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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.

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April 9, 2021 - 2:05pm
Video Sponsor

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.

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 6, 2021 - 3:32pm
Video Sponsor

The Batavian Sessions Live: Evan Anstey and James Robert Kibby

You can find their latest release on Amazon, Spotify, Apple Music, and Bandcamp.

February 27, 2021 - 3:35pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in the batavian sessions, music, arts, entertainment, livestream, video.
Video Sponsor

This afternoon, we're featuring WNY musician and songwriter Tom Mullen. He's from Buffalo and his wife is from Le Roy.

Here's some background:

Tom Mullen has been making music for over 30 years. During the 1990s, he was lead singer, guitarist, and principle songwriter for The Skeptics, an alternative power pop band that enjoyed regional acclaim and CMJ charting. Tom has opened shows for national acts The Tubes and 10,000 Maniacs and appeared twice on A.M. Buffalo with The Skeptics, as well as Nickel City Scene. He released his 2nd solo CD, Unfamiliar Ground, in 2018.

Tom’s music has been compared to Elvis Costello, R.E.M., The Wallflowers, and Fountains of Wayne. His influences include Buddy Holly, The Beatles, Elvis Costello, R.E.M., and much more.

Tom's new full-length CD, Into the Twilight, is receiving significant airplay and is climbing the College Radio Charts. He has released a music video for the lead single off the album, “Invisible Hand.”

More information can be found at www.skepticsongs.com.

Tom is originally a native of Buffalo and a graduate of Canisius College. He earned a master’s degree in English from Buffalo State College. He lives with his family in Western New York.

December 16, 2020 - 8:37pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in OHMS Band, Christmas, arts, entertainment.

The OHMS Band recorded The Band's Christmas Must Be Tonight and asked us to post it for you.

December 7, 2020 - 12:32pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in justin williams, Le Roy, music, arts, entertainment.

Le Roy musician Justin Williams has been spending his free pandemic time writing and recording new material. Here's his latest release, "Back in a Hard Place."

November 25, 2020 - 9:34pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, Upton Monument, news, video, music, arts, entertainment.
Video Sponsor

Two days ago, I happened across Dan Sprague jamming on a little death metal on his way to band practice. Sprague said he's a member of three bands, including the folk-rock band he was practicing with that day.

November 14, 2020 - 5:52pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in music, batavia, arts, entertainment.

This is "So Beautifully" written by John Del Plato and recently recorded by Sage Melcher and The Laura Dubin Trio of Rochester. Carmen Del Plato said The Laura Dubin Trio is a regular performer regularly performs at the Rochester International Jazz Festival.

September 13, 2020 - 3:12pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in elba, news, Elba Betterment Committee, music, arts, entertainment.

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The Old Hippies and What About Jane teamed up Saturday for an evening of memorable music as part of a summer concert series sponsored by the Elba Betterment Committee in the Elba Village Park.

Food venders included Dubby's Wood Fired Pizza (pictured below), Los Compadres, Lori's Delectable Edibles (desserts), and Bubble Tea.

The final concert of the season will be Wednesday featuring the Corfu Pembroke Community Band in an All-American-themed evening that will include the Betterment Committee hot dogs and hamburgs and serving Mom's apple pie. And, of course, there will be ice cream. Showtime is 7 p.m.

Photos by Kelly Dudley. 

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August 29, 2020 - 2:55pm
posted by Billie Owens in news, entertainment, Goldenrod, BHS, acting, Film, batavia.

Batavia High School Class of 2007 graduate James Lullo is living in L.A. these days, developing his entertainment and marketing career, via his company Beauty View Ranch.

He's producing a short film that begins production in late September and is seeking young local acting talent of any experience, specifically children.

The graduate of SUNY Brockport (Class of 2011) contacted The Batavian about a planned Buffalo casting call, date/time to be announced, for "Goldenrod." The plot was not revealed.

The production of the short film is a family affair in that his mother, Cecelia Lullo, is the Costume Designer, and his sister, Michal Lullo, currently a junior at Ithaca College, works as a Production Assistant. His cousin, Jonathon Lullo, has been "an invaluable consultant to the project," as he works in Hollywood at a development studio.

In addition, his brother, Joseph Lullo, also lives in Los Angeles and is on the crew as Transportation Supervisor. His father's insurance company, Marathon, is exploring the financing and insurance carrier sides of film production, and hopes to have a slate of products available this fall for locals as well as visiting productions.

Two other Brockport alums are also working on the film, Paul Overacker and Keenan Miller, and a fourth Brockport grad has graciously donated some film equipment, Kelvon Agee. Overacker has worked on the "Dr. Phil" show "foreeeeever," and Agee is a multi-Emmy winning cinematographer on the show "Deadliest Catch," among many others.

"There's a whole host of Batavians, WNYers, and local college graduates making big things happen in Hollywood," James Lullo says. "Another family with strong Batavia ties are the Beers. Tim Beers Jr. has been an invaluable asset to me here in Hollywood, and helped me gain some of my strongest experience to date."

Former BHS Basketball star Michael Chmielewicz has been spotted out there, too, working in the film industry!

So, if you're interested in acting in "Goldenrod," which is directed by Marjorie DeHey, here's more information about who they are looking for:

  • Currently not a Screen Actors Guild production, but SAG members are encouraged to submit;
  • Real family members and siblings are encouraged to submit;
  • Black female lead, age 9 to 13 (playing age 9);
  • Caucasian female lead, age 9 to 13 (playing age 9);
  • Caucasian female lead, age 30;
  • Caucasion male lead, age 30;
  • Black supporting actor, age 30, male or female;
  • Caucasian female supporting actor, age 13 to 17.

Send headshot, reel, résumé to:

[email protected]

July 25, 2020 - 2:09pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Dave's Ice Cream, news, video, batavia, music, arts, entertainment.
Video Sponsor

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.

July 21, 2020 - 2:57pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in music, arts, entertainment, news, Le Roy.

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.

Since we are currently not in ordinary times, you can find Justin and Laura Williams performing on Tuesday evenings at 7 on the Justin Williams and Forward Progress Facebook page.

July 12, 2020 - 10:45pm
posted by Pauline Miano in music, food, entertainment, family.
Event Date and Time: 
August 31, 2020 - 7:00pm to 8:30pm
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  
July 7, 2020 - 6:05pm
posted by Billie Owens in music, news, batavia, entertainment, DSP Jazz Trio, T.F. Brown's.

From DSP Jazz Trio:

DSP Jazz Trio is returning to T.F. Brown's Restaurant on Thursday, July 16.

They will perform from 5-8 p.m. outside on the patio. No standing room. Reservations are highly recommended.

Call T.F. Brown's at (585) 343-1547.

Come as a group if possible. Ask when calling about table size.

Mask required at all times unless seated at your table.

Hope to see you there!

If all works out OK, we hope to get back on our regular third-Thursday-of-each-month schedule.

June 26, 2020 - 1:01pm

Press release:

Darien Center -- In anticipation of safely reopening at the appropriately deemed time, and following the direction outlined by civic leaders, State Officials, health professionals, epidemiologists, and industry experts around the world, Six Flags Darien Lake, the Thrill Capital of New York, is currently seeking qualified individuals to fill more than 1,000 positions in various departments as it prepares to reopen for the 2020 season.

An official reopening date for Six Flags Darien Lake is to be determined.

Six Flags Darien Lake has established cleanliness, health, and safety standards that meet federal, state, and local guidelines.

“We have taken necessary precautions to ensure everyone who comes to work this season can feel safe while providing the thrills and joy families have come to love here at the park,” said Park President Chris Thorpe. “We have made many changes to our operation to reduce touch points, ensure social distancing and reduce risk of contamination or transmission.”  

Team Member Care & Health Screenings

  • Each employee will receive a health screening before entering the park, including temperature checks and individuals will be asked if they are healthy and will be required to acknowledge the company’s health policies;
  • Frontline team members will go through extensive COVID-19 training;
  • All employees will be issued Team Member Action Packs which will include: a safety face mask, safety glasses, and disposable gloves;
  • Regular cleaning and wiping down of team members workspaces.

The above procedures will be constantly evaluated to ensure compliance with state recommendations.

The park will be conducting virtual interviews with qualified candidates. You must be at least 14 years old to apply.

Candidates can apply online at sixflagsjobs.com to schedule an interview.

Available positions include:

  • Admissions & Guest Relations
  • Food Services
  • Ride Operators
  • Human Resources
  • Park Services
  • Games
  • Retail
  • Marketing & Sales
  • Accommodations/Lodging
  • Lifeguards
  • Emergency Medical Technicians (EMT)
  • Maintenance
  • Security
  • Warehouse
  • Cash Control

One of the largest employers in Western New York, Six Flags Darien Lake offers competitive pay, free admission with your employee ID, free tickets for friends and family and more

About Six Flags Darien Lake

Six Flags Darien Lake’s wide variety of entertainment and top-notch thrill rides has made it the Coaster Capital of New York since 1964. Located 45 minutes from Niagara Falls between Buffalo and Rochester, today the park boasts more than 50 rides, including seven world-class roller coasters, dozens of family rides, the region’s largest water park and a 20,000-seat amphitheater operated by Live Nation.

About Six Flags Entertainment Corporation

Six Flags Entertainment Corporation is the world’s largest regional theme park company and the largest operator of waterparks in North America, with 26 parks across the United States, Mexico and Canada. For 58 years, Six Flags has entertained millions of families with world-class coasters, themed rides, thrilling waterparks and unique attractions. For more information, visit www.sixflags.com.

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