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Genesee Symphony Orchestra

February 25, 2021 - 1:23pm
posted by Virginia Kropf in Bob Knipe, news, Genesee Symphony Orchestra, notify.

The loss of Bob Knipe is one which will be felt in nearly every corner of Genesee County.

Knipe, 73, died Saturday at home after a brief illness, with his family at his side.

Knipe came to Genesee County from the West Coast to work at Genesee Community College, where he spent 23 years before retiring as dean of Learning Technologies. 

“It wasn’t just the college Bob was passionate about,” said S. Shade Zajac, conductor of the Genesee Symphony Orchestra, in which Knipe played the French horn. “Rotary, GO ART!, United Way – he was involved in them all. He had a deep love of community. He touched so many people.”

Zajac recalls the first time he met Knipe at GO ART!, where he interviewed for the job as orchestra conductor. 

“I got there early because I was so nervous, and Bob met me at the door,” Zajac said. “He called me by my first name and that put me ease.”

He said Knipe was never one to shy away from a joke, corny or otherwise. He played in Zajac’s trial concert, and the first conversation they had after Zajac got the job was about all the different projects Knipe wanted to do with the orchestra. 

“Bob was a staunch supporter of this orchestra back before I was born,” said the 27-year-old conductor. “Performing and music – that was Bob. He loved to play with the orchestra and they loved him. Bob’s love and knowledge of the orchestra are undisputable. To say he was loved and respected throughout the entire orchestra is an understatement.”

Before Knipe’s death, the orchestra had been planning a virtual concert in his honor.

“We had sent the music we were going to play to Bob’s wife, Linda, and she played it for him,” Zajac said. “He was very touched.”

When the orchestra learned about the concert paying tribute to Knipe, Zajac said the response from the entire orchestra was overwhelming. 

“It is a tribute to how much he was loved and respected," Zajac said.

Even Patty Hume from GCC contacted Zajac and asked if they would like to use space at the college to perform. In addition, the college’s tech team will assist with the recording.

The music for the program is peaceful and quiet, because Knipe’s wife did not want the music to be sad.

The virtual concert is scheduled for March 26, and to watch the livestreamed concert from GCC's Stuart Steiner Theatre, folks should go to the orchestra’s website to find a live link to tune into at 7:30 that evening. 

There will be a donate button for those who wish and funds which come in will be given to Knipe’s family to establish a memorial as they wish, said Roxie Choate, president of the orchestra's Board of Directors.

The orchestra is suggesting the Knipe family consider setting up a college scholarship fund for a high school senior who will be entering the field of music.

Marjorie Fulmer shared her memories of playing flute with Bob in the GSO.

“I’m not sure how many years Bob has been a member of the GSO, but I’ve been a member for 35 years and he has been there most of that time," Fulmer said.  "We also spent many years on the board together, and we were co-presidents for a couple of those years. His boundless enthusiasm and true love and appreciation for the orchestra always came through loud and clear.

"He seemed to have endless energy for both the mental and physical aspects of running a community orchestra. He was constantly the one who schlepped around the music stands to various venues and set the stage up countless times so it would be ready for the other musicians at rehearsals and concerts. While many of the orchestra members are music teachers or have some kind of professional background related to music, Bob did not.

"So many times he told me that one of the goals of a community orchestra should be inclusiveness and he totally appreciated that the GSO included him. The arts in Genesee County have much to thank Bob Knipe for.”

Barb Meyer, a fellow hornist with Knipe, shared some of the light moments they enjoyed in the orchestra. Her memories are of the times they would get in trouble for playing too aggressively or missing their entrance and were chided for talking and not paying attention. 

Meyer said Knipe wore many hats in the orchestra, as operations manager, as well as president. He loved pranks, she said, and it was not unusual for the conductor to turn around after speaking to the audience only to see the horn section decked out in something on their heads. Knipe’s favorite was his big bag of reindeer antlers and Santa hats for the annual holiday concert.

“I will miss his sense of humor, dedication and love of music, in addition to the corny music jokes and pranks,” Meyer said.

She also noted a rare coincidence -- that her horn and Bob’s are both Conn 8D models, and were built within a short time of each other, as the serial numbers are close.

“What are the chances of that in the same orchestra?” she asked. 

Gregg McAllister became friends with Knipe through their involvement in Rotary 30 years ago.

“Bob was the kind who immediately put down roots and became involved in his community,” McAllister said. “He became involved because he wanted to better the community where he lived. Bob was involved in so many things and he was such a pleasure to work with. He was always willing to take on the job as board member or leader, but he wasn’t afraid to get his hands dirty, either.”

McAllister cited a recent gleaning project undertaken by Rotary, where Knipe was there with his pickup collecting beets. When they cleaned up Rotary Park and made repairs at the Domestic Violence Safe House, Knipe was there working. 

One day week, Knipe volunteered to drive military veterans to medical appointments.

McAllister said one very important program Knipe was involved in with him for 25 years was Rotary’s Youth Exchange Program, which provided life-changing experiences for youth from around the world. As a result, tributes and condolences have been coming in from all over the world.

“Bob loved to travel to other countries, but he loved Batavia, too,” McAllister said. 

Board President Choate was also a member of the Batavia First Presbyterian Church with Knipe. 

“He was very involved with the church, holding some of their decision-making positions,” she said. “Wherever Bob was, he held a strong leadership role. Bob was also a huge family man.”

Conductor Zajac added a comment about the orchestra’s holiday presentation of “Encore” at Christmas time.

“As a member of the GCC faculty, Knipe had tried for many years to make the holiday concert happen with the Genesee Symphony,” Zajac said. “The day I told him, he was ecstatic. To me it is incredibly fitting and heartwarming that Bob’s last concert should be ‘Encore.’ ” 

Knipe’s full obituary can be read here on The Batavian.

Top photo, by Howard Owens.

Photo below, courtesy of Genesee Symphony Orchestra.

Bottom photo, by Howard Owens.

January 21, 2021 - 1:59pm

Submitted photos and press release:

The Holland Land Office Museum announces that the People's Choice Award for the 19th Annual Wonderland of Trees goes to Friends of the Batavia Peace Garden (right photo).

For the Museum Choice Award, the honor goes to Genesee Symphony Orchestra (bottom photo).

The Holland Land Office Museum congratulates the winners and thanks all participants, who went above and beyond this year with such beautiful trees and pictures, as well as sponsors and donors:

  • Tompkins Bank of Castile
  • Batavia Downs Gaming & Hotel
  • Genesee County Sheriff's Association
  • Stafford Historical Society
  • The YNGODESS Shop
  • Arc of Genesee Orleans
  • Batavia Business & Professional Women's Club Inc.
  • City of Batavia Historic Preservation Commission
  • Crossroads House
  • Friends of Batavia Peace Garden
  • GCASA Recovery Station
  • Genesee Community College Alpha Epsilon Gamma
  • Genesee Community College Education Club
  • Genesee Symphony Orchestra
  • Genesee County Fish & Game Protective Association
  • Holland Land Office Wonderland of Trees Committee
  • Raising Believers Home School Group
  • Speak Up Toastmasters
  • St. Joseph Church
  • Town of Bergen Historian's Office/Harford Livery Museum/Bergen Historical Society
  • Zonta Club of Batavia-Genesee
  • Alabama Hotel
  • Batavia Lions Club
  • Jan's Smoke Shop
  • M&M Meats
  • Philly's Barbershop
  • Tonawanda Seneca Family Care Center
  • Eucharettes
  • Debra Osborn
  • Dick Siebert
  • Holland Purchase Historical Society Members

November 18, 2020 - 4:30pm

Press release:

The Holland Land Office Museum's Wonderland of Trees sponsored by Tompkins Bank of Castile will occur from Nov. 20th to Dec. 31st.

This year there will not be an opening night kickoff event. All the wonderful decorated trees can be viewed during the museum's normal business hours of Tuesday through Saturday 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Museum visitors will be limited to 25 at a time.

Masks and social distancing protocols are required.

A basket raffle will also take place until Dec. 18th when the winners will be drawn.

Musical concerts will be performed by the Genesee Symphony Orchestra on the evenings of Dec. 4, 11, and 18, with a limited audience of 12 Preregistration is required. The concerts will also be broadcast live for all to experience.

Normal museum admission rates will apply. For more information visit hollandlandoffice.com or call the museum at (585) 343-4727.

November 3, 2020 - 1:54pm

Submitted photo and press release:

When Thomas A. and Kim M. Cox found out that Genesee Community College intended to move forward with their annual Encore event on Saturday, Dec. 12, despite the obstacles presented by the COVID-19 pandemic, they were intrigued.

"We've always enjoyed working with GCC, including on Encore in the past and we have been supporters of the GCC Foundation and the scholarships it provides for years," said Tom Cox. "We were excited to take on the challenge when the Foundation asked us to return and cochair Encore 2020."

Last month, Kim and Tom, a current member of the GCC Foundation Board of Directors, kicked off the Encore 2020 efforts and got right to work.

The couple excitedly announced that this year's Encore event is being sponsored by Tompkins Financial Advisors, Tompkins Bank of Castile, and Tompkins Insurance Agencies.

"Tompkins has always been community focused, and now more than ever, it's important for organizations to step up and recognize the impact GCC has on its students and our community," said David S. Boyce, Tompkins Insurance president and CEO. "Thank you to GCC for its role in educating our future leaders."

With the support of Tompkins Financial, the GCC Foundation has been able to secure very special performances by the Genesee Symphony Orchestra as well as a special appearance by members of the Genesee Chorale!

Perhaps the newest feature of this year's Encore event will be the venue -- the entire performance will be available online! Visit here for tickets to access the performance from the comfort of one's own home and an extra special offer that will make the evening even brighter!

Join the virtual celebration on Saturday, Dec. 12, at 6 p.m.

To "Be the Light" and sponsor Encore 2020, please complete the online forms here or contact the Foundation Office at (585) 345-6809, or [email protected] today.

The following sponsorships are available:

  • Virtual Table Sponsor – $2,000 Sponsorship includes 10 tickets to the event, program recognition, and dinner for 10 (takeout or gift certificate).
  • Conductor’s Circle Sponsor – $1,000 – Sponsorship includes six tickets to the event, program recognition and dinner for six (takeout or gift certificate).
  • Golden Baton Society Sponsor – $600 – Sponsorship includes four tickets to the event, program recognition and dinner for four (takeout or gift certificate).
  • Inner Circle Sponsor – $300 – Sponsorship includes two tickets to the event, program recognition and dinner for two (takeout or gift certificate).
  • Platinum Patron Ticket – $100 – Ticket includes one ticket to the event, and dinner for one (takeout or gift certificate).
  • Concert Ticket – $50 – Ticket includes admission for one to the event (no dinner).

Area Restaurants Generously Supporting Encore with Dinner Takeout Menus

Alex’s Place – Batavia

Black & Blue – Rochester

Hole In The Wall  – Perry

Yard of Ale – Piffard

Zambistro Restaurant – Medina

April 1, 2020 - 2:25pm
posted by Billie Owens in Genesee Symphony Orchestra, news, covid-19.

From the Genesee Symphony Orchestra Board of Directors:

Like many of you, the Genesee Symphony Orchestra is closely monitoring the outbreak of the coronavirus (COVID-19) and the effect it is having on our community and around the world.

We’re dedicated to creating a safe environment for our patrons, musicians, and volunteers to enjoy beautiful music.

As a result of recent events, we have decided to make the following changes to our upcoming event calendar:

  • The String Workshop scheduled for March 28 is cancelled;
  • The Young Artist Competition scheduled for May 2 is postponed until further notice. Applications are on our GSO website. Katharine Wilson is the contact person:  [email protected]

We will continue to work with students andteachers from around the area to find opportunities for interested musicians to participate in future GSO events.

  • Our recital featuring Music Director and Conductor S. Shade Zajac and Brian Preston scheduled for April 19 will be postponed until further notice.
  • Our concert scheduled for May 3 at the Elba Central School Auditorium will be cancelled.

We are working diligently with musicians and special guests to find a time to perform this program for you in the near future, and as we make progress through this trying time we will keep everyone informed.

Our GSO would ask that you consider any of the Season Tickets which you purchased earlier be considered your donation to the orchestra’s yearly operating fund. If you request a ticket refund, please e-mail:   [email protected]

  • The GSO's drawing for its annual raffle, “Canandaigua Culinary Experience,” scheduled for Sunday, May 3 has been postponed. We will reschedule the drawing to coincide with Maestro Zajac’s recital in late May, and we will inform our patrons when a final date is selected. If you have purchased raffle tickets, they are in a safe place until the drawing takes place. Musicians and Board Members still have tickets to sell until the recital.

Lastly, Summer Serenade is still scheduled for Sunday, Aug. 23rd, at The LeRoyan. More information/details will be coming as August nears.

The GSO will continue to work with relevant community leaders to operate in a manner consistent with recommendations from health offcials, government, and our event-hosting venues. Every decision we make is with you in mind.

We look forward to continuing to provide our community with wonderful music for years to come.

Thank you,

GSO Board of Directors

******************************************************************

From GSO Music Director and Conductor S. Shade Zajac:

"...These are indeed uncertain and troubling times, but we will work hard to make next season’s concerts all the more special. I would like to thank you for your continued support of this incredible and special orchestra.

"It is in times like these when music is most needed and so I hope you will keep us in your thoughts and music in your hearts. I wish you all health and I know we will see each other soon!

February 7, 2020 - 3:56pm
posted by Billie Owens in Genesee Symphony Orchestra, news, music.

"Symphonic Pictures III -- Once Upon a Time" is the third of four concerts this season performed by the Genesee Symphony Orchestra. It will be held starting at 4 p.m. on Sunday, March 1 in the Elba Central School Auditorium, located at 57 S. Main St. in Elba.

The program will be:

  • "Night on Bald Mountain" by Modest Petrovich Mussorgsky
  • "Ma Mere 'L'Oye" ("Mother Goose Suite") by Maurice Ravel
  • "Romeo and Juliet" selections by Sergei Sergeyevich Prkofiev

GSO Conductor S. Shade Zajac says the concert is intended to evoke magical storytelling through beloved pieces of music and he promises it will be "spellbinding."

"Night on Bald Mountain" for example is from Disney's animated classic "Fantasia." It depicts the spirits of darkness in celebration of "Chernobog," a Slavic deity aka "The Black God," before the sound of church bells drives them back into darkness.

"Very dramatic and maybe still a bit scary," writes Zajac in his "Message from the Maestro" to the orchestra, its board members and supporters.

The suite by Ravel is based on classic children's stories: "Sleeping Beauty," "Tom Thumb" and "Beauty and the Beast."

"It is a tour-de-force for our wind players and features everyone from the stratospheric piccolo to the grumbling contrabassoon!" Zajac says.

In the timeless ballet based on Shakespeare's "Romeo and Juliet," some of the most famous moments will be performed musically: "The Montegues and Capulets," the balcony scene, and the tragic scene of Romeo at Juliet's grave, and more.

Concert tickets are adults $15, seniors $10, and students with ID are free.

Note that there will be a GSO raffle for a chance to win a day and overnight stay in lovely Canandaigua.

The winning ticket will treat two to fine dining at the NYS culinary arts facility -- The Restaurant & Bar at New York Kitchen (NYKitchen), right on the waters edge of Canandaigua Lake, where New York foods and beverages and the freshest seasonal produce are showcased. Stay at the postcard-perfect Bella Rose Bed & Breakfast in a beautifully appointed suite with private bath. The B&B offers "the best breakfast in Canandaigua," a three-course meal in its Victorian dining room.

Have a look-see at The Restaurant & Bar at New York Kitchen here, and the Bella Rose here.

Raffle tickets are on sale at the GSO concerts -- including the season finale concert May 3 ("Symphonic Pictures IV -- Dance"), also at Elba Central School Auditorium -- and from any board member. Raffle tickets cost $5 for one ticket; $10 for three tickets. The drawing will be held at the May 3 concert. Proceeds benefit the GSO.

December 7, 2019 - 10:17pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in GSO, Genesee Symphony Orchestra, news, music, arts, entertainment.

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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.

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November 17, 2019 - 1:20pm

Genesee Symphony Orchestra will perform "Symphonic Pictures II -- A Nutcracker Holiday" at 4 p.m. on Sunday, Dec. 8, at Byron-Bergen High School.

It is located at 6917 W. Bergen Road, Bergen.

S. Shade Zajac is the music director and conductor.

The program is:

  • "Christmas Concerto" by Corelli
  • "Sleigh Ride" by Anderson
  • Piano Concerto No. 2 in G minor, movement I, by Saint-Saëns, performed by Amy Feng, GSO 2019 Young Artist winner
  • "The Nutcracker" selections from Act I by Tchaikovsky
  • Holiday Selections performed by the Pembroke Elementary School Chorus, directed by Erin Rush, with pianist Sarah Panna
  • "Christmas Festival" by Anderson

Tickets are $15 for adults; seniors $10; and students with student ID, free.

Tickets are available at: Roxy's Music Store (228 W. Main St., Batavia); The Yngodess Shop (73 Main St., Batavia); the Bank of Castile, Le Roy (29 Main St.); and online at the GSO website here.

This concert is made possible with funds from the Decentralization Program, a regrant program of the NYS Council on the Arts, with the support of Gov. Andrew Cuomo, the NYS Legislature. The funds are administered by GO ART!

October 16, 2019 - 3:57pm
Video Sponsor

Here is the Genesee Symphony Orchestra during Monday's rehearsal performing Aaron Copland's "John Henry."

The Genesee Symphony Orchestra opens its 2019-20 season this Sunday at 4 p.m. with a concert in the auditorium of Pembroke High School.

The concert, "Symphonic Pictures I: Portraits" features "Prelude to the Afternoon of a Faun" by Debussy, "John Henry," by Aaron Copland, "The Swan of Tuonela," by Sibelius, and "Pictures at an Exhibition," by Mussorgsky.

This is the fourth season S. Shade Zajac leads the orchestra.

For casual fans of orchestra music or those who have never been to see an orchestra perform, this is an excellent show. The pieces are largely modernist and fun. The Mussorgsky piece is particularly exciting (watch the video) and Aaron Copland is perhaps America's greatest composer.  

If you watch the video, you will likely want to attend this show.

Tickets are $15 for adults, $10 for seniors, and students (with ID) get in for free. Tickets are available at Roxy's Music Store, GO ART!, The YNGodess Shop, Bank of Castile in Le Roy and at geneseesymphony.com.

Pembroke High School is located at 8750 Alleghany Road (routes 5 and 77), Pembroke.

Previously: Video: GSO prepares for opening concert of the season, rehearsing 'Pictures at an Exhibition,' by Mussorgsky

October 15, 2019 - 4:35pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in music, GSO, Genesee Symphony Orchestra, arts, entertainment, video.
Video Sponsor

The Genesee Symphony Orchestra opens its 2019-20 season this Sunday at 4 p.m. with a concert in the auditorium of Pembroke High School.

The concert, "Symphonic Pictures I: Portraits" features "Prelude to the Afternoon of a Faun" by Debussy, "John Henry," by Aaron Copland, "The Swan of Tuonela," by Sibelius, and "Pictures at an Exhibition," by Mussorgsky.

This is the fourth season S. Shade Zajac leads the orchestra.

For casual fans of orchestra music or those who have never been to see an orchestra perform, this is an excellent show. The pieces are largely modernist and fun. The Mussorgsky piece is particularly exciting (watch the video) and Aaron Copland is perhaps America's greatest composer.  

If you watch the video, you will likely want to attend this show.

Tickets are $15 for adults, $10 for seniors, and students (with ID) get in for free. Tickets are available at Roxy's Music Store, GO ART!, The YNGodess Shop, Bank of Castile in Le Roy and at geneseesymphony.com.

Pembroke High School is located at 8750 Alleghany Road (routes 5 and 77), Pembroke.

September 29, 2019 - 7:39am
posted by Billie Owens in Genesee Symphony Orchestra, news, music, pembroke.

The Genesee Symphony Orchestra will perform its fall concert at 4 p.m. on Sunday, Oct. 20, in Pembroke High School Auditorium.

It is located at 8750 Alleghany Road, Pembroke (routes 5 and 77).

S. Shade Zajaz is the music director and conducter.

"Symphonic Pictures I -- Portraits" will feature:

  • "Prelude to the Afternoon of a Faun" by Debussy
  • "Jon Henry" by Copland
  • "The Swan of Tuonela" by Sibelius
  • "Pictures at an Exhibition" by Mussorgsky, with arrangements by Ravel

Tickets are $15 for adults; seniors $10; students with student ID, free.

Tickets are available at Roxy's Music Store, GO ART!, The Wyngodess Shop, and Bank of Castile in Le Roy.

This concert is made possible with funds from the Decentralization Program, a regrant program of the NYS Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the NYS Legislature and administered by GO ART!

March 16, 2019 - 4:14pm
posted by Billie Owens in news, Genesee Symphony Orchestra, pops concert, elba.

The Genesee Symphony Orchestra will present its "Made in America!" Pops Concert at 4 p.m. Sunday, March 31 in the Elba Central School Auditorium. It is located at 57 S. Main St. in Elba.

S. Shade Zajac is the symphony's music director and conductor. The concert will feature composer, percussionist and guest soloist Dave Mancini.

WBTA is the sponsor of the "Made in America!" Pops Concert.

The program is:

  • "The American Frontier" by Calvin Custer
  • "The Journey" by Dave Mancini
  • "Fiesta Latina" by Dave Mancini
  • "Psycho Prelude" by Bernard Herrmann
  • "Forrest Gump Suite" by Alan Silvestri, arrangements by Calvin Custer
  • Concert Suite from "Dances With Wolves" by John Barry
  • "Over the Rainbow" from "The Wizard of Oz" by Harold Arlen, arrangements by Chuck Sayre
  • "Star Wars Suite for Orchestra" by John Williams -- "Leia's Theme" and main title

Tickets are: adults -- $15; students -- $7; seniors -- $10; family -- $35 (parents and children 12 and under).

Tickets are available at Roxy's Music Store, GO ART!, The YNGodess Shop, Vinyl Record Revival, Smokin' Eagle BBQ & Brew, and on the symphony's website here.

This concert is made possible, in part, by the NYS Council on the Arts with the support of Gov. Andrew Cuomo and the NYS Legislature.

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