gibbs' 100th composition in Washington, D.C., in the spring of 2021.
Her favorite performance venue is when she performed with the 2017 NYSSMA Conference All State Treble Choir in Kodak Hall at Eastman Theatre. One of her favorite pieces they performed that night was Holst's "Choral Hymns from the Rig Veda."
Her main role models have always been her teachers. The most influential being Patricia Corron, Ph.D, and Jacqueline McLean.
She would love to teach elementary general music while also keeping herself involved in choirs and musical theater.
She recently put together a Virtual Ensemble for the Fredonia chapter of the National Association for Music Education! It was a lot of fun, and she is hoping to do more in the future that will involve chapters from all around the state.
Genesee Wyoming Music Educators Association honors its 1016 John Mikalski scholarship winner, Ross Chua, a graduate of Batavia High School.
Chua has earned a bachelor's degree in Music Composition from Syracuse University and is working on his master's degree in Audio Sound.
His primary instrument is voice. Secondary instruments are trumpet, piano and guitar.
When asked for his favorite high school/college music memory he responded: I have come to know such a vast array of humans throughout my time both in Batavia and Syracuse, and I am blessed to have spent time with so many wonderful friends and colleagues. One of my favorite musical experiences was my first tour with SU's university singers. Setnor School of Music has a wonderful choral program full of amazing and dedicated vocalists, and singers have always been a particularly enriching experience for me. In the fall of my sophomore year, the first semester I joined, we went to perform for the National Collegiate Choral Organization (NCCO) conference in New Orleans, Louisiana. It was incredibly exciting to tour the city and take in the rich musical culture of the area, and this was made even better by being able to share the experience with some of my closest friends. Perhaps the most impactful part of the trip, though, was our final performance at the conference. We had prepared some intense repertoire, including Francis Poulenc's "Sept Chansons," ("Seven Songs") which was especially difficult. As mentioned, though, the work ethic of the choir was palpable, and the culmination of our work performing for the NCCO is something that still fills me with immense pride. It was a powerful reminder of how satisfying singing can be, especially when: a. You challenge yourself and work to meet that challenge; and b.You collaborate with people you respect and admire.
When asked what ensembles/ performance opportunities do you aspire to be a part of: I've participated in several choirs while in college and was music director of my tenor/bass a cappella group, orange appeal. I'd like to continue being involved with vocal groups because there's something magical about creating music using nothing but what God gave you.
Where is your favorite performance venue you have performed at?: Last fall, I brought my a cappella group orange appeal to Batavia to sing at Richmond Memorial Library. It was really fun to have my college life and my home life cross paths.
Who are your main musical influences and/or role models? Andrew Huang is a producer/YouTuber who has an insanely massive body of work, both in variety and sheer quantity of releases. He also has been a part of many collaborations, small scale and large scale, with other musicians and YouTubers. I aspire to have his commitment on his mission statement, which is simply "make music everywhere."
What is your ultimate music goal or music dream? My favorite aspect of music is the way it naturally vitalizes a community experience. I am constantly seeking opportunities to connect with people, and often those overlap with musical opportunities. I'd like to continue collaborating with other musicians as much as possible, and the career paths I think are most conducive to that are working at a recording studio and managing a performance venue. Both career paths seem like promising sources of social interaction!
Do you have any music side projects that you enjoy? I try to create regular content for my Instagram (@ross_chua) and my YouTube channel (Ross Chua music). Be sure to follow if you're interested in seeing my content!
The Genesee Wyoming Music Educators Association is honoring past scholarship winner Elise Hoerbelt, a trumpet player and a 2019 graduate of Batavia High School.
Here instructors through the years have included Dawn Mark, Jane Haggett, and Derek Reiss.
Her secondary instruments are voice, french horn, and violin.
She is attending Ithaca College and majoring in Music Education.
What are your favorite college/ high school music experiences?
My favorite music experience in my career so far has been my first concert at Ithaca College. It was amazing getting to play with so many talented musicians and it was the first concert of my college career.
What ensembles/performance opportunities do you aspire to be a part of?
Since I aspire to be a music educator, I would like to be the conductor of a band of students someday.
What is your favorite performance venue you have performed at?
My favorite performance venue was at Kodak Hall in the Eastman School of Music when I performed with the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra in the Holiday Pops Chorus.
What are your main musical influences and/or role models?
My teachers and friends have been my main influences in my musical career.
What is your ultimate music goal or music dream?
My goal is to become a music educator and teach students about the power of music.