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May 20, 2020 - 11:36am
posted by Howard B. Owens in music, arts, video, news, the batavian sessions, Eli Fish.
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We recorded this song, "Good Dogs," with "A" Blues Band when thoughts of a pandemic weren't much on our minds, and before I could finish editing the session, coronavirus hit.

Welcome to spring. I hope you get plenty of time with your good dogs out in the fresh air. Thanks to Eli Fish for use of the space.

May 19, 2020 - 7:26pm
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Interview with Jason Smith, Batavia Concert Band.

May 16, 2020 - 7:07pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in dylan desmit, news, video, live stream, music, arts, entertainment.
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Dylan DeSmit performs for you at 8 p.m. (or thereabouts).

May 11, 2020 - 11:59am
posted by Howard B. Owens in music, arts, education, news, batavia, Batavia HS.

The Genesee Wyoming Music Educators Association celebrates previous scholarship winner Andrea Gilebarto, a former Batavia High School who will graduate this spring with a degree in music education from SUNY Fredonia.

Press release:

Primary Instrument: Voice -- studying with Robert Strauss at SUNY Fredonia Secondary Instruments: Ukulele, Piano, and Flute

When asked what her favorite High School and College memories are Andrea Responded: My favorite high school experience is playing Mary Poppins in "Mary Poppins the musical." My favorite college musical experience was when I was in Chamber Choir under the direction of Dr. Vernon Huff. I think a close second was playing one of the stepsisters in the Hillman Opera's production of "Cendrillon" by Massenet, the French opera of the "Cinderella" story.

When asked where is your favorite performance venue you have performed at Andrea responded:

My favorite venue was when the Chamber Choir went to Churchville Chili High School to be a part of a promotional tour. We performed four songs that evening, and closed out the concert. The auditorium was huge and had plenty of space for our sound to resonate in. My favorite song we performed that night was "All My Trials" and "Rockin' Jerusalem," both arranged by Stacey Gibbs.

In addition to teaching, Andrea aspires to be a part of the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra Chorus one day. She also aspires to be in more operas down the line.

When asked who her main influences are Andrea responded: My main musical influences are Joyce Didonato, Billy Joel and Luciano Pavarotti. I have tickets to see Billy Joel in concert, and cannot wait to see him live!

Andreas ultimate music goal is to be able to teach middle school general music and choral music while still having time to participate in an opera or a musical theater performance.

Andrea loves playing ukulele! She finds chords to pop songs she loves, and plays along to recordings.

We would like to congratulate Andrea on all of her accomplishments up to this point! We wish you much luck as you start your career as a music educator!

May 6, 2020 - 12:12pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Batavia HS, batavia, news, music, arts, education, schools.

Lydia Geiger is the second winner of a 2020 John Mikulski Scholarship announced by the Genesee Wyoming Music Educators Association. 

Geiger is a senior at Batavia High School. Her primary interest is flute.

Press release:

When asked what her greatest HS memory was Lydia responded: 
College visits and auditions, masterclasses, lessons, and playing in orchestras.

Lydia's goal is to become a music educator and performer.

When asked what her favorite performance venue she had performed at she responded: 
The Musical Arts Center at The Jacobs School of Music in 2018 with the Indiana University Summer Music Clinic Orchestra. We performed Tchaikovsky Symphony No. 5.

Lydia's main influences are her music teachers.

Lydia is undecided as to where she will be attending school for Music however she has these amazing colleges to choose from: 
Schulich School of Music at McGill University, Ithaca College, Baldwin Wallace Conservatory, or SUNY Potsdam.

Lydia is very excited to be performing at the Wiener Musikverein in Vienna, Austria with the Honors Performance Series in 2021.

May 2, 2020 - 7:40pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in music, the batavian sessions, news.
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The Batavian Sessions featuring Paul Draper.

TIP JAR: Paul doesn't have a PayPal account but if you would like to tip your local, friendly musician, send your PayPal donation to [email protected] and we'll make sure he gets it.

If you would like to comment on the live feed during the show, got to the YouTube page for the live stream.

May 2, 2020 - 6:59pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in music, arts, Old Hippies.

Another free online Saturday night concert by the Old Hippies for the folks of Genesee County from their vacation home in Florida.

Check back at 8 p.m. for a special edition of The Batavian Sessions, featuring Paul Draper.

April 14, 2020 - 2:05pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in arts, music, entertaiment, news, covid-19, coronavirus.

"This is Me," performed by participants in the Sound Foundation and the Harvester 56 Theater in Batavia.

Sound Foundations Voice Studio is a private studio run by Wendy Williams. She trains both classical and music-theater style singers, including children and adult beginners. Five of her high school students placed this year in an international young classical artists competition and sang at Carnegie Hall. 

Williams is currently conducting lessons remotely and she decided to use the remote learning tools to bring the class together in a fun and uplifting project.

The song is from the musical "The Greatest Showman."

March 28, 2020 - 7:18pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Old Hippies, music.

March 21, 2020 - 7:00pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Old Hippies, music, arts, entertaiment.

Bill and Kay McDonald are in Florida streaming a concert for the folks back home (Genesee County).

March 20, 2020 - 8:51pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in the batavian sessions, music, arts, enternainment, live stream, video, news.
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Paul Draper and I are talking about doing a special live edition of The Batavian Sessions featuring several local musicians. We haven't picked a date yet but tonight we recorded a test-run for your entertainment. Watch The Batavian for more information about the upcoming live, online concert, which will also be a fundraiser for a local charity.

February 23, 2020 - 1:21pm
posted by Billie Owens in entertainment, genesee valley wind ensemble, news, music.

The Genesee Valley Wind Ensemble's Spring Concert will be held at Alexander High School at 4 p.m. on Saturday, April 25.

The school is located at 3314 Buffalo St. in Alexander.

Tickets are $10 for adults; $8 for seniors 55+ and veterans; $5 for students with ID; children age 5 and under are admitted free. For families, cost is $25 for immediate families and children -- mother and/or father and up to four children.

The featured works for the Spring Concert are:

  • "Toccata for Band" by Frank Erickson
  • "A Touch of Tuba" by Art Detrick*
  • "Into Battle" by Christopher Taylor
  • "The Lion King" by Elton John, Tim Rice, Hans Zimmer, arrangements by Calvin Custer
  • "Foundry" by John Mackey 
  • "Molly on the Shore" by -- Percy Grainger, with Guest Conductor Meaghan McTammany
  • Selections from the musical "Chicago" -- arrangements by Ted Ricketts
  • "Mama Mia!" -- arrangements by Roy Phillippe
  • National Emblem March -- Edwin Eugene Bagley

The Genesee Valley Wind Ensemble will be conducted by its founder, Philip J. Briatico.

Meaghan McTammany will be the guest conductor.

*Matt Stanton, of Avon Central School, is the guest soloist, playing tuba.

The purpose of the GVWE is to serve and to provide the Greater Genesee Valley audience with new and familiar live music, to serve its membership with the opportunity to perform challenging wind ensemble literature and to create the opportunity for the conductor and musicians to grow their collective musical talents.

The GVWE Spring Concert is made possible with funds from the Decentralization Program, a regrant program of the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York Legislature and administered by GO ART!

Contact:   [email protected]

February 21, 2020 - 11:55am
posted by Howard B. Owens in the batavian sessions, music, arts, entertainment, video, 'A' Blues Band.
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February 7, 2020 - 3:56pm
posted by Billie Owens in Genesee Symphony Orchestra, news, music.

"Symphonic Pictures III -- Once Upon a Time" is the third of four concerts this season performed by the Genesee Symphony Orchestra. It will be held starting at 4 p.m. on Sunday, March 1 in the Elba Central School Auditorium, located at 57 S. Main St. in Elba.

The program will be:

  • "Night on Bald Mountain" by Modest Petrovich Mussorgsky
  • "Ma Mere 'L'Oye" ("Mother Goose Suite") by Maurice Ravel
  • "Romeo and Juliet" selections by Sergei Sergeyevich Prkofiev

GSO Conductor S. Shade Zajac says the concert is intended to evoke magical storytelling through beloved pieces of music and he promises it will be "spellbinding."

"Night on Bald Mountain" for example is from Disney's animated classic "Fantasia." It depicts the spirits of darkness in celebration of "Chernobog," a Slavic deity aka "The Black God," before the sound of church bells drives them back into darkness.

"Very dramatic and maybe still a bit scary," writes Zajac in his "Message from the Maestro" to the orchestra, its board members and supporters.

The suite by Ravel is based on classic children's stories: "Sleeping Beauty," "Tom Thumb" and "Beauty and the Beast."

"It is a tour-de-force for our wind players and features everyone from the stratospheric piccolo to the grumbling contrabassoon!" Zajac says.

In the timeless ballet based on Shakespeare's "Romeo and Juliet," some of the most famous moments will be performed musically: "The Montegues and Capulets," the balcony scene, and the tragic scene of Romeo at Juliet's grave, and more.

Concert tickets are adults $15, seniors $10, and students with ID are free.

Note that there will be a GSO raffle for a chance to win a day and overnight stay in lovely Canandaigua.

The winning ticket will treat two to fine dining at the NYS culinary arts facility -- The Restaurant & Bar at New York Kitchen (NYKitchen), right on the waters edge of Canandaigua Lake, where New York foods and beverages and the freshest seasonal produce are showcased. Stay at the postcard-perfect Bella Rose Bed & Breakfast in a beautifully appointed suite with private bath. The B&B offers "the best breakfast in Canandaigua," a three-course meal in its Victorian dining room.

Have a look-see at The Restaurant & Bar at New York Kitchen here, and the Bella Rose here.

Raffle tickets are on sale at the GSO concerts -- including the season finale concert May 3 ("Symphonic Pictures IV -- Dance"), also at Elba Central School Auditorium -- and from any board member. Raffle tickets cost $5 for one ticket; $10 for three tickets. The drawing will be held at the May 3 concert. Proceeds benefit the GSO.

February 2, 2020 - 11:22am
posted by Howard B. Owens in the batavian sessions, music, arts, entertainment, batavia.
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Greg Houseknecht wrote a song to pay tribute to Kobe Bryant after the Lakers' star, along with his daughter, Gianna, and seven other people died in a helicopter crash in Southern California.

January 16, 2020 - 10:14pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Batavia Downs, music, arts, entertainment, news.


Press release:

Batavia Downs Gaming & Hotel has announced the lineup for their fourth annual Rockin’ the Downs concert series, which takes place outside on the racetrack, with eight Friday dates, starting in June and running into August.

Kicking off the series on Friday, June 19th is Vince Neil, the legendary voice of Mötley Crüe. An accomplished businessman and heartfelt philanthropist, his unmistakable voice leads some of the greatest rock songs of a generation including “Wild Side,” “Shout at the Devil,” “Home Sweet Home,” “Girls, Girls, Girls,” “Dr. Feelgood,” “Kickstart My Heart,” “Same Ol’ Situation,” and many others.

Next up, on Friday, June 26th, is former Journey frontman, Steve Augeri, who returns after playing one of the most enjoyable concerts from last year’s series. The lead vocalist for the rock group from 1998-2006, Augeri headlined an eight-year tenure that included three albums and will perform hits such as "Don’t Stop Believin’, " "Separate Ways," "Wheel in the Sky," "Faithfully," and "Anyway You Want It."

After a one-week hiatus for the Fourth of July holiday, the concert series returns on Friday, July 10th with Southern rock legend Molly Hatchet. Originating in Jacksonville, Fla., in 1978, the band has gone on to release 14 studio albums. They’ll be performing hits such as "Flirtin’ with Disaster," "Dreams I’ll Never See" and "Whiskey Man," among others.

Rocking the stage on Friday, July 17th is the heavy-metal rock group Skid Row. After forming in New Jersey in 1986, the band has performed all over the world with hard guitars and a unique songwriting style. They’ll be performing their hits "In a Darkened Room," "We Are the Damned," "Youth Gone Wild" and "18 and Life" and many more.

Jonny Lang performs on Friday, July 24th. Hailing from Fargo, N.D., the blues, gospel, and rock singer has had five albums chart in the Billboard 200. The Grammy Award-winning artist will perform hits such as "Still Rainin’," "Bring Me Back Home," "Breakin’ Me" and "Lie to Me."

Friday, July 31st will see Don Felder, formerly of The Eagles, perform at the Downs. As a renowned former lead guitarist of The Eagles, one of the most popular and influential rock groups of our time, Felder has helped write and perform many iconic classics. His 2008 memoir was a New York Times bestseller. Felder will perform solo and Eagles’ hits during his set including "Heavy Metal (Takin’ a Ride)," "Hotel California," "Life in the Fast Lane," "The Long Run" and "Tequila Sunrise."

America’s top Pink Floyd tribute show, The Machine, hits the stage on Friday, Aug. 7th. Over the course of 30 years they have extended the legacy of Pink Floyd while creating another legacy all their own. Along the way, The Machine has touched the hearts and souls of many with their stellar musicianship, dramatic lighting, and video performances. Two other tribute rock acts celebrating the music of The Who and Queen will also grace the stage that evening for what will be a memorable musical journey back in time.

Closing out the series on Friday, Aug. 14th is American alternative rock band, Puddle of Mudd. The post-grunge band from Kansas City, Mo., has sold more than seven million albums. One of the most well-attended concerts of 2018’s summer concert series, Puddle of Mudd concertgoers will be sure to hear hits such as "She Hates Me," "Blurry" and "Control."

Tickets for all eight concerts will be available at www.BataviaConcerts.com beginning at 10 a.m. tomorrow, Jan. 17th.

Individual presale tickets to each concert will remain at $10 for General Admission, while VIP tickets will again be $25. Concertgoers will be able to purchase tickets in the Premium Section directly in front of the stage. Premium tickets are $50 and will be very limited for each concert.

General Admission tickets are $15 if purchased on the day of the concert.

Tickets can also be purchased at Batavia Downs Gaming & Hotel at the Lucky Treasures Gift Shop located in the lobby.

As of noon today (Jan. 16th) special VIP packages --for the Don Felder Concert only -- will be available on BataviaConcerts.com

Concertgoers will once again have the option of purchasing a “Season Pass,”, which includes admission to all eight concerts at a discounted rate. The season pass for 2020 is $60 for General Admission and $150 for VIP.

New this year will be a chair rental option for lawn seats. While patrons are allowed to bring their own chairs, there will be 500 chairs available for rental for $5 each. A portion of proceeds for chair rental will benefit Make a Wish Western New York. Staff from Make a Wish will also be selling drink koozies.

“It’s incredible to think we are in our fourth year of the concert series,” said Henry Wojtaszek, CEO/president of Batavia Downs Gaming. “We’re excited to continue to bring musical icons to Batavia Downs and provide great entertainment at an affordable price.

"We’re looking forward to partnering again with Western New York Make A Wish to help raise funds to help them transform lives. We hope to see the community come together again this summer.”

Hotel room/ticket packages will be available for each concert. The purchase of a hotel room on the night of a concert using the code includes two VIP tickets to the show while supplies last.

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.

Concerts are held rain or shine. Additional information may be found at www.BataviaDownsGaming.com.

Photo: Henry Wojtaszek at today's press conference. Photo by Howard Owens.

January 10, 2020 - 2:57pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Krista Marie, news, music, arts, entertainment, notify.

As a songwriter herself, it really struck Krista Marie Oswald (nee Robusto) as another artist having a lightbulb moment when Gretchen Wilson told her how she came to write the song "Red Neck Woman."

"She said for her, she didn't understand why anybody would want to listen to her story," Oswald said during a phone interview today. "She's a girl from a tiny park in Illinois and nobody is going to listen to her story. She told me, that isn't the case."

Oswald is cohost of a new syndicated TV show, "The Song: Recorded Live at TGL Farms," which will air for the first time this Saturday in Rochester and Buffalo, that features songwriters and their songs and the stories behind the songs. It's filmed live at a farm she and her husband, producer Marc Oswald, own outside of Nashville. 

In an episode that will air near the end of season one, Wilson told Krista Oswald that her producer her told her that to be successful she needed to be true to who she is. "You've got to be 100 percent authentic to be true." 

It obviously paid off. "Redneck Woman" was the #1 country song in the nation in 2004.

Oswald is known professionally as Krista Marie. She's a singer and songwriter who grew up in Batavia. We last spoke with her in 2013 when the band she was with at the time, The Farm, played at Frostridge in Le Roy.

She's thrilled, she said, to get a chance to sit down and talk with so many great songwriters, such as  Big & Rich, Rick Springfield, Jim Messina, Travis Tritt, and Don McLean.

She's joined on the series by cohost Damien Horne, who interviews CeeLo Green in the first episode (embedded above).

"Obviously, what's exciting to me about the show is personally, and as a songwriter, is getting to speak with these iconic artists and hear their take on what their creations meant and how they put it out there," Oswald said. "It's really interesting. CeeLo Green said in the first episode how it only takes one song to change history, to change music history, and that was a real moment for me."

There are other moments in the series, she said, such as Rick Springfield revealing that he didn't think much of his biggest hit, "Jesse's Girl," when he first wrote it. "It was just a little ditty," he told her.

"Honestly," she said Springfield said, "I feel like I've written better material but that just happened to breakthrough."

Jim Messina shared a similar story about his biggest hit with Loggins and Messina, "Your Mama Don't Dance."

He feels he's written better songs but like Wilson with "Redneck Woman," that song was born of his own conservative upbringing, making it true to life and, counterintuitively, more relatable to a popular audience.

The show also offers Oswald a chance to meet the songwriters who provided "the soundtrack" of her life, such as McLean, whose "American Pie" is perhaps the soundtrack of everybody's life. 

That song, of course, was released in 1971, long before Oswald was born but she said, "It was part of my growing up, part of my childhood."

The new TV series has other Batavia connections. Her mother, Barb Galliford, spent three weeks at TGL Farms helping landscape and paint "The Song Garden," where the interviews are recorded. Genesee County residents Johnny Cummings and Sam Polizzi, who recently opened a recording studio in Rochester called Sound Notions, helped with the production and when Robusto and her husband weren't happy with original theme music for the show, Cummings and Polizzi wrote and recorded a new theme song in 24 hours.

As she spoke with The Batavian, Oswald was at the luggage carousel at the airport in Miami with her husband waiting for their baggage. Marc had given surprised Krista Marie with tickets for tonight's Billy Joel concert in Miami.

Krista Marie, known as a country music artist, said people are sometimes surprised that she loves Billy Joel but she said if you love music, you love all kinds of music (which comes across in the first episode of The Song with soul singer CeeLo talking about his range of influences that include Iggy Pop and The Clash). That's why she is optimistic The Song will be a hit. It's a show about a love for music that covers every taste and every generation of fandom.

"Today, with music being so accessible, with iTunes, iPhones, and YouTube, I'm finding everything is more accessible. My 12-year-old niece loves 'Piano Man' and 'American Pie' and Rick Springfield. There's more good music, more demos, and more generations, and I think that's great." 

And with a little luck, Oswald said, maybe next season she will get to interview Billy Joel.

Episode 1 of "The Song" airs on WNYO in Buffalo at 10 p.m. Saturday. We've not been able to confirm that time of the show on 13 WHAM.

You can find "The Song" on Social Media: YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and on the Web at thesong.tv.


Submitted photo: Damien Horne, Don McLean, and Krista Marie.


Krista Marie performing with The Farm in 2013 at Frostridge


Krista Marie and her mother, Barb Galliford, at Frostridge in 2013.

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