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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 - 2:45pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in GO ART!, news, arts, entertainment.


County legislators on Wednesday indicated a willingness to sell or lease a small parcel of land next to the Senior Center building on Bank Street, Batavia, to GO ART! for the creation of an art garden.

Gregory Hallock, director of GO ART!, presented the concept at a Ways and Means Committee meeting and the committee unanimously approved a letter of support.

The letter is necessary to help secure a potential grant from the Ralph C. Wilson Jr. Foundation, which provided funds for the Musical Garden that opened this summer in the walkway next to Seymore Place.

Hallock said the art garden will be space for art displays, concerts, classes, flowers, and a place to grow herbs and vegetables for use in the GO ART! kitchen.

He said the garden could also help generate revenue for GO ART! as a place to host weddings and for culinary events as well as concerts.

The small lot in question is already a garden accessible only by the Senior Center that is barely used by the Office for the Aging.

Besides a connection to Seymore Place and the Musical Garden, the art garden would also fit nicely, Hallock said, with the Healthy Living Campus being developed by UMMC and the YMCA.

Hallock said both UMMC and the YMCA have signed off on the project and through discussions, leaders there realized that GO ART! is a natural fit for what they're planning with the Healthy Living Campus so GO ART! will be included more in future planning discussions.

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 21, 2020 - 11:33am
posted by Howard B. Owens in Forum Players, GCC, theater, arts, entertainment, news.


Press release:

The Forum Players, Genesee Community College's Theater Arts students, and members of the local theater community are excited to open the 2020 spring season with "Doubt: A Parable," written by John Patrick Shanley, which won both a Pulitzer Prize and Tony Award in 2005.

This performance is a brilliant and powerful drama that tells the story of Sister Aloysius, a Bronx school principal who takes matters into her own hands when she suspects the young Father Flynn of improper relations with a male student.

Shanley not only wrote the play, but he also wrote the screenplay and directed it as a film starring Meryl Streep and Philip Seymour Hoffman.

GCC's talented Forum Players bring this parable to life with four live performances, directed by Maryanne Arena and Jaime Arena, which are intended for mature audiences (age 16 and up). Performances are in the Stuart Steiner Theatre, 1 College Road, Batavia.

  • Friday, Feb. 21 and Saturday, Feb. 22, both at 7:30 p.m.
  • Sunday, Feb. 23, at 2 p.m.

The cast includes:

  • Lucine Kauffman, of Elba, as Sister Aloysius
  • Sam Rigerman, of Batavia, as Father Flynn
  • Nevaeh Vindigni-Kretchmer, of Rochester, as Sister James (alternating the role)
  • Alyssa Young, of Holley, as Sister James (alternating the role)
  • Francesca Pieter, of Willemstad, Curacao as Mrs. Muller (alternating the role)
  • Caitlynne Tape, of Syracuse, as Mrs. Muller (alternating the role)

The crew includes:

  • Brodie McPherson, of Rochester, as technical director and production designer
  • Emily Grierson, of Perry, as stage manager
  • Tiago Ortega, of Sao Paulo, Brazil, as a backstage assistant
  • Leah Plummer, of Bradford, Pa., as a backstage assistant

Tickets for these shows are available online here. The cost is $8 for adults, and $5 for seniors (55+) and students (16+) and GCC faculty/ staff. GCC students with ID are $3, and GCC alumni with ID will receive a $2 discount on an adult ticket.

To reserve seats, you may also contact the GCC box office at [email protected] or (585) 345-6814. 

Photos by Howard Owens.







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.

December 30, 2019 - 2:01pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in the batavian sessions, music, arts, entertainment, video.
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December 24, 2019 - 3:47pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in the batavian sessions, video, music, arts, entertainment.
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Thank you to Batavia First Presbyterian Church for the use of its sanctuary to record these sessions with James Robert Kibby.

Merry Christmas.

December 14, 2019 - 2:12pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in the batavian sessions, music, arts, entertainment, video.
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December 7, 2019 - 10:17pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in GSO, Genesee Symphony Orchestra, news, music, arts, entertainment.


The Genesee Symphony Orchestra performs its annual holiday concert, "A Nutcracker Holiday," at 4 p.m., Sunday, at Byron-Bergen High School, conducted by S. Shade Zajac.

Performances include "Christmas Concerto" by Corelli, "Sleigh Ride" by Leroy Anderson, "Piano Concerto No. 2" by Saint-Saens (featuring Amy Feng, GSO Young Artist Winner), T"he Nutcracker" by Tchaikovsky, a holiday selection featuring the Pembroke Elementary Chorus, and Christmas Festival by Leroy Anderson.

Tickets are adults $15, senior $10, and students with ID are free.

Byron-Bergen High School is located at 6917 W. Bergen Road, Bergen.









December 5, 2019 - 2:25pm
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November 29, 2019 - 1:28pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in video, the batavian sessions, music, arts, entertainment.
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November 26, 2019 - 10:17am
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Plaza Caribe is an original song by Batavia native Daniel King.

November 23, 2019 - 2:24am
posted by Howard B. Owens in genesee valley wind ensemble, music, arts, entertainment, video.
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Genesee Valley Wind Ensemble will hold its Fall Concert at 4 p.m. on Sunday at the Pembroke High School. It is located at 8750 Alleghany Road, Pembroke.

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.

Admission: $10 -- Adults; $8 -- Seniors (55+) & Veterans; $5 -- Students (with ID); Free -- Children 5 years old & under; $25 -- Family Deal for immediate family and children as defined by mother and/or father and up to four children.

Featured Works

  • "Scootin’ on Hardrock" -- David Holsinger
  • Selections from "The Sound of Music" -- Rodgers & Hammerstein
  • Selections from "American Overture" -- Joseph Willcox Jenkins

Conductor(s): Martin Allen -- Guest Conductor -- Grand Island High School; Philip J. Briatico -- conductor & founder of the GVWE.

November 21, 2019 - 2:47pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Batavia HS, theater, arts, entertainment, news, batavia.


Batavia High School's Production Club this weekend presents "Shrek: The Musical."

Tickets are $10 at the door and $8 for students and seniors. They're available in advance for $9 through showtix4u.com.

Showtimes are Friday and Saturday at 7 p.m. and at 2 p.m. on Sunday.








October 22, 2019 - 10:27am
posted by Howard B. Owens in GO ART!, batavia, video, arts, entertainment.
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On Thursday, at 4 p.m., the new Musical Garden at GO ART! officially opens. The Batavian, along with some Girl Scouts, got a preview on Saturday.

October 19, 2019 - 2:33pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in dylan desmit, music, arts, entertainment, news.


Press release:

Local guitarist/singer Dylan DeSmit will be releasing his new album, "Sittin' by the Fire," on Nov. 8th.

The new album is a follow-up to his 2017 EP, "Pizza for Breakfast."

Recorded over the past year and a half at Watchmen Studios in Lockport, "Sittin' by the Fire" features more of a Southern rock/country rock sound than DeSmit's previous work.

It consists of 12 tracks, including the singles "October" and "Castle." The album will be available on all online streaming platforms, including Spotify, Itunes, and Bandcamp. It will also be available on CD.

One of our previous recordings of The Batavian Sessions with Dylan DeSmit:

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