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July 11, 2021 - 4:44pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in elba, video, music, arts, entertainment.
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July 8, 2021 - 1:19pm

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Glenn Adams shared these photos of yesterday's concert in Centennial Park by the Batavia Concert Band.

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July 4, 2021 - 1:51pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in KISS THIS, arts, music, entertainment, The Ridge NY, Le Roy, video.
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June 14, 2021 - 4:49pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in stumblin' inn, arts, entertainment, music, elba, news, notify.

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Jim Goff, an icon of the local music scene for decades, passed away this weekend, according to an announcement by his family on The Stumblin' Inn's Facebook page.

Goff and his brother Stephen "Stork" Goff owned and operated the famous bar and music venue for nearly four decades, until a fire destroyed the 150-year-old building in Elba in July 2018.

Stork passed away in March.

An obituary about Jim Goff is not yet available.

According to his family's statement, Goff succumbed to cancer.

It reads, in part, "The Goff family has suffered so much loss this year but this one is the hardest to swallow. My dad was so incredibly kind, caring, compassionate, and selfless. He supported so many local bands and charities, he brought together so many friends and families, creating unforgettable memories for all of us."

Photos: File photos from a 2018 benefit for the Goffs

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June 12, 2021 - 9:14am
posted by Howard B. Owens in almost queen, Batavia Downs, music, arts, entertainment, news.

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The Rockin' The Downs concert series opened Friday evening with a performance by the Queen tribute band, Almost Queen.

Photos by Philip Casper.

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June 11, 2021 - 2:53pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Claudia Hoyser, music, arts, entertainment, batavia, news.

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Claudia Hoyser is a country music social media sensation whose career just keeps expanding.

Besides entertaining 354,000 followers on Facebook with weekly music videos along with 13,000 followers on YouTube, Hoyser has her own line of coffee being sold at Tops along with other retail outlets around the nation and now her name is on a new whiskey-coffee blend.

On June 25 she headlines a concert at The Ridge NY in Le Roy, which will also be a release party for her debut album (it's also her birthday).

The Rochester-based singer and songwriter said the endorsement deals for the coffee and whiskey are a one-thing-leads-to-another tale that involves fans loving her music and bringing her ideas.

"So the story of the coffee whiskey goes that we've been creating these videos every week and on Monday we put them out on Facebook, a classic country cover," she said. In the videos, we put a little vintage espresso pot in all of them. Coffee has always been one of my things. It's always been one of my manager's things. We never start the day without it at the studio. The videos went viral. We've had over 120 million views on the video series on my Facebook page."

At a show in Rochester, Hoyser could see her manager, Tony Gross, and the bar owner, Bucky Montrois, in the back of the room with their heads together like they were planning something. Hoyser said she was so curious about what they were scheming, it was hard to concentrate on the words of her songs. After the show, Montrois told her besides the bar, he owned a coffee business.

He asked if Hoyser would like her own brand of coffee.

"The next week he came out to the studio with beans from all over the world and we taste-tested different blends of different roasts," Hoyser said. "We came out with this for the country coffee, which I thought was going to be a short-lived product, you know, for the merch table. But it just went crazy and started shipping into 15 countries and selling Tops Markets took it in 120 Tops stores and a whole bunch of local retailers. Now it's on Amazon now and everything. So people just love the coffee."

That includes a couple of Hoyser's fans in Idaho who own a distillery. They suggested the whiskey-coffee blend.

Hoyser was at Mr. Wine and Liquor on Thursday to promote Hoyser Country Drunken Bean Classic Coffee Whiskey.  

"It has just taken off (since its release) four weeks ago," Hoyser said. "It's already in 125 retail locations and we've been out doing some sampling. These things are going really well. It's been fun."

For more about Claudia Hoyser, click here. For tickets to the concert at The Ridge, click here.

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Hoyser at Mr. Wine and Liquor with Batavia resident Sally Bleier.

The video for Hoyser's first single off her new album, "Wicked."

April 28, 2021 - 3:29pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in poetry, GO ART!, video, arts, entertainment.
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Gregory Hallock, executive director of GO ART!, reads poems by Annette Daniels Taylor for National Poetry Month.

April 25, 2021 - 3:27pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Chris Jacobs, NY-27, news, batavia, GO ART!, arts, notify.

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Press release:

Congressman Chris Jacobs (NY-27) honored student artists and announced the winners of the NY-27 Congressional Art Competition at a reception this morning in Batavia.

“Students from around the district submitted pieces of artwork for this competition; we clearly have some incredibly talented young adults in Western New York,” Jacobs said.

“I want to thank all of our teachers and parents who helped our participants create and submit their work, and most importantly, I want to congratulate all of our contestants for their hard work, dedication, and impressive pieces. I look forward to this becoming a tradition we celebrate every year.”

The Congressional Art Competition was first created under a different name in 1982 and is sponsored by the Congressional Institute. In NY-27, three winners were selected, their pieces will be displayed as follows:

  • The First Place piece will be hung in the U.S. Capitol for all representatives and staff, and the winner will also be flown down to Washington, D.C.
  • The Second Place piece will be hung in Rep. Jacobs’ Washington, D.C., Office.
  • The Third Place piece will be hung in Rep. Jacobs’ Clarence District Office.

Pieces are judged and given their awards by an independent panel of judges. The winners for the 2021 NY-27 Congressional Art Competition are:

  • First Place: "A New Chapter" by Isabella Houseknecht from Batavia (colored pencil).
  • Second Place: Self Portrait by Molly Regan from Holland (charcoal).
  • Third Place: "Creation of Bee-dam" by Madison Dugan from Albion (acrylic paint).
  • Honorable Mention: Self-Portrait by Amaya Cleveland from Medina (handpainted negative-digitalized and painted on photo paper).

“Congratulations to our winners. I look forward to hanging these pieces in each of my offices and having a constant reminder of the exceptional talent in our district,” Jacobs said.

Photos by Howard Owens.

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Molly Regan, second place, with Jacobs. First-place winner Isabella Houseknecht and her family were unable to attend the event.

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Isabella Houseknecht's first-place drawing.

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Second Place

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Third Place

April 23, 2021 - 5:56pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in poetry, video, arts, entertainment.
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Batavia resident Dan Crofts reading "The Dark Night" by John of the Cross for National Poetry Month.

April 20, 2021 - 10:57am
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S. Shade Zajac, conductor and musical director for the Genesee Symphony Orchestra, reading "Power" by Jim Morrison for National Poetry Month.

April 16, 2021 - 4:06pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Batavia HS, batavia, arts, entertainment, news.

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Batavia High School's Production Club presents the musical comedy "Sister Act" this Saturday, April 17, in both a limited in-performance and an on-demand video, which will be available April 24.

For this Saturday's live performance, each member of the production is allowed to distribute only two tickets due to COVID-19 restrictions. The performance will be recorded and available for a limited time starting a week from tomorrow.

The stage production is based on the 1992 movie with original music by Tony- and eight-time Oscar winner, Alan Menken. The musical was nominated for five Tony Awards.

To purchase tickets for the recorded performance, click here.

Photos by Howard Owens, except full cast photo at bottom, by Steve Ognibene.

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April 16, 2021 - 3:08pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Yngodess Shop, news, Batavia Players, arts, entertainment.

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Jilian Helwig won a large, wine-filled gift basket in a drawing yesterday in a drawing at The YNGodess Shop as a fundraiser for Batavia Players, which is moving its theater on Harvester Avenue to a Main Street location in City Centre in Downtown Batavia.

YNGodess owner Chris Crocker drew the winning ticket.

The raffle raised $5,800 for Batavia Players.

April 14, 2021 - 6:21pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in poetry, arts, entertainment, video.
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For National Poetry Month, David Reilly reads "Nostalgia" by Billy Collins.

April 13, 2021 - 3:37pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Dianna Spiotta, music, arts, entertainment, batavia, news.

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Batavia native Deanna Spiotta moved to Nashville, Tenn., in 2013 to try and make it as a recording artist but found, she said, that she was unprepared for the music business and felt alone in trying to navigate it.

But that experience didn't diminish her drive nor dampen the dream of making music her career.

She returned to Western New York in 2015 and started renewing and building connections locally and as a result, this week released her first EP, "The In Between," a collection of six songs she wrote and arranged.

It was produced by Dave Drago in Macedon. Spiotta sings and plays guitar and piano on the tracks. She is joined by Drago on bass, electric guitar, and backing vocals, Alex Northup on keyboards, and Javi Torres on drums.

"It is my hope to share this music with our community and that it will resonate with people and help them feel through difficult emotions," Spiotta said.

This is Spiotta's debut release. She said it was tough making connections in Nashville without any professional recordings under her belt. She hopes the EP is a step toward realizing her dream of writing and performing music for a living.

Her influences include, she said, The Beatles, Shawn Colvin, Miranda Lambert, and Leslie Odom Jr.

She provided a Spotify link to music that inspired and influenced her.

"I'm also inspired by Motown, which makes sense as The Beatles and Shawn Colvin were heavily influenced by Motown artists and Black artists who founded rock 'n' roll and country music," she said.

"Miranda Lambert was very influential to me at the beginning of my career about 10 years ago, and now I find myself growing from her style to create my own. Leslie Odom Jr.'s album, Mr, serves as a big inspiration to me.

"Our sounds don't sound anything alike, but I love that he fuses many different styles, genres and sounds to make something unique. I find it fascinating to fuse all of the musical experiences in my life into my own unique sound."

Her EP is available on Apple Music, Spotify, and her own website, DeannaSpiotta.com.

Photos by Taylor Rambo Photography. All rights reserved. Used with permission of Deanna Spiotta.

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April 9, 2021 - 2:05pm
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For National Poetry Month, we asked several local school superintendents to read a poem for us. The first submission comes from Matthew Calderon, superintendent of Pembroke Central schools. He's reading "Sick" by Shel Silverstein.

April 8, 2021 - 2:45pm

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The Batavia Society of Artists held its first -- and they hope it will become an annual event -- Tabletop People's Choice Awards at Eli Fish Brewing Co. in March.  

More than 400 people voted.

The winners and prizes: 

  • 1st Place $100:  Joan D'Alba
  • 2nd Place $50:  Bethany Zimmerman
  • 3rd Place $25:  Brian Kemp

Photos of winning pictures posted in order. Submitted photos.

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March 25, 2021 - 10:11am
posted by Press Release in oakfield-alabama, musical, arts, entertainment, news.

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Press release:

As with all things this year, everything is different because of COVID-19. Some activities cannot currently run and those that can happen look much different than in past years.

Although many aspects of a live stage performance had to be adjusted, we were very excited to still be able to provide this opportunity for our students. In an attempt to remain as healthy and safe as possible, while also following the regulations, we were able to get our students on stage (and on screen) using masks and as much social distancing as possible while interacting with each other.

We, unfortunately, had to make decisions to have a smaller cast, have our ensemble prerecorded, and scale down much of our sets and props to less than normal. However, it allowed our actors and actresses to focus more on their emotions and character portrayal in order to bring this touching musical to both our live audience and our supporters online.

It has been amazing to work with our students this year – to see their passion and joy, to take them beyond what they thought was possible, and to have them shine on stage. It is truly wonderful to still be able to create opportunities and live performances with our talented students.

Our cast and crew put on three amazing performances. And although most of the general public could not attend the performances in person, there is still an opportunity to catch these outstanding performers.

The performance has been uploaded online and is available to watch through April 18th. You can purchase access to the performance by going to www.OACSDramaClub.weebly.com and following the link on our homepage. From there you can either purchase single viewer access for $10 or access for the entire household for $25.

All money helps to offset the cost of rentals and royalties for producing the musical. You can purchase the access at any time before April 18th, an email link will be sent to you, and once you hit play you will have 48 hours to view the entire performance before your access runs out. Please sit back and enjoy the show from the comfort of your home.

Photos by Kristin Smith. For more, click here.

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March 23, 2021 - 12:02pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Le Roy, arts, entertainment, schools, education, covid-19, coronavirus, news.

Pandemic restrictions won't disrupt one of the most important traditions at Le Roy High School: the annual musical.

This year, music and drama students at Le Roy are presenting a virtual performance of "The Theory of Relativity" by Neil Bartram and Brian Hill.

Streaming tickets are available at leroycsd.org with performances at 7 p.m., April 8, 9 and 10.

The video above explains how the students brought the production together and the new technology skills they learned in the process.

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March 9, 2021 - 6:41pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Batavia Downs, arts, music, news, video.
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Press release:

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

Kicking off the series on Friday, June 25th is former Journey frontman Steve Augeri. Steve returns after playing one of the most enjoyable concerts from 2019’s series. The lead vocalist for the rock group from 1998-2006, Steve 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."

Next up, on Friday, July 2nd, Batavia Downs welcomes Southern Rock legends 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.

Friday, July 9th 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, Don has helped write and perform many iconic classics. His 2008 memoir was a New York Times bestseller. Don 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."

Performing on Friday, July 16th is Tommy James and the Shondells. Hailing from Niles, Mich., Tommy rose to stardom after his song "Hanky Panky" went to #1 in Pittsburgh. Other hits in his catalog include "I Think We’re Alone Now," "Mony Mony," "Crimson and Clover," "Sweet Cherry Wine" and "Crystal Blue Persuasion."

Rocking the stage on Friday, July 23rd is Heavy Metal Rockers 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," "18 And Life," and many more.

Legendary Rock Band The Sweet performs on Friday, July 30th. Hailing from London, the band has sold more than 35 million albums worldwide since forming in 1968. Original member Andy Scott handles lead vocals on such hits as "Little Willy," "Ballroom Blitz," "Fox On The Run" and "Love Is Like Oxygen."

America’s top Pink Floyd Show, The Machine hits the stage on Friday, Aug. 6th. Over 30 years they have extended the legacy of Pink Floyd while creating another legacy all their own. Over the years, The Machine has touched the hearts and souls of many with its stellar musicianship, dramatic lighting, and video performances.

Closing out the series on Friday, Aug. 13th is rock band Queensrÿche. With more than 30 million albums sold worldwide, Queensrÿche continues to tour the globe to sold-out audiences. The band has earned multiple Grammy Award nominations and won the MTV “viewer’s choice” award for the #1 chart-topping hit "Silent Lucidity." Even with 11 gold and platinum plaques and several Top 10 hard rock anthems under their belt, Queensrÿche consistently delivers high-octane live shows combining the hungry fire of a new band with the tempered experience of master showmen. 

Tickets for all eight concerts will be available at www.BataviaConcerts.com beginning sometime in late March or April. Tickets will also be available for purchase at Batavia Downs Gaming & Hotel at the Lucky Treasures Gift Shop located in the lobby. 

“Preliminarily we’ll be looking to have a “POD” setup, which has been utilized in many other locations. It allows patrons to be with those in their circle and socially distanced from other concertgoers," said Henry Wojtaszek, president and CEO of Batavia Downs Gaming & Hotel.

“If restrictions are lifted, then we will adapt as necessary with our concert setup. Tickets will go on sale once we have more guidance from the state about how we can safely conduct these events.”

Debuting this year will be a chair rental option. There will be 500 chairs available for rental for $5 each. All net proceeds for chair rental will benefit Make-A-Wish Western New York. Volunteers from Make-A-Wish will also be distributing foam drink holders in return for a donation.

“We are eager to welcome music lovers back to the facility,” said Ryan Hasenauer, director of Marketing for Batavia Downs Gaming & Hotel. “We’re looking forward to bringing musical icons back to Batavia Downs for all to enjoy.

"After not having shows last summer, we’re excited to finally launch our partnership with Make-A-Wish Western New York to help raise funds to help them transform lives.”

Other concerts will also be announced outside of the Fridays mentioned above. Ticket prices will vary based on concert and capacity. 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.

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