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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

May 30, 2018 - 4:13pm
posted by Billie Owens in alexander, jazz, music, entertainment, news.
From Danny Allen:
 
The public is cordially invited to the second annual Alexander Jazz Invitational starting at 7 p.m. on Thursday, June 7.
 
Members of the "AJE" -- Alexander Jazz Experience -- will host the event in the school cafeteria, located at 3314 Buffalo Road, Alexander.
 
Pre-sale tickets are $3 for students and $4 for adults; tickets at the door are $5.
 
Hear some great jazz, enjoy some refreshments and see how popular this jazz scene is.
 
Perfoming are:
  • Alexander Jazz Experience
  • Alexander Jazz Cadets
  • Warsaw Jazz Band -- directed by Phil Briatico
Featured Guest:
  • The Genesee Wyoming Music Educators Association All County Jazz Band
May 30, 2018 - 1:40pm
posted by Billie Owens in music, entertainment, the ridge, Le Roy, charity.

Press release:

On Friday, June 15th, national recording artist Jason Michael Carroll will headline the Country Jam in Le Roy to support the great research efforts of the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF).

Special guests Eric Van Houten and Eric Van Houten will join this great benefit party along with Rebel's Posse. Concert starts at 2 p.m.

As always, this is a family friendly event, so children are welcome and FREE. 

Special-priced lawn tickets are just $10, and VIP with a seat provided just $15 when purchased in pairs. A $2 donation will be made to JDRF Rochester for each of these special tickets purchased.

See a great show and do some good for JDRF. GET TICKETS HERE

The Ridge NY has an outdoor, open-air, concert venue with amazing sound. Bring the children to build memories with activities and even a bounce house.

"The Ridge NY" Team 
www.TheRidgeNY.com
8101 Conlon Road
Le Roy, NY 14482
(585) 768-4883

May 24, 2018 - 12:00pm


Established in 2011, WNY Aviation Adventure Camp is an exciting, weeklong overnight camping experience for 10 high school youth in ninth or 10th grade. The purpose of this camp is to promote careers in aviation and expose students to the wonder of flight.

Students will also learn how aviation plays a role in the world of Math, Science and Technology. This innovative educational program provides on average, 20 hours of flight time, as well as classroom instruction with hands–on activities designed to teach team work, decision-making, leadership skills as well as career opportunities in aviation.

WNY Aviation Adventure Camp will provide area youth with a unique and highly interactive opportunity to experience the exciting world of aviation.

On June 16th, the WNY Aviation Adventure Camp Board is hosting a Hangar Dance as the fundraiser for this year’s camp. Tickets are available online at wnyaviation.com or at Batavia Bootery (210 E. Main St., Batavia).

Attendees at this year’s event will have exclusive raffles for rides in various aircraft as well as opportunities to win an Adult Aviation Weekend. Winners of Adult Aviation Weekend will be allowed to ride in and learn to fly several different model airplanes, a helicopter, and be treated to a jet set flight for lunch.

Ticket holders are encouraged to dress the theme of this year’s event, 1960’s Aviation, for additional prizes as best dressed. Food, flights, music, prizes….Purchase your tickets today!

May 12, 2018 - 6:34pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in GO ART!, batavia, news, entertainment.

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There was more than just tea in some of the cups at the Mad Hatter Tea Party for adults this evening at GO ART! The party featured Vivian Darling -- Drag Queen Extraordinaire, from Rochester.

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May 11, 2018 - 11:05pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Literature, poetry, moon java, batavia, arts, entertainment, news.

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Bryon Hoot, a poet from Pennsylvania who visits Batavia often for literary events, reads some of his poetry at Moon Java this evening for the debut event for The Visual Truth Theater Ensemble, a literary group organized by Eric Zwieg.

Zwieg, Julian Tuast, and Cole Rogers also read from their work. Richard Beatty was the emcee for the reading.

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Richard Beatty

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Cole Rogers 

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May 4, 2018 - 11:00pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Genesee Symphony Orchestra, GSO, arts, music, entertainment, news.

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Sunday's Genesee Symphony Orchestra concert in the auditorium at Elba Central School will feature soloist Mimi Hwang on cello performing Elgar's "Concerto for Cello & Orchestra in E-minor."

Hwang, a resident of Brighton, winner of both the Banff and the Evian International String Quartet Competitions. She has performed with such quartets as Tokyo, Colorado, and Ciompi at Duke University in North Carolina, and was a participant of both Beijing and Los Angeles philharmonics. She also played at the San Francisco Chamber Orchestra.

The orchestra, under the direction of S. Shade Zajac, will also perform Wagner's "Siegfried's Death & Funeral March," Howard Hanson's "Symphony No. 2 'Romantic,' " and Holst's "St. Paul's Suite for String Orchestra."

The concert, "Romantic Masterpieces," begins at 4 p.m.

Tickets are available through geneseesymphony.com, GO ART!, Roxy's Music Store, The YNGodess Shop, and Smokin' Eagle BBQ  & Brew in Le Roy.

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May 3, 2018 - 11:17am
posted by Howard B. Owens in Genesee Chorale, arts, entertainment, music, news.

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Press release:

As he began the process of putting together this spring’s concert program, all Genesee Chorale Director Ric Jones could sense was turmoil in the world.  He felt that there was a large divide in the world, a divide that seemed to grow larger every day. He wanted  to counteract that divide and encourage people to embrace unity and peace.

Thus was born “The Call of Humanity,” a mix of contemporary, Gospel, choral and classical music, including the debut of one piece written specifically for the Genesee Chorale.

“I tried to do a variety of mini-themes within the program,” says Jones. “Prayer,” in the words of Mother Teresa, is about helping the needy.  Other selections, such as “We Shall Overcome,” “Harriet Tubman” and “MLK,” address civil rights and some  of the mega figures who have had an impact on that movement. The lyrics of “Across the Bridge of Hope” come from a poem written by a group of young friends in Ireland; one of the boys was killed in the fighting shortly after their poem was written.

Two pieces form the foundation of the concert program, “Song of the Universal” by Ola Gjeilo from a Walt Whitman poem, and “The Waking,”  written for the Genesee Chorale by Composer-in-Residence Daniel Baldwin from a Theodore Roethke poem.

“Song of the Universal” was the first piece to “grab” Jones as he went through the selection process. “The text is beautiful,” he said, “and I love the composer. I kept going back to it. I decided I’d make it the centerpiece.” 

“The Waking” stems from Jones’ desire to find “something different that inspires the Chorale and brings the community into Chorale.”

Luckily, GO ART! grant money was available, so, with the blessing of the Chorale’s Board, Jones began the fun and frustrating process of choosing text and composer for an original piece. He and his wife, Karen, pored over “a ton of different poems,” but kept coming back to Theodore Roethke’s famous poem. “I liked the rhythm in the text,” says Jones, “and I like the overall message.”

The text was also an inspiration for Baldwin, the composer chosen by Jones.

“The majority of text chosen for me to set is older and in the public domain,” Baldwin said in an e-mail interview. “The poem (Jones) sent was contemporary and very well done, but also spoke to me in a way I was not expecting. When writing vocal or choral music, text is the most important element and must flow naturally (speech, even conversational speech, has its own rhythms, etc.).”

For Baldwin, the text is the beginning.

“I always write out the poem by hand and apply rhythms to the text based on what feels natural when reading the poem aloud,” he said. “Then, based on the message and perceived mood of the poem, I assign themes to these rhythms, harmonize, etc. It’s a process!”

Baldwin hopes that people “read through the wonderful text in advance of hearing the piece. A vocal or choir performance is the musical equivalent to a dramatic reading. I set the poem how I heard it and how the text affected me. I hope the audience enjoys my interpretation.”

Jones has published some of Baldwin’s other works as part of his Imagine Music business.

“I love his music,” he said, “and I’ve watched him evolve. His music feels cinematic to me usually – that epic sound with grandiose chords.  I wanted to see what he’d do with this text.”

What Baldwin did was surprise Jones.

“This was more on the contemporary side,” Jones said. “It is different than I expected, and the first time I heard it, I went ‘hmmm,’ but as I listened, there was something haunting about that motif.” It is, he notes, a challenging piece and Chorale members have had to work hard to prepare it for the concert.

Concerts are at 7 p.m. May 4  at St. James Church and at 4 p.m. May 6 at Pavilion Junior-Senior High School Auditorium, 7014 Big Tree Road., Pavilion. Presale tickets cost $8 and are available from Chorale members or online at GeneseeChorale.com. Tickets at the door cost $10.

Photos by Howard Owens.

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April 29, 2018 - 6:57pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Forum Players, GCC, news, arts, entertainment.

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The Forum Players performed selections Saturday night from 50 years of theater productions at Genesee Community College.

The show included selections from:

"A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum," "Singin’ in the Rain," "Peter Pan," "The Mystery of Edwin Drood," among others.

These photos are from the musical "Chicago."

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April 29, 2018 - 5:54pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in GO ART!, batavia, arts, entertainment, news.

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Jodi Fisher was the greeter Saturday night at Seymore Place for GO ART!'s first "Swing Fling."

The evening's entertainment included an old-fashioned radio show and The Genesee Jazz Collective with vocalist Wendy Williams (also pictured below, Dan Klinzar on trumpet.)

Jim Burns brought his 1950s era Graflex Speed Graphic camera (the standard professional/press camera for decades, and still in use in the 1970s, after being introduced in 1912). Partygoers could purchase black and white portraits of themselves during the event.

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April 25, 2018 - 9:39am

A new literary group in Batavia, organized by Eric Zwieg, The Visual Truth Theater Ensemble, will present readings by writers Byron Hoot, Cole Rogers, Julian Tuast, and Zwieg on May 11 at Moon Java Cafe.

The title of the program is "Speak Again, Speak Like Rain" and begins at 7 p.m.

Richard Beatty, of the Geezer Radio Show on WGCC on Thursday nights from 8 to 10 p.m., will host the reading.

The reading is free and open to the public.

Contact [email protected] for additional details. 

April 20, 2018 - 4:23pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in arts, entertainment, news, notify.

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Genesee County has a lot going for it, several positive check marks, in a new "community report card" from ACT Rochester but a big surprising negative: Arts, Culture, and Leisure.

The Rochester-based nonprofit agency scored Genesee County with a red mark and trending down in the report released today.

For anybody who participates in arts and culture in Genesee County, that might be a surprise.

Gregory Hallock, director of GO ART!, said he definitely disagrees with the assessment.

"There is a ton of stuff happening in Genesee County," Hallock said. "We have murals all over the county. You can walk an art trail downtown. We have the Genesee Symphony Orchestra, Batavia Players, the Wind Ensemble, the Concert Band. We have breweries. That is art and culture. It's everywhere. It's in architectural design. Our building (GO ART! in Seymour Place downtown) is not only historical, it's an architectural accomplishment. There is just art everywhere."

He then started listing off more arts and culture in Genesee County, such as Genesee Community College's art gallery and theater, and the museums, and the restaurants, and the art schools and dance studios.

"That's a lot," he said. "One of the biggest things is you don't realize it's here. It's everywhere. Art is all over the community."

Hallock moved to Batavia from Buffalo and he said he thinks there is a more active arts community in Batavia than there is in the bigger city.

None of those things, however, are measured by ACT Rochester.

Ann Johnson, the initiative's director, said the report card tries to work with objective, quantifiable data that is accessible through public records. It would be cost prohibitive to survey every county's arts group, even if every county has an art group, to get a complete picture.

What is measured in the report for arts and culture is tourism spending per resident ($1,576), recreation spending per resident ($205), and the number of art teachers in the county's school (with 77, higher than most other counties in the state).

Genesee County tends to beat out other counties in the region in all these counties but not the rest of Upstate.

Johnson acknowledged that the data doesn't capture everything about a community's art and culture activity and how a community might feel about it. The numbers measure, in reality, whether people are coming to a community for arts and culture and leisure. It doesn't measure what local residents are spending for local arts and cultural events.

"I don't think Genesee County should feel at all that all that the red is a negative indication," Johnson said. "It is actually what the data shows us when we add up the indicators in that category. It shows up as red."

Tom Turnbull, president of the Genesee County Chamber of Commerce said the report reminded him of the old aphorism, "there are lies, damn lies, and statistics."

There's more to tourism and culture in Genesee County then can be captured in numbers and there is no comparison for a rural community when measured against larger counties.

"Anybody trying to base what goes on in tourism based solely on statistics is not really getting the whole picture of what is going on," Turnbull said. "Just compiling stats and trying to make a point I think is really irrelevant. I think it is unfair to us."

Potentially, a person who might think of relocating to Genesee County, or worse, a site selector for a big company, might find this report online and get a negative impression of Genesee County as a place to come and enjoy arts and entertainment.

That is a concern, said Steve Hyde, CEO of Genesee County Economic Development Center.

"I'm all about trying to change the image and enhance the image of this community," Hyde said. "We're really focused on growth we've had that focus for years. We've made a lot of progress but it's a marathon, not a sprint. When reports like this come out, where they may not have all of the relevant facts in order to make a judgment, it is rather weak and distorts reality."

Coming out of the $10 million Downtown Revitalization Process, Hyde said he witnessed firsthand how the local arts community on growing and enhancing what they do, including GO ART!, Batavia Players, and Batavia Showtime.

"I look at those trends and they are very good trends for arts, culture, leisure and the local economy," Hyde said. "We are active and engaged and working to make things better. That's the point I would make to a site selector, that we are engaged more than (what) a couple statistics might show that comes out of a book."

To pick up on comments by Hallock, Genesee County has a lot to be proud of in this category:

  • Batavia is the only small city in America with both a professional baseball team and a symphony orchestra;
  • There is also a chorale, a wind ensemble, and a concert band;
  • There are numerous local performing musicians and music acts;
  • GO ART!;
  • There are several art studios/schools in Batavia and Le Roy;
  • There are also dance schools throughout the county;
  • Besides art classes, our high schools have thriving music and theater programs (Le Roy just won a national award).
  • Batavia High School has a rock band class;
  • We have Batavia Players/Theater 56;
  • We have Batavia Showtime;
  • There are a number of very good, locally owned restaurants in the county;
  • Museums include all the town museums along with HLOM, the Jell-O Museum and the County History Department;
  • There is live music at Darien Lake, Batavia Downs, the Ridge NY;
  • There are local bars/taverns throughout the county that are venues for local and regional acts;
  • We have two locally brewed beers;
  • We have parks, including Darien Lakes State Park, the County Park, and DeWitt Recreation Area;
  • Darien Lakes Theme Park and the water park at Quality Suites & Inn;
  • The Batavia Arts Society;
  • We have a writers' group and we have local poetry readings;
  • The Batavia Photography Club;
  • The Paolo Busti Cultural Foundation;
  • Polish Falcons Club, Nest 493, Batavia;
  • Gillam Grant Community Center in Bergen;
  • Richmond Memorial Library, plus libraries in Byron-Bergen, Pavilion, and Corfu;
  • The City Art Canvas, murals throughout the county;
  • Downtown has a popular and growing public market in the summers;
  • Community events all year long in every town and village;
  • Three bowling alleys, recreational sports leagues of all types, high school sports;
  • Gyms in Batavia and Le Roy;
  • Mixed Martial Arts events;
  • Batavia Downs Casino & Hotel -- with the oldest lighted harness racing track in America;
  • We have several active veterans' groups;
  • We have numerous rod and gun clubs throughout the county;
  • There are snowmobile trails;
  • There are several golf courses and a number of annual golf tournaments;
  • Concerts in Jackson Square and the Ramble;
  • An autumn wine walk downtown and Christmas in the City;
  • Nationally recognized artists such as Roy Mason, Noah North, and Nina Mason Booth came from Genesee County; 
  • Genesee Community College is a hub of arts and culture, with the Roz Steiner Art Gallery and the Stuart Steiner Theater, and it's a great source of multicultural events (the annual Fashion Show is a big draw);
  • The John Gardner Society, which honors the memory of Batavia's most famous novelist with an annual reading at the Pok-A-Dot;
  • The Tonawanda Indian Reservation holds cultural events;
  • Annual tourism draws like the worldwide Magicians Convention, regional Psychic Fair, Batavia Train Show, Foxprowl Com-Con, and the Batavia Antique Show and Sale;
  • There is agritourism that includes Maple Weekend, tours of alpaca farms, and farm-to-table events that showcase locally grown food;
  • Cornell Cooperative Extension and its Master Gardeners program, with training, workshops, demos, plant sales, and more;
  • Genesee County is one of the very few small markets in the county with three competitive news outlets (The Batavian, WBTA, the Batavia Daily News).

What did we forget?

Photos: File photos.

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April 20, 2018 - 1:47pm

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Batavia Middle School was rockin' this morning with a visit from the rock band class at Batavia High School to help kickoff STEAM Day at the school.

The band's visit was intended to also give middle school students of another idea for a class they might take when they get to high school.

The band played The Ramones, Tom Petty, The Kinks (twice depending on how you count "You Really Got Me" with the Van Halen intro of "Eruption"), and Cream, among others.

During a Bryan Adams song, the students broke out their mobile phone flashlights and waved them in the air just like any other rock concert.

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April 19, 2018 - 2:26pm

The Genesee Valley Wind Ensemble will perform its 2018 Spring Concert in the auditorium of Oakfield-Alabama Central School beginning at 4 p.m. on Sunday, April 29. The school is located at 7001 Lewiston Road, Oakfield.

Conductors are: Mark Flynn, guest conductor, high school band director at Akron Central School; Dan Klinczar, member conductor, elementary band director at Alexander Central School; and Philip J. Briatico, conductor and founder of the GVWE, Warsaw Central School.

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

These works will be featured:

  • "Classical Gas" -- Mason Williams
  • "Flourish for Glorious John" -- Ralf Vaughan Williams
  • "Joy Revisited" -- Frank Tichelli
  • "The Chimes of Liberty" -- Edwin Franko Goldman
  • Highlights from "My Fair Lady" -- Lerner & Loewe
  • "Cherish" -- The Association
  • "Prelude, Siciliano & Rondo" -- Malcolm Arnold

This program is made possible in part by the Reach Grant program administered by GO ART!

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

Contact: [email protected]

April 19, 2018 - 1:00pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in GCC, poetry, news, arts, entertainment.

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Press release:

"Time" magazine recently quoted Poet Laureate Tracy K. Smith as she talked about the value of poetry in our world today.

She said, "Poetry requires us to be humble and beholden to something other than our own opinion. That's important. There's too much in our 21st century lives that is telling us we're the most important thing, that our initial gut reaction is incredibly valuable and not vulnerable, and that our opinions as consumers are more important than just about anything else about us.

"A poem says 'No, no. You have feelings. You have fears. You have questions. Let's get back to the voice and the vocabulary of being human.' "

The annual student poetry contest at Genesee Community College is designed to do just that -- to encourage and reward students for their abilities to express their feelings, fears, questions and voices through poetry.

For the 17th year, the poetry contest illuminated the unique and impressive talents of GCC's students. On Tuesday, April 17, the six winning students were honored at an awards and recognition ceremony in the Alfred C. O'Connell Library where they each received a certificate, gift card, and a journal to encourage them to continue their writing.

The 2018 Student Poetry Contest winners, awarded by a panel of six judges, included:

Body of Work: Committee's Choice -- Catherine McCabe-Strong, of Rochester

McCabe-Strong is in her final year of Paralegal Studies at GCC. She is a repeat winner of the Student Poetry Contest.

Body of Work: Director's Choice -- Cameron Kowalczewski, of East Aurora

Kowalczewski began at GCC in 2016 as an Accelerated College Enrollment (ACE) student and has since graduated high school and is now pursuing an associate degree in the Social Sciences with a concentration in English at GCC.

1st Place -- Nicole Favata, of Dunkirk

Favata is a Fashion Design student at GCC. Favata submitted a poem in spoken word format and the transcript is available on the Poetry Contest Web page.

2nd Place -- Raxel Piper, of Oakfield

Her second-place winning poem is entitled "The Perfect Woman."

3rd Place -- Mackayla Poorman, of Farmersville Station

Poorman is pursuing an Associate Degree in Liberal Arts at GCC's Arcade Campus Center and plans to transfer to a four-year college for writing and to minor in Theater. Her creative poem format was inspired by several of her favorite authors; Maggie Stiefvater, Jennifer Niven and Jonathan Safran Foer.

Honorable Mention honors -- Gabrielle Rozanski, of Avon, for her piece, "Tomorrow."

The entire works of these students can be found onGCC's Alfred C. O'Connell Library Poetry Contest Web page.

"Our students have many responsibilities between their studies, clubs, sports, jobs and families that demand their time and attention," Assistant Professor and Reference Services Librarian Cynthia Hagelberger said.

"We are thrilled to see so many of them putting in the extra effort it takes to enter the poetry contest each year. The library is proud and honored to offer a program that provides students with a public forum to celebrate their writing skills and creativity."

April 19, 2018 - 12:19pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in music, arts, entertainment, news, schools, education, Le Roy.

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Press release:

The NAMM Foundation has designated Le Roy Central School District as one of the 2018 Best Communities for Music Education in the country.

This national designation is awarded to districts that demonstrate outstanding achievement in efforts to provide music access and education to all students. Le Roy is one of 538 districts across the nation receiving the prestigious award in 2018.

Congratulations to the Le Roy music teachers, administrators, students, parents and community leaders on this distinguished designation!

Le Roy has received this designation 12 out of the last 13 years and continues to thrive in providing music education through many opportunities throughout the district. The program supports more than 300 students in chorus and more than 200 students in band throughout our district offering performance ensembles in both vocal and instrumental for students in grades 4-12 as well as a competitive marching band. Annually, the program produces a sixth-grade musical and a Jr.-Sr. High musical. In the classroom general music and a variety of Sr. High electives are also offered each year.

Merritt Holly -- Le Roy superintendent: "Our entire Le Roy Central School District is proud to be recognized again as a 2018 Best Communities for Music Education.  This prestigious honor signifies the continued dedication and passion our teachers and students have to excel in music education. Congratulations to our administrators, teachers, students, parents, and community for supporting each other in achieving this wonderful accomplishment!"

Carol Messura -- Wolcott Street School principal: "On behalf of Wolcott Street School, we CONGRATULATE all the students, staff members, and parents for being named a Best Community for Music Education once again! This recognition is well deserved and demonstrates the unwavering commitment to excellence that the music department continues to uphold. From kindergarten through 12th grade, the seeds of collaboration and perseverance grow in our students which allow them to flourish into the future. The sky's the limit!"

Tim McArdle -- Jr.-Sr. High School principal: "We are so proud of all of our music students and staff who year in and year out produce high-level performances on our stages, in the pit, in competition, and on the field across many places throughout the region. The relentless efforts of our music boosters, families and supporters help create a synergy that propels our program to new heights each year. The music program is one of the many aspects of our district that makes being an Oatkan Knight so special!"

Matt Nordhausen -- Le Roy Music Department chair: "We are humbled to once again receive this wonderful distinction, which casts a national spotlight on what all of us in this Le Roy community already knew; that the parents, teachers, school administration, board of education and members of this community work together tirelessly to provide a multitude of first-rate musical outlets and educational opportunities for the growth and benefit of our children."

April 14, 2018 - 7:50pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in GSO, Genesee Symphony Orchestra, music, arts, entertainment, batavia, news.

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GSO Conductor S. Shade Zajac led a group of young musicians today in a string workshop at the First Presbyterian Church of Batavia.

The students will perform May 6 with the Genesee Symphony Orchestra at Elba Central School on Sibelus, "Andante Festivo." 

The program that day includes featured soloist Mimi Hwang on cello joining the orchestra for Elgar's "Concerto for Cello & Orchestra in E-minor."

The orchestra will also perform Wagner's "Siegfried's Death & Funeral March," Howard Hanson's "Symphony No. 2 'Romantic," and Holst's "St. Paul's Suite for String Orchestra."

The concert, "Romantic Masterpieces," begins at 4 p.m.

Tickets are available through geneseesymphony.com or GO Art!, Roxy's Music Store, YNGodess, and Smokin' Eagle BBQ  & Brew in Le Roy.

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April 6, 2018 - 10:24pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in GO ART!, batavia, news, arts, entertainment.

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GO ART! hosted a grand opening party for members tonight of the wine and beer bar now open in Seymore Place, which is the former location of the old Batavia Club.

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April 6, 2018 - 10:12am
posted by Howard B. Owens in poetry, Richmond Memorial Library, news, batavia, arts, entertainment.

Press release:

A group of local residents who read and write poetry has come together to host a poetry reading featuring JoNelle Toriseva as well local poets who attend the reading. It will be held at 7 p.m. Wednesday, April 18, in the Reading Room at the Richmond Memorial Library.

The organizers are interested in meeting with other people in the community who enjoy poetry and might be interested in coming together more frequently for readings and workshops.

“We suspect there are several people locally who write poetry but don’t have an outlet to meet with other poets and that there are a number of people who simply enjoy poetry and would attend readings,” said one of the organizers, Howard Owens. “We hope this initial event will attract those people and show there is enough interest for regular gatherings.”

Toriseva will be the featured reader, but there will also be time for an open reading with each person invited to read one short poem of their own or of another author.

Other organizers include Eric Zwieg, Bill Kauffman, Bob Conrad, JoNelle Toriseva, and Lucine Kauffman.

About JoNelle Toriseva

JoNelle has won the Patricia Goedicke Prize in Poetry from Cutbank. Her work has appeared in, "The North American Review," "Salt Hill," "The Literary Review," "The Saranac Review," "The Cincinnati Review," "Descant," and "JACKET," among others, and included in Days I Moved Through Ordinary Sound from City Lights, and Best Canadian Poetry in English.

She is the director of English, Communications and Media Arts, and an Assistant Professor of English at SUNY-GCC, Toriseva has also taught for Mills College, California Poets in the Schools, San Francisco WritersCorps, and Literary Arts of Portland, Ore.

March 21, 2018 - 10:26am
posted by Howard B. Owens in Batavia Downs, news, entertainment, batavia.

Press release:

Batavia Downs Gaming & Hotel announced their onsite plans for the upcoming Kentucky Derby on Saturday, May 5th. Three parties will take place on site.

The first party, running from 11:30 a.m. 'til 7 p.m., will take place in the Batavia Downs Gaming Paddock Room. It is the Downs’ most well-attended party with more than 600 attendees last year.

For $15, patrons receive their choice of a variety of meals, $15 in Free Play once one point is earned on the gaming floor, a $2 wager on the Derby, and a Free Derby program. There will be a $5 Mint Juleps special which includes a commemorative Derby glass and samplings from Black Button Distilling. Attendees must be at least 18 years of age. Many big-screen televisions will show the races and there will be mutual clerks available for wagers to be placed.

The second party, which is new, will take place in the Batavia Downs Gaming Grandstands Banquet Room on the second floor. Admission to the Derby Gala at the Downs is $50 per person and proper attire is required. Patrons will receive an open bar from 4:30 to 7 p.m., grazing stations, a $10 wager on the Derby, $25 in Free Play and a Free Derby Program. Attendees must be of legal drinking age to attend. There will also be televisions and mutual clerks for patrons to place wagers. A best-dressed contest and best hat contest will take place with prizes from the Hotel at Batavia Downs. Tickets will go on sale Wednesday, March 21, at 10 a.m. on Bataviaconcerts.com and at the Lucky Treasures Gift Shop.

The third party, taking place inside 34 Rush, will have Buffalo radio station WGR550AM broadcasting live from 2-5 p.m. Attendees must be at least 18 years of age. There will be a $5 Mint Julep special which includes a derby commemorative glass. Cider samplings will be provided by Official Derby Sponsor; Angry Orchard Rosé. A sampling of Corona beer will also be taking place for Cinco De Mayo. Patrons may place Derby wagers using self-service terminals.

Wagering will also be available at the second floor Downs Simulcast center. Prize Drawings for Derby T-shirts and glasses will take place there.

“It’s exciting to see that interest in the Kentucky Derby is alive and well in Western New York, “ said Todd Haight, general manager of Racing at Batavia Downs Gaming. “Our Paddock Room party has grown exponentially throughout the years and we expect that trend to continue this year.

"Our marketing department has put together a tremendous offer for our new Grandstands party. It’s a great way for our loyal customers to come out and enjoy the most exciting two minutes in sports.”

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