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The Music Store is closing, but music is not leaving the village

19 Sep

When The Music Store in the Village of Webster closes later this week, it doesn’t mean that music services will be leaving town … at least not for very long.  

John Bucci, owner of The Music Store, will be closing his doors for the last time this Thursday, Sept. 23. After 32 years running his East Main Street shop, working 10-hour days, six days a week, John has decided to move on to other challenges. (Click here to read more about John and his decision to close the shop.) 

But have no fear, music lovers, village music services will not be leaving entirely.  

Bob Storey, The Music Store’s longtime master repair technician, will be moving into the location, expanding from his 400-square-foot “office” in the building’s basement into the 3,000 square-foot storefront. Given all that extra space, he’s thinking about expanding his repair services beyond stringed instruments, and offer limited retail, including repair parts and accessories.

And even more exciting, very tentative plans are in the works to perhaps turn the front of the storefront into a coffee shop!

When Bob learned about John’s plans to close his business, it didn’t take him long to realize what he had to do.

“When John told us he was closing the store, it was a complete surprise,” he remembered. “But my brain went into overdrive. What are we going to do? Where are we going to get strings, where are we going to get picks? Where we gonna get straps?”

Then, he thought, “Wait a minute. Step up to the plate. Make it happen.” 

Like the hundreds of musicians young and old who have patronized The Music Store for decades, Bob knew how important it is to have a music store presence in the village. He knew that losing The Music Store would create a huge hole in the village music scene.

He said,

This town needs music. John can’t do it. He’s getting to a point where he’s got too much else in his life and it’s taking too much out of him…. So the cage door just opens up and he walks right out. I told him I want him to be able to pull the plug on the way out and I’ll plug it right back in after you leave. 

I want to keep music in this town. It’s too important. With all the weirdness and crap that goes on in our everyday lives, music is the one beautiful thing. We don’t even realize how important it is. It’s ubiquitous but we take it for granted. I want that to stay here.  

Bob hopes to have his new repair shop up and running by Oct. 1. If plans for the coffee shop can be worked out, he’d like to get that operating by the end of October.  

This is exciting news for the Village of Webster, but it’s still sad to see The Music Store closing. Long-time patrons are still having trouble coming to grips with the news. But I think we’re all happy to see that John is leaving on his own terms, not driven out by slow sales or the pandemic, and we wish him the best in his new endeavors.

I’m not a musician myself, so I’ve never done a whole lot of shopping there (except for gifts for my musician son). But I will especially miss seeing the beautiful decorations John put in his front window every Christmas: the shiny instruments and the model train chugging around the tracks, which reminded me of my childhood and certainly made many a memory for today’s children.

There’s still some time to catch some really good deals this week. Check out The Music Store Facebook page for details on the latest specials. And make sure to stop in this week to shake John’s hand and thank him for years of great service, great products, friendly atmosphere and support of all the musicians in our community.

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A visit with the “North Ave. Artist”

18 Sep

Brandon Schafer is not your typical artist.

Sure, like most artists, he’s passionate about his craft, and he’s quite talented. Plus, like any serious artist, he’d REALLY like to make some money from his artwork.

But what is unusual about Brandon is HOW he’s going about that “making money” part. 

Several afternoons a week, you’ll see Brandon sitting outside his North Ave. home, surrounded by a dozen or so of his original works of art. It’s his own personal art gallery, an invitation to passers-by to stop and browse, and perhaps make a purchase. 

Brandon, a 2016 Webster Schroeder grad, has been setting up his art gallery three or four days a week (weather permitting) for a year, usually by 5 p.m. to catch the after-work traffic. The idea came to him last summer, during one of his regular Saturday stints at the Public Market.

“I was originally going to the Market,” he said. “I figured, why not try in my hometown?”

His unusual marketing effort has been somewhat successful, especially in the first few weeks when it was unusual to see an art gallery set up along busy North Ave.

“I think people first started seeing it, I had, like, seven, eight, nine people stop by,” he said. Business has slowed since, but he still gets customers regularly pulling over or stopping by on their walks to check out his work. 

Brandon has been dabbling in art most of his life, but only really started painting seriously a few years ago. His chosen medium is spray paint. That might immediately make you picture the big, bold and colorful strokes of graffiti artists. But while Brandon’s art is certainly as bold and bright as graffiti, his work on much smaller canvases — anywhere from 11″ x 14″ to 36″ x 36″ — takes some special skills to perfect detail and nuance.

Those details, and the fantastical, out-of-this world subjects and landscapes that Brandon creates are what’s stopping people in their tracks.

“A lot of people ask me if I do drugs when they see my paintings,” he said. “I just have a creative imagination. I like to paint things that are different that you wouldn’t see anywhere else. Something that makes you say, ‘wow.’ … Paintings that aren’t just paintings. Something that speaks to you when you look at it.”

My art is a way to escape, per se. If I was having a bad day I would go make an art piece. It would be my way of getting my stress out. I like to also think of it as an outlet for my creativity to expand. I started with little pieces … I was originally scared to do (bigger pieces) but you have to dive into it. If you let fear get in the way that’s where you’ll fall short. 

If you’d like to learn more about Brandon Schafer and his art, or ask him about his custom work, check him out on Instagram at or email him at He also sets up shop at the Public Market almost every Saturday.

And of course you can keep an eye out for him at his home, 86 North Ave. He expects to be out there at least through the end of October.

“I’ll sit there in a Carhartt jacket and sell if I have to,” he said. 

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Announcing some Webster on the Web improvements

12 Sep

In an effort to make Webster on the Web an ever more valuable source of local news and information, I’ve decided to try something new.

You’ll see that at the top and in the side rail of my Webster on the Web homepage I’ve posted links to two brand new sub-pages, titled “Local Links” and “Village Directory.” (If you’re reading this on your phone, you’ll find the links in the “Menu” button on top, or all the way at the bottom of the page.)

The Local Links is separated into three sections: Local Government, Community Agencies and Churches. Each listing within these sections has a hyperlink leading straight to that organization’s website (or at least that’s what I tried to do).

On the Village Directory page, I’ve made the effort to map as many village businesses as I could. To make the maps less cluttered, I’ve separated them into three categories: Retail Shops, Professional Services, Eat and Drink and Park. When you click through to the map (using one of two links), and hover over a dot, it will tell you what the business is and its address.

I did my best to be as accurate and inclusive as possible, but after you’ve had a chance to poke around a bit, if you see anything you think I should add, please email me!

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Webster community mailbag

8 Sep

So I took a few days off from the blog, which means I have several items backed up in my mailbox I have to let you know about. Let’s get right to it.

Vanetta and Monique at the Village Quilt Shoppe will be celebrating their little shop’s second aniversary this weekend, Friday Sept. 10 and Saturday Sept. 11.

Activities include:

• A trunk show by Ruthann Stillwell showcasing her and Susan Rooney’s patterns
• a demo calss featuring a curved table runner with no bindings
• Lots of specials, a raffle and refreshments

Attendees are asked to reserve a spot so Vanetta and Monique know how many people to expect. Just call them at 585-626-6916 or email them. Or better yet, stop in to reserve your spot.

The Village Quilt Shoppe is located at 21 East Main St., at the corner of Lapham Park.

Kiddie Academy of Webster, a daycare facility on Phillips Rd., will host a free STEM Adventures event for families and children on Saturday Sept. 11 from 10:30 to 12:30 p.m. Participants will explore the world of science, technology, engineering and math through age-appropriate and fun activities.

Registration is requested. Click here to do so and to learn more.

Kiddke Academy of Webster is located at 369 Phillips Rd.

Friday and Saturday Sept. 17 and 18 are going to be big days in the village.

We already know that the Webster Jazz Fest will be returning those days, with music in the pubs Friday night and music in the street Saturday. But I also just learned that there will also be GAMES in the street on Friday night, as the village hosts is second Family Game Night and Beer Garden that evening.

The first Family Games Night on July 30 was very well received, so this second one will feature all the same fun. From 6 to 9 p.m., West Main will be closed and filled with with activities including Dancing with Denise for the kids, sidewalk chalk, Giant Jenga, Giant Connect Four, Corn Hole, cookie decorating, food and drinks. So basically, you can pop int the pubs for some music, then out onto the street for some games. It should be a great evening for the whole family.

Stay tuned for more information about a THIRD Family Game Night scheduled for October 16, which will also feature music by Rochester’s Premier Oktoberfest Band The Krazy Firemen, who’ll be performing all evening.

For more information about all these events and more, visit the Webster BID website.

St. Martin Lutheran Chuch, 813 Bay Rd., will hold their Fall Chicken BBQ on Saturday, Sept. 25 from 4:30 until they’re sold out. Dinners will cost $10 and include a half chicken, salt potatoes, coleslaw, roll, and butter.

The event this year will be drive-thru only, and there will be no advance sales. The event will be first come, first served. Cars will enter the parking lot, follow the signs, and purchase dinners, using exact payment only, please. Cars will then proceed to the front entrance to pick up the boxed dinners.

Dinners will be assembled according to CDC recommendations. Due to current health restrictions, pie slices and other desserts will not be available.

Proceeds will support St. Martin’s annual Christmas Stocking Project, which reaches more than 500 young people in Monroe and Wayne counties.

ROC & Soul Fitness will be hosting an open house on Saturday Oct. 9 from 9 a.m. to noon.

This is a great opportunity to check out the studio, meet the owners, see some classes in action or even take an introductoy class. Visitors can get a tour of the studio and spa area, and try a free Introduction Barre Class at 11 a.m.

You can also take a chance to win a 5-class Fitness Bundle and a 5-pack for ROC & Soul’s Melt Saunas.

ROC & Soul Fitness is located at 44 E. Main Street, in the lower level shops behind Jojo Bistro.

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New music festival will benefit ALS awareness

2 Sep

One thing I’ve learned about Webster in the years I’ve lived here is that when someone needs help, this community rallies around them, big time.

OK, make that TWO things: Webster loves its music.

Both of those truths will be on full display on Saturday, Sept. 11 at a brand new music festival called Webster Rocks for ALS Awareness. The event is being held in part to benefit Kacie Jones, a former Coach Sports Bar employee who was diagnosed with ALS two years ago.

The event website explains,

Kacie is a 30-year Rochester/Webster young man who has ALS (Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis). He is in a fight for his life; a day-to-day battle to do even the simplest of tasks that most of us take for granted. On Saturday, Sept 11, we will come together for Kacie and others struggling to live with and fight ALS. Let’s help Kacie and his family raise awareness for ALS, provide alternative treatments, and bring about a possible cure for this disease.

Funds raised will also benefit Healing ALS, an organization dedicated to supporting awareness, research and care for those suffering from ALS.

The festival will be held on Saturday Sept. 11 beginning at 2 p.m. at the Webster Firemen’s Field on Ridge Rd. Food trucks will be on hand from 3 to 8 p.m., and alcohol sales will be provided by the Coach Sports Bar.

An incredible music line-up starts at 3 p.m., featuring Anthony Blood and Brody Schenk, State Line, Brass Taxi, Dial Up, and M80s. (Check the website for more details about the schedule.)

Tickets are $20 in advance (available from the Coach Sports Bar, 19 W. Main in Webster) and Eventbrite (but they charge fees, so stop by the Coach to save money). They’re still looking for volunteers, too, so ask about that when you’re picking up your tickets.

To read more about Kacie and his brave battle with this disease, check out this great story posted on WHEC-TV in March.

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News from the library

1 Sep

This month’s Webster Public Library Artist’s Wall features some good friends of mine and the incredible, life-changing nonprofit they have built from scratch, Bella’s Bumbas.

Marty Parzynski and Rebecca Orr began their business back in 2017. Their neice Bella had been born in 2015 with spina bifida, which caused paralysis of her lower limbs. Troubled by Bella’s inability to move around and interact with other children, they did a little research and found how to make a toddler-sized wheelchair using a commercially-available “Bumbo” infant seat and a child’s bicycle tires. Marty got to work, and before long had built one for his niece. He called it “Bella’s Bumba.”

When word started spreading about what Marty had done and how it had changed Bella’s life, he and Rebecca started getting requests for Bella’s Bumbas from other parents. So they set up a workshop in the garage and started to mass-produce the wheelchairs, using mostly donated parts. They asked families only to cover the shipping costs.

To date, Marty and Rebecca and their army of volunteers have built and shipped more than 2000 chairs to 46 countries, and counting.

Next time you’re at the library, stop by the wall, read more about their story, and check out the photos of some of the thousands of children whose lives have been changed by Bella’s Bumbas.

The display will be up through September.

Kindergartners and first graders and their favorite adults are invited to celebrate the end of summer with a Back-to-School Storytime on Thursday Sept. 2 at 11 a.m.

Listen to some special books and do a school-related craft to get into the school spirit! Please register each child individually so the library can keep the number small. Caregivers should not register but are required to attend with their children. Please remember your masks!

Speaking of storytimes … as long as the weather is being so nice, outdoor storytimes are continuing.

Every Thursday at 10 a.m. through October, storytimes will be held at the Harmony Park amphitheater, 10 Foster Drive (off of Phillips Rd.). PLUS, Tuesday evenings in September are family fun nights. Bring the whole family on Sept. 14, 21 and 28 from 5 to 7 p.m. for music and games with Webster Parks & Recreation, with storytime at 6 p.m. On the 14th, Bay Vista Taqueria food truck will be there, too.

Registration is not necessary but requested for the outdoor storytimes so they have an idea how many to expect. Click here to register for Sept. 14 and visit the Webster Library website to register for the others.

Now that the kids are back in school, how ’bout we adults take some time for ourselves? Check out these adult programs coming up at the library in September:

  • Sept. 14, 2 p.m.: Travelogue- Beautiful Medieval Towns of Brittany and Normandy, France
  • Sept. 15, 7 p.m.: Creating Paper Flowers with Linda & Katrina
  • Sept. 28, 1 p.m.: Legal Assistance for Seniors
  • Sept. 30, 3 p.m.: Libby Tips & Tricks via Zoom

Descriptions and registration links for these programs and more can be found on the library website.

Here’s a teaser about a couple of other fun youth programs in the works:

  • Make it Monday, Sept. 13: Pom Pom Cacti Night
  • Family Friday Campout, Friday Oct. 1

Visit the library website for more information and to register

Finally, the library is updating its hours for fall.

Beginning Tuesday, September 7 the library will be open Monday through Thursday 9 a.m. to 8 p.m., Friday and
Saturday 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

The Webster Public Library is located at 980 Ridge Rd., at the back of Webster Plaza.

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An open letter to Danny and Jessica Barry

29 Aug

Dear Danny and Jess,

I wanted to send you this heartfelt congratulations and thank you for your wonderful Irish Festival yesterday.

Jack and I got there right when the gates opened to catch the early entertainment and right away were very impressed by what we saw. There were food vendors, the beer truck (of course), plenty of tables to sit at or hay bales to perch on, and lots more room to set up your chairs and blankets.

The entertainment line-up was packed with many of the pub’s most popular entertainers, and the Irish dance schools were a special treat.

I LOVED the kids’ lemonade stand (and Mom’s homemade cookies) and kids’ activity area. I didn’t try them out for myself, but I was tempted by the lawn games (giant Jenga, cornhole, and I even saw some hurling and Kan Jam in the back). And the vendors! So many of them with some really neat stuff. We were especially pleased to be able to reconnect with and support our old Irish Import Shop friends. (And I got some Christmas shopping done!)

Seeing old friends like that was one of the best things about the day. Of course all of the Barry’s regulars were there, but so were members of the Rochester Irish community whom we hadn’t seen in forever.

This day drew the Irish community together like no other I’ve seen in years. It had the comfortable, welcoming feel of the original Rochester Irish Festival back in the 1990s, and is something our community has needed for a long time. That was easy to see by scanning the crowd. Green t-shirts, dresses and leggings were clearly the uniform of the day as festival attendees proudly put their Irish heritage on display.

By the way, I don’t know how you did it, but you dialed up some ideal weather. Earlier in the week the weatherdudes said there was a possibility of thunderstorms, but clearly Irish eyes were smiling on you. Sure, the heat was a little oppressive when you were sitting out in the sun (can you work on that next year?) but all you had to do was keep moving your hay bale or quad chair a little more to the east to stay in the shade.

Thank you also to all the volunteers who helped set up, man the parking lot in stifling heat, provided security, checked guests in, handled concessions and managed a hundred other tasks. As far as I could see, there was nary a glitch in the planning.

Basically — and I steal this thought from a friend — the Barry’s Old School Irish Festival pretty much was Barry’s West for a day. All of the friends, community, good food, good drink and good music we have come to expect from Barry’s were there, just like we find every week at the pub … just more spread out.

I know that was the vibe you were going for. So basically, you nailed it.

It’s no coincidence that as we turned off of 260 and followed the line of cars past the corn fields to your farm, the first thing I thought of was that scene from Field of Dreams. “If you build it, they will come.”

Well, you did, they did, and it was definitely a dream come true.

Well done, my friends. We’re already looking forward to next year’s festival, and hope to become more involved, with an eye perhaps to turning it into a two-day event?

Love, Missy

Here are a few photos from the wonderful day (taken from the Barry’s Old School Irish Facebook page). Visit the page to see more.

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…and some positive business news

27 Aug

I know that yesterday’s blog about The Music Store closing hit some people hard. So perhaps this might soften the blow a bit:

Just across the street from The Music Store, Village HandWorks will finally open on Saturday Aug. 28 at 10 a.m.

This brand new shop, at 19 East Main St., will feature original hand-crafted goods, and supplies for weaving, knitting, sewing, and other handicrafts. Owner Jenn Ratcliffe will also be offering classes for anyone wanting to learn a new craft or practice their skills. A large comfy counch at the back of the shop will also welcome crafters who just want to sit and stitch and share their projects.

Even if you’re not a crafter yourself, how about poping in and saying hi to the Village’s newest small business owner, and welcome her to the Village family.

Village HandWorks is located at 19 East Main, right next door to the Village Quilt Shoppe.

While you’re out and about on Saturday, be sure to stop by the Webster Public Library for the Friends’ final Summer Pop Up Book Sale.

Weather permitting, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., the Friends will have tables in the library parking lot filled with all kinds of books for the entire family. This will be a Bring Your Own Bag Sale — fill your bag with gently used books for just $3, or two bags for $5. (Cash or check only please.) They REALLY need to get rid of these books to make room for more, so bring several bags!

BLOG UPDATE! Because the weather looks a little iffy on Saturday, the book sale has been moved inside the library. So do not worry if it’s a little rainy … the sale WILL GO ON!

The Friends of the Public Library would like to thank the community for their amazing support over this past summer. All funds raised from the sale will support library initiatives.

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The Music Store is closing

26 Aug
The Music Store is located at 18 East Main St., Webster

After 32 years anchoring the Village of Webster’s East Main Street business scene, The Music Store is closing. 

Owner John Bucci announced the news on his Facebook page last weekend. Every day since, he’s been fielding comments and customers who are surprised and saddened by the news. But everyone can take some consolation from the fact that neither Covid nor slow sales has driven John’s decision. Instead, he said, “It’s time, just plain and simple.” 

“It’s hard to do retail all these years,” he said. “I’ve been thinking about it, thinking of an exit plan, which means I was halfway out the door anyway.”

“I’m going out on my terms.” 

John doesn’t know yet what life has in store for him next, but he definitely wants to move on from the day-to-day grind of retail. One thing he’s especially looking forward to is being “excited about playing my instruments again.” 

The enjoyment part gets burned out from the business part. I’m looking forward to wanting to pick up my instruments again. To go downstairs and an hour and a half goes by, practicing, playing for enjoyment, getting my chops back im looking forward to that inspiration again.

I’m surrounded by (music) every day, 12 hours a day, so to continue to go home and play for two hours is just an extension of the job. That’s not enjoyable.  

He does know that he won’t be selling the business; it would be too difficult to find someone to buy into all the inventory and long hours. That means everything has to go, and he’s already started marking prices down. Students who need to rent an instrument for school will find some especially good deals. 

“All those rental instruments have to go,” John said, and he has a lot of them. Parents will be able to pick one up for less than what they would have paid for a year-long rental.    

Like the long-time customers who are stopping by to pay their respects, John has fond memories from his history in the village. Like when the village held its first White Christmas celebration many years ago. 

“We had a huge snowstorm…I built a snowman out front, I used a guitar speaker for a hat. That seems like it happened last year.”

When pressed about how it feels to have been such an integral part of the Village business scene for so long, John was at a loss for words. On his Facebook page, however, customers and friends are having no problem expressing exactly what his store has meant for Webster:

  • “John is hands down one of the nicest and honest people I have ever dealt with. He and his store will be greatly missed.”
  • “John, you have put your heart and soul into the Music Store. You have touched so many people with your passion for music.”
  • You met all of our kids’ musical needs from preschool through senior year.”
  • “The store has been a musical cornerstone of mine for the better part of 30 years.” 
  • “John has been great to work with and I will treasure the guitars I bought there as well as his friendly support.” 

But perhaps this comment sums it up best: 

  • “This is one of the only cool places left in the area.”  

Thank you for being such an integral part of the Village of Webster family for so long, John. We will miss you , but we all wish you the best in the next chapter of your life.

The Music Store is located at 18 E. Main St. in the Village of Webster. Stop by, say hi to John and get some great deals.

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Barry’s Irish Festival just a week away

22 Aug

It’s almost time to get your Irish on at the Barry’s Old School Irish Festival, coming up next Saturday.

Danny and Jessica Barry — owners of Barry’s Old School Irish in the Village of Webster and two of my favorit-est people ever — have been working for months with a dedicated team of volunteers, pulling together a thousand little details in preparation for this second-annual event (if you don’t count last Covid year).

Organizing an Irish Festival was a dream of theirs since Danny and Jess opened their little pub 10 years ago. Just before their first festival in 2019, Jess told me (and I’m sure the sentiment hasn’t changed):

This has been a goal/dream of ours … having a fun-filled day celebrating our proud Irish heritage. A day where families can bond, kids can learn about Irish culture in an interactive setting, where friends can gather, where everyone can come away with new friends and make great memories together.

“Our most important goal,” she added, “is to take the warmth and love of our little Irish Pub on 2 West Main Street and bring it to our farm/our home for the day.” 

Barry’s Old School Irish Festival 2021 is scheduled for Saturday Aug. 28 from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m., on the Barry family farm out in Hilton, 2668 Brick Schoolhouse Rd., which they call the “Barry Patch.” Highlights include arts and crafts vendors, food and beer trucks, and live music all day long.

True to its family-friendly nature, there will also be a great kids’ area, with farm animals, something which Jess is really looking forward to.

Click here  for lots more details, but on Saturday you can expect:

  • entertainment from Kevin Reynolds, Himself, Dave North, Everheart, Celtic Cross, 1916 and a live Irish jam session
  • dancers from the Jamieson School of Irish Dance and the Young School of Irish Dance
  • food trucks and ice cream
  • an Irish beer truck, bottled beers and wine
  • kids’ activities
  • lawn games
  • Irish whiskey samples
  • giveaways and other specials

Tickets are $17 in advance and $20 at the gate (children 15 and under are free). Presale tickets can be purchased at the pub, 2 West Main Street in the Village of Webster. You can also purchase tickets online here. (Use the promo code “pints” for a special discount!)

A portion of the proceeds will be donated to the Webster Volunteer Fire Dept. and the future Rochester Irish Community Center.

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