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August 8, 2018 - 1:23pm

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International superstar band Chicago headlined last evening at Darien Lake Performing Arts Center.

Chicago, which started in the city of the same name in 1967, initially as Chicago Transit Authority, is one of the longest-running and most successful rock groups ever, and one of the world's best-selling groups of all time, with more than 100 million records sold.

Chicago started their set with "Make Me Smile."

REO Speedwagon -- fellow Illinoisans, out of the City of Champaign 135 miles south of "Chi-Town" -- opened the show with "Don't Let Him Go." (The group's biggest selling album was 1980's "Hi Infidelity," with four Top 10 hits and more than 10 million albums sold.)

The enthusiastic crowd was rockin' to classic songs and the bands jammed for hours. 

Next concert at Darien will be Jason Aldean this Friday at 7 p.m.

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REO Speedwagon photos below

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August 4, 2018 - 1:49pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Blackjack Billy, the ridge, Frost Ridge, music, arts, entertainment, news.

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Nashville-based Blackjack Billy made its third appearance in five years at The Ridge in Le Roy, waiting out the rain with their fans and then rewarding them with another rockin' show.

The band's new single is "Straight Line Sober" (video embedded below).

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August 4, 2018 - 8:45am

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Three Dog Night packed Batavia Downs' summer concert series last evening in front of a few thousand people. The band formed in L.A. in  1968 and scored a succession of 21 hit singles, including 11 Top Tens, and 12 consecutive gold albums from 1969 to 1975.

Batavia fans were dancing and grooving to the band's multiple favorite tunes, crowd-pleasers that entertained at the most packed concert yet of this summer series.

(The band's name comes from an Australian expression describing low nocturnal temperatures in the Outback (the colder the night, the more dogs needed to keep warm while sleeping.))

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August 3, 2018 - 12:50pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in GO ART!, thebatavian, wbta, news, arts, entertainment.

Tomorrow starting at 6 p.m. the place to be is GO ART!, 201 E. Main St., Batavia, where the night's guest bartenders will be Howard Owens of The Batavian and Chris Kalin of WBTA.

Billed as a competition, our goal is to raise as much money as possible for local arts, so come, be merry, enjoy a few drinks, leave tips on the bar.

August 1, 2018 - 3:15pm
posted by Billie Owens in news, Batavia Downs, concerts, batavia, music, entertainment.

Press release:

Batavia Downs Gaming & Hotel has announced the lineup for their fall and winter tribute shows, with one concert each month featuring music from great artists.

The Paddock Room will play host to Abbamania – A tribute to Abba, based out of Toronto, Ontario, Canada.  The cast looks and sounds like the famous Swedish rock group and will roll through all your favorites on Saturday, Sept. 8th.

Saturday, Oct. 6th is the date for American Graffiti starring Johnny Gems and the Red Hot Bananas. These artists have collectively been performing for 30 years.  The show brings back every major hit from every major artist, from 1955 to 1965.  You’ll hear hits by Elvis, Chuck Berry, Little Richard, Jerry Lee Lewis, Fats Domino, Bo Diddley and Bill Haley and the Comets! Into the 1960s with The Beatles, The Beach Boys, The Four Seasons, Roy Orbison, Del Shannon and a highlight to Danny and the Juniors with “At the Hop” and “Rock and Roll is Here to Stay”!

Next up, on Saturday, Nov. 17th, Batavia Downs welcomes Walk the Line – A Tribute to Johnny Cash.  With Gavan Rosseau playing the part of “The Man in Black” with a four-piece backing band, this tribute show showcases Rosseau’s ability to emulate the voice, look and mannerisms of the late singer. Songs performed include the Sun Record days all the way to those from the 1970s.

Blame it all on Their Roots –  Garth Brooks and Shania Twain Tribute takes the stage on Saturday, Dec. 15th. This high energy show performs all this hits of the two country headliners whose records have sold more than 230 million albums worldwide.

Each concert will take place on a Saturday immediately following live racing. General admission tickets are $10 and are on sale now at www.BataviaConcerts.com for each show.

Each concert begins at 8:30 p.m. with doors at 8 p.m. Each ticket is redeemable on the gaming floor the day of the concert or the next day for $10 in Free Play. Tickets can also be purchased in-person at Batavia Downs Gaming & Hotel at their “Lucky Treasures” Gift Shop located in the lobby.

“We are looking forward to these indoor tribute shows,” said Henry Wojtaszek, CEO/president at Batavia Downs Gaming. “Building on the success of our summer concert series, we’re happy to keep General Admission ticket prices at a reasonable $10 to make sure everyone can enjoy these great tribute shows.”

About Batavia Downs/WROTB

Owned and operated by 15 Western New York counties and the cities of Rochester and Buffalo, Western Region Off-Track Betting Corporation is a public benefit corporation with headquarters in Batavia, NY. WROTB owns and operates 29 branches, as well as Batavia Downs Gaming, a standard bred racetrack and gaming facility. Since its inception, Western Region OTB has generated over $215 million in operating and surcharge revenues to the taxpayers of those participating municipalities.

July 27, 2018 - 11:50pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in stumblin' inn, elba, news, music, arts, entertainment, notify.

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Jim Goff never knew. For decades the Stumblin' Inn in Elba was a haven for local musicians. He knew he was having fun. He didn't know what it meant to the musicians he nurtured and the community that followed them.

Now he knows.

A fire destroyed the storied watering hole the second Sunday of the July, despite a valiant effort by the Elba Volunteer Fire Department and their mutual aid companies to save the 143-year-old building. Jim and his brother Steve, or Stork to everybody who knew him, were asleep upstairs when the alarm went out. They were alerted in time to make a safe escape.

They found themselves on the sidewalks of their small village surrounded by friends and neighbors sharing their tears.

"I never knew until this happened how much it meant to the community," Goff said shortly after arriving Thursday at an open mic night in a park across the street, next to the Elba Fire Hall.

More than 150 local musicians and music fans had gathered for what is likely the last open mic night for the Stumblin' Inn, a Thursday night tradition for years.

"Musicians have always been my people," Goff said. "That’s who I relate to, that’s who I feel comfortable around. We started an open mic in the 1980s and did it off and on. Musicians just liked to hang out there. It felt like home to everyone. We had a lot of bands who called that place home."

Standing next to Goff was local musician Doug Barnard. He said Barnard and his band Southbound were responsible for helping Goff recognize the value of local bands to his bar business.

"They said 'Give us a chance,' " Goff said. " 'We guarantee we'll pack this place.' They told me that about three times so I gave them a chance. They packed the place for five years. I realized maybe this local band thing is a pretty cool thing to embrace."

It all worked, Goff said, because he and his brother kept their priorities straight.

"It’s all about having fun," Goff said. "If you’re having fun, you’re going to make money. Money and fun, it all goes together."

As for the future, that's still a blank slate.

"All the experts say you don’t make big decisions right away," Goff said. "You let things sink in. There’s certainly some pressure to rebuild. Age is definitely a factor. We honestly don’t know. I would say we’re leaning toward probably not, but who knows? I’m not going to say no because I don’t know. I honestly don’t know."

Top photo: Goff as he arrived at Thursday's open mic night, hugging local musician Dylan Desmit, who helped organize the fundraiser for the Goffs with co-host Paul Draper.

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July 26, 2018 - 8:00am
posted by Howard B. Owens in stumblin' inn, elba, music, entertainment, news, notify.

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The great thing about the Stumblin' Inn is that owners Steve and Jim Goff give every musician who walked through the door and had the courage to ask for a spot on the stage a chance to perform.

They did it for Dylan Desmit when he was first starting his music career.

"The first time we were here, my keyboard player put my amp through the window," Desmit said. "I was mortified. I thought for sure we would never play here again but Jim just kind of laughed it off. We’ve been playing here ever since and it just felt like a second home."

Desmit lost count of how many times he played the Stumblin', whether with one of his bands for an acoustic open mic night.

So many musicians have benefited from the largess of the Goffs that many of them are coming together for one more Thursday open mic nite in Elba where they will play music and pass the hat to raise money to assist Steve and Jim, who lost not just their business but their homes in a fire July 8.

Desmit and Paul Draper (who had last-minute work commitments that kept him from participating in the photo above) organized the event for tonight, starting at 8 p.m. in front of Chap's Elba Diner, and Desmit said the outpouring of musicians wanting to help Steve and Jim has been substantial.

The Stumblin' Inn was the place in the area for local musicians to congregate and get a chance to be heard and those musicians want to repay the favor.

"I saw someone compared it to the Penny Arcade in Rochester and that’s pretty much, yeah, every local band, ever, played here," Desmit said. "There’s so many musicians, and judging by the reaction on Facebook for the benefit, there are so many people devastated by losing it."

July 20, 2018 - 6:21pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in fair, music, arts, entertainment, news, DriVen.

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DriVen -- a power trio comprised of Dylan Desmit on guitar, Mike "Thunder" Warran on base, and Alex Desmit on drums -- beat out Invictra to win the 2018 Genesee County Fair Battle of the Bands.

I first saw Dylan Desmit play a few years ago and he was a good, young guitarist. He's become a great guitarist.

As the winner, DriVen is tonight's entertainment at the fair. They are scheduled to play from 7 to 11 p.m.

It's also Demolition Derby night and there will also be barrel racing at 8 p.m.

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July 9, 2018 - 12:21pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in music, entertainment, news, Batavia Downs.

Press release:

After a 15-year hiatus pop rock group Seven Day Faith, featuring their original lineup of Rob Ferenc, John Rosini, Kevin Ernst and Rob Bilson, will reunite for a one-night-only concert experience.

Taking place on Saturday, Sept. 15th, the four original members will perform such hits as “Everything,” “Ready To Go” and “Forever and a Day” on stage together for the first time in more than 15 years.

“We are looking forward to hosting Seven Day Faith’s reunion show,” said Henry Wojtaszek, CEO/president at Batavia Downs Gaming. “These talented musicians have entertained thousands of Western New Yorkers and we’re excited to welcome their fans to experience what’s sure to be a great night of music.”

“The four of us John, Kevin, Rob Ferenc and Myself, we have not been on stage together for over 15 years. I am looking forward to performing our songs and reliving those years of making great music and traveling together. This is sure to be a magic evening," said Rob Bilson, lead singer of Seven Day Faith.

“The time is right, it has been this is the 15th Anniversary of our second release "Somebody Save Me." That record gave us arguably our biggest single in “Forever and A Day” which was a top 5 hit on the Kiss 98.5 charts. It will be an amazing night revisiting this record as well as the wonderful music from our debut release “Life Says We Think Too Much.”

Tickets go on sale tomorrow, July 10th, at 10 a.m. on bataviaconcerts.com. On concert day, doors open at 7 p.m., with live music starting at 8. Tickets are just $7. Each concert ticket is also redeemable at Player’s Club that night for $7 in Free Play to be used on one of Batavia Downs Gaming’s 800+ gaming machines.

About Batavia Downs/WROTB

Owned and operated by 15 Western New York counties and the cities of Rochester and Buffalo, Western Region Off-Track Betting Corporation is a public benefit corporation with headquarters in Batavia. WROTB owns and operates 17 branches, as well as Batavia Downs Gaming, a standard bred racetrack and gaming facility. Since its inception, Western Region OTB has generated more than $215 million in operating and surcharge revenues to the taxpayers of those participating municipalities.

About Seven Day Faith

Founded in 1996 by Western New York musicians Rob Ferenc, John Rosini, Kevin Ernst and Rob Bilson, Seven Day Faith’s musical and lyrical talents helped them earn the distinction of the Top Original Rock Group at the 2002 Buffalo Music Awards, with Rob Bilson winning the Top Original Male Vocalist award at the 2003 Buffalo Music Awards.

They claimed the number one spot in Billboard magazine’s Independent music Charts in 2004 and have gone on to open for national acts such as John Entwhistle, Pat Benetar, Michele Branch, Simple Plan, Switchfoot, Gavin Degraw, Avril Lavigne, Shaggy, LLCool J, Vanessa Carlton, JC Chasez, Papa Roach, Fuel and Our Lady Peace.

July 8, 2018 - 6:46pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in ramble music & art fest, Ramble, batavia, downtown, news, music, entertainment.

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Once again, lots of music fans, lots of musicians, lots of music, and lots of fun at the Ramble Music and Arts Festival in Jackson Square and on Center Street, Batavia.

The bands performing during our visit to the festival yesterday were Lonesome Road, Sierra, Noah's Reign, Rock Soulgers, and The Bluesway Band.

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July 4, 2018 - 1:48pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Batavia Ramble, batavia, news, music, entertainment, arts.

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Photo: Paul Draper and Stephen Kowalcyk, co-directors of the 2018 Batavia Ramble Music and Arts Festival.

Press release:

The 2018 Batavia Ramble Music & Arts Festival will be held on Saturday, July 7th, from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. This year we will have two main stages that will feature live performances from 34 local bands & artists.

The "Eli Fish" stage will be located in Jackson Square and the "Center Street" stage will be located in the parking lot across from Center Street Smoke House.

Along with musical performances, we will also have local artists, craft vendors and food trucks lined up all along Center Street.

As always, The Batavia Ramble is free to the public so bring a chair and a few friends and come and check out the biggest show in Batavia! For additional information, please email Paul Draper III at [email protected]

The 2018 music lineup:

 Eli Fish Stage:

  • Ghost Riders
  • Me & Red
  • Koko & The Moon Crickets
  • Justin Williams Band
  • Shotgun Pauly
  • Trolls 2.0
  • Genesee Ted
  • Driven
  • Zero
  • Old Hippies
  • Sierra
  • Noahs Reign
  • Bluesway Band
  • Warren Skye & Friends
  • Eagle Creek
  • Justin Crossett Band
  • Audibull

Center Street Stage:

  • J. Hopkins
  • Grizzwoode
  • PD3
  • Dave Holnbeck
  • Steve Kruppner
  • Kruppner Brothers
  • Jenny & Michelle
  • Beethovan's Dream Group Again
  • The Live Bait Band
  • The Pedestrians
  • Lonesome Road
  • Rock Soulgers
  • Gretchen & The Girls
  • Blues Daddios
  • Mercury Express
  • Conspiracy Theory
  • We are Groot
June 29, 2018 - 10:41am

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Grammy-Award-winning artist Chris Stapleton headlined Darien Lake performing arts center last evening (June 28) in Darien.

The Southern rock-country guitarist opened with "Midnight Train to Memphis," which he first recorded when he was the frontman of The Steelriders" in the late 2000s.

Stapleton has won several country music awards including Album of the Year, Male Vocalist of the Year and New Artist of the Year.

Brent Cobb, and Marty Stuart and his Fabulous Superlatives opened for Stapleton.

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Marty Stuart and his Fabulous Superlatives

June 27, 2018 - 4:08pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Geezer Radio, WGCC, music, arts, entertainment.

Richard Beatty, the host of "Geezer Radio" on WGCC, 90.7 FM, invited me to come on his show tonight at 8 p.m. to share some songs from my rockabilly music collection.

We'll play some new stuff, such as Imelda May and the Bellfuries; the first stuff, such as Elvis Presley and Carl Perkins; as well as dig into the Sun Records archives a bit, and a few obscure rockabilly pioneers such as Jack Earls, Johnny Carroll, and Joe Clay.

June 27, 2018 - 9:58am
posted by Howard B. Owens in Batavia Concert Band, batavia, news, arts, entertainment.

The Batavia Concert Band will perform indoors this evening, show time, 7 p.m., due to rain, at Genesee Community College. The performance will be in the Stuart Steiner Theater.

June 15, 2018 - 9:32am
posted by Howard B. Owens in pembroke, pembroke hs, news, arts, entertainment.

This short film was produced by a group of Pembroke High School for a class project. It's a sequal to a short film produced by students in 2009 called "The Birdman Phenomenon."

June 14, 2018 - 12:28pm

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Smokin' Eagle BBQ & Brew opened its 2018 Battle of the Bands competition with a check presentation of $3,000 to the Golisano Children's Hospital in Rochester. The Coniber family, Jason, Missy, and Hailey, of Le Roy, accepted the check on behalf of the hospital. 

This year, the crew at the Smokin' Eagle hopes to raise $5,000 during the Battle of the Bands competition, which ends in October. In addition to the 50-50 raffle that runs throughout the competition, the Smokin' Eagle will also be selling $15 chicken BBQ tickets for the finale.

The first band up last night was The Fallen, based in Rush, but with members from the region, including Le Roy.

There will be bands competing every Wednesday until the champion is crowned.

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This year's judges, Carl Giammarva, Sarah Tonzi, Jackie Whiting, Jeff Kanaley, and Chris Biviano.

June 8, 2018 - 5:21pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in alexander, schools, education, music, arts, entertainment, news.

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Alexander Central School hosted its second annual Jazz Invitational on Thursday night, which featured performances of Alexander's brass band, the Alexander Jazz Cadets (photos), and the Alexander Jazz Experience, along with a performance by the Warsaw Jazz Ensemble.

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June 8, 2018 - 4:59pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in elba, Elba Central School Drama Club, news, music, arts, entertainment.

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The Elba Central School Drama Club presents "Spotlight: A Night at the Movies" tomorrow at 7 p.m. The show is a review of music associated with Hollywood and the movies.

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June 2, 2018 - 8:13pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in The Ridge NY, Frost Ridge, news, music, entertainment, veterans.

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The American Warrior Concert at The Ridge NY in Le Roy is a two-day festival celebrating and honoring veterans that includes music, activities, and access to services for veterans.

The first few photos are of the band Ball Cheeze Psychotics, as a picture of Tetelestai and of Zach Burgess. In all, more than two dozen musical acts played on the two stages set up for the event.

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May 31, 2018 - 11:09am
posted by Howard B. Owens in BHS Drama Club, Batavia HS, batavia, news, arts, entertainment.

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Batavia High School teacher Caryn Wood has woven together songs from three musicals, "Wicked," "The Wiz," and "The Wizard of Oz," to create a new production for the Drama Club that will serve as a fundraiser for the program.

Wood said the songs are pulled together in a single timeline to tell the Wizard of Oz story.

"All three are very different musical styles, but we took some of the most well-known songs from each," Wood said.

Wood described the story:

Wicked tells the story of Elphaba & Glinda and their unlikely friendship that gets turned upside down when the young girl, Dorothy drops from the sky into Munchkin Land. Unfortunately, during a cyclone, Dorothy's house lands on a kills the Wicked Witch of the East who in Wicked you learn is really Nessa, Elphaba's younger sister.

Both The Wiz and The Wizard of Oz pick up the story at that point and follow Dorothy and her band of three friends (Scarecrow, Tinman, & Lion) as they travel the yellow brick road through Oz. In the Emerald City, they meet the Wizard who sends them on a mission to free the land from the grips of The Wicked Witch of the West.

But in Wicked the question is also asked...who really is the "Wicked Witch?" Perhaps the answer isn't quite as simple as you might think.

"The music from these shows is amazing and memorable, and our students have loved bringing all three of them to life," Wood said.

The price of admission: Whatever you are willing to donate to the program.

The performance is tomorrow at 7 p.m.  

Seating is limited.

Featured cast includes:

  • Madison Hoerbelt (senior) -- Elphaba
  • Madeline Keenan (senior) -- Glinda
  • Eryn Dunn (junior) -- Dorothy
  • Evan Bellavia (senior) -- The Wizard
  • Kathryn Fitzpatrick (freshman) -- Addaperle
  • Parise Ricks (senior) -- Madame Morrible
  • AT Thatcher (junior) -- Boq/Tinman
  • Elise Hoerbelt (junior) -- Nessa 
  • Cameron Bontrager (junior) -- Fiyero/Scarecrow
  • Tanner Kolb (senior) -- The Lion
  • Kristen Glosgowski -- Aunt Em

There are also six returning alumni participating in the production.

Jeffrey Fischer is vocal director and accompanist, Jane E. Haggett is on keyboard/synthesizer and Wood is the director and producer.

Top Photo: Tanner Kolb, Eryn Dunn, AT Thatcher, and Cameron Bontrager.

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Evan Bellavia

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Madison Hoebelt and Madeline Keenan

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