Tag Archives: Chorus of the Genesee

Webster community mailbag

1 Apr

I’m going to lead today’s mailbag with a few items from the Webster Public Library. They’ve always got a lot of really neat stuff going on.

For starters, when I stopped in the other day I saw that the Friends of the Library are selling some rockin’ t-shirts as a fundraiser. For $15 you can be as cool as these library staff members/models:

Coming up on April 11, the library will be celebrating National Barbersop Quartet Day by hosting an online concert featuring three local barbershop quartets. Webster is lucky to be home to an outstanding barbershop society, the Chorus of the Genesee, so you know they’re going to be a part of this. Two of the performances you’ll see that day were filmed at the Chorus’ home base, the Harmony House.

The concert will be streamed live at 3 p.m., Sunday April 11. It will also be available any time after that time to watch, but it’ll be neat to watch it live, so mark your calendar.

Here’s a brief round-up of this month’s adult prgrams at the library:

  • Favorite Cruises & Ports of Call Travelogue, Tuesday, April 6, 3 p.m.
    Webster resident John Bustard will be the guide in a visit to the British Isles, Italy, Greece, the Panama Canal, Alaska and the Caribbean.
  • Interested in Serving as a Library Trustee? Wednesday, April 7, 7 p.m.
    Learn about the basic functions and responsibilities of a trustee, and listen and ask questions of our current Board members.
  • Herb Gardening: An Online Program, Tuesday, April 13, 7 p.m.
    Participants will learn the benefits of herb growing from their beauty and use in cooking, to their medicinal uses and healing properties.
  • Debt: An Online Presentation (Part 1 of the Financial Series), Wednesday, April 14, 7 p.m.
    Learn simple strategies for living debt free and making smart decisions.
  • Home Ownership: Choosing to Buy Versus Rent (Part 2 of the Financial Series), Wednesday, April 21, 7 p.m. Discusses the pros and cons of owning your home ownership vs. renting.
  • Planning for Retirement: An Online Presentation (Part 3 of the Financial Series) Thursday, April 29, 7 p.m.
    Covers the basics of retirement including financial concerns, phases of saving, financial lessons and more.

These programs are all free and open to the public but registration is required. Visit the Webster Public Library website for more information and registration. A Zoom invitation will be sent (via email) the day before the program to everyone who has registered.

I have Webster Online to thank for these next few news items. If you haven’t checked out this new(ish) news website yet, click here to take a look Or you can always find a link over there on the right side of the blog. There’s a lot of great information there (and a weekly link to my blog).

Knights of Columbus moves out of Barrett Drive

After 40 years in their same location on Barrett Drive across from the post office, the Webster Knights of Columbus Center is moving.

As with many changes taking place in the last year, Covid-19 is the culprit. Thanks to the pandemic, the Knights lost a lot of revenue from community events they would normally host. The financial hit was just too much to manage, resulting in the difficult decision to move.

Fortunately, the Knights will not be moving far. Their new home will be in the old Holy Trinity School annex on Ridge Rd. just east of the village. They hope to open the new location sometime this summer and continue the great work they do for our community.

Town Board in-person meetings return

Beginning April 1 all Town Board meetings will reopen to the public — with restrictions, of course.

To participate in person, visitors must wear a mask and maintain social distance at all times. Seating will be limited inside the board room and visitors will be rotated in as necessary, based on cppacity.

Meetings will still be available for viewing live on Spectrum Channel 1303 or on the Town’s website. There continue to be opportunities for public comment during the meetings by calling 585-872-7011. Or, residents can submit comments and questions using the online Board Meeting Comment Form.

Village of Webster Board meetings are still being held via Zoom. For more information and links, visit the Village of Webster website.

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Happy Valentines Day from the library and Chorus of the Genesee

14 Feb

Here’s a special Valentine’s Day treat from the Chorus of the Genesee, courtesy Laureen and Doreen of the Webster Public Library.

These two lovely ladies are hostesses of the library’s very informative “Let’s Explore Webster!” video series, in which they highlight local places of interest. In their most recent video, they take us inside the Harmony House, located at 58 East Main St. in the village.

In the video, Harmony House manager Brian Moore gives us a tour of this gorgeous historic building. It’s now used mostly as home to the Chorus of the Genesee and its barbershop quartets, but is often rented out by musical and dance groups for performances and other special events.

The Valentine’s treat is offered in the middle of the video, when one of the Chorus’ quartets regails us with two beautiful love songs in flawless four-part harmony. Those performances, and the entire Harmony House tour, should not be missed.

Click here to see the video on the Webster Public Library’s YouTube channel. Then spend some time taking a look at some of the other videos Laureen and Doreen have posted. (I’m even featured in one of them.) You might learn something about our town you never knew before.

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email me  at missyblog@gmail.com“Like” this blog on Facebook and follow me on Twitter. You can also get email notifications every time I post a new blog by using the “Follow Me” link on the right side of this page.

Chorus of the Genesee is driven to perform despite COVID

1 Dec

Nothing, not even a global pandemic, was going to stop Webster’s own Chorus of the Genesee from making beautiful music.

The Chorus, which normally rehearses every week at the Harmony House in the Village of Webster, has found a creative way to continue their rehearsals while maintaining safe social distancing.

Like many of the chapters in the district, the Chorus has been meeting regularly via Zoom. But since mid-October, the’ve also been gathering in a parking lot off of East Main Street for live, stay-in-your-car rehearsals.

Steve Caso, the 2021 Chorus of the Genesee’s incoming president, knows his way around IT, and set up a system of wireless mics that broadcast to a specific FM station on everyone’s car radio. (The frequency, 91.1, is a jazz station out of Toronto. Anyone in Webster who might have tried to tune them in on Tuesday nights might have heard the rehearsal.)

Ten Chorus members attended rehearsal last Tuesday night, their cars arranged in a semi-circle in the parking lot. They surrounded Music Director Steve Link, who wore small lights on his hands so they would show up in the dark. He’s the only unfortunate Chorus member who has to brave the cold, while everyone else stays in their warm cars.

The Chorus is preparing for a virtual holiday season contest on Dec. 17 called Holidays in Harmony. It will feature choruses, quartets, special guests and celebrity judges, all presented via Zoom. Stay tuned for more information about that.

Be prepared for a surprise or two with this event, too. Chorus President Dave Bay wrote,

Like all barbershoppers, our visual impact is as important in the delivery of a song as the singing, which is clearly a challenge when each of us is in a vehicle in the evening.

We’ll be unveiling our solution to this dilemma, inspired by the challenges posted by COVID: car-eography (as delivered by the Car-us of the Genesee).

The Chorus of the Genesee is a non-profit, educational organization devoted to preserving the original American art form of Barbershop Harmony. The Chorus rehearses in Webster, New York, but performs all over the greater Rochester area. A portion of their proceeds support both local and national service projects.

For more information about the Chorus, check their website.

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The Chorus of the Genesee wants to make some “Connections”

15 May

Lyric-webpage-Chorus-genesee-2019-500X500The Chorus of the Genesee, Webster’s very own barbershop harmony chorus, has announced that its annual spring show, called “Connections,” has been scheduled for May 18.

Under the direction of Steve Link, the show will feature two acts. In act one, the chorus shares a variety of ways we can be connected through song. Audience members will have an opportunity to participate, and will undoubtedly recognize several of the songs, which will include “Can’t Stop the Feeling!,” “How Can I Miss You If You Won’t Go Away?,” and “Why Are All the Songs? (The Rochester Song).”

The Rush-Henrietta High School Barbershop Chorus will be featured in this act, as well as chapter quartets A-Chording to Us and Homecoming.

The second act will first feature the Rochester area quartet FUSION, six-time Harmony Incorporated International medalists. Headlining the second act is Ontario’s Premier Barbershop Quartet, ‘Shoptimus Prime, 2015 International Collegiate Silver Medalists. Members Michael La Scala, Michael Black, Joel La Scala, and Tom Mifflin are from New York and Ontario, Canada.

Director Steve Link said,

The best part about the theme for this year’s show is right in the title.  “Connections” is a program that celebrates the connections that the Chorus of the Genesee has among its members, the community, and other ensembles locally and across borders. The show also comes at a time when community ensemble singing is less common than ever before, and even the sense of community between individuals is less common as well.

In previous years, the Chorus’ spring shows have been held at Penfield High School. But this year it’s being held at the Lyric Theatre on East Ave. for the first time. The hope is that the more centrally-located venue will attract more music lovers from the Greater Rochester community.

Connections will take the stage at 7 p.m. on Saturday, May 18 at the Lyric Theatre, 440 East Ave., Rochester. Tickets are $16 in advance, $18 at the door, and $14 for students and groups of 10 or more. They can be purchased online through the Lyric Theatre’s website or at Rochester area Wegman’s Supermarkets.

For more information, call (585) 256-0444, or click here.

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Sharing Christmas joy in the village

19 Dec

The week before Christmas has become one of the most musical weeks of the entire year in the Village of Webster.

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On Monday night, Robyn Whittaker, hairdresser extraordinaire, special event organizer, village cheerleader and all around good egg, hosted her third annual Christmas Carol Debacle. Robyn provides pizza and assorted spiked and non-spiked beverages for the event, which drew a big crowd of about 20 people this year, despite the promise of bracing winter winds .

The tuneful group stopped first at Rubino’s to serenade the employees and diners there. Then they wandered through a few east-side village streets, stopping at perhaps a half dozen other houses before heading back to The Coach via Burke’s Grill and The Bistro.

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The following evening, the Chorus of the Genesee took to many of those same streets for their annual Soup and Carol Night. The group was quite a bit larger — numbering maybe 30 or more (I never got an actual count), the weather much more comfortable and the signing voices much more in tune.

The first stop, as it has been every year, was Webster Eye Care Associates, which is pretty much across the street from the Harmony House. The folks there have hosted the annual visit from the Chorus carolers for 24 years, and this year greeted the singers with doughnut holes, hot chocolate and gift bags.

A second regular stop is the Cataldi home, where there’s always hot cider for the Chorus carolers. These folks always have a holiday party that evening as well, complete with instruments, and gather on the porch to perform a carol of their own (this year it was Mele Kalikimaka, accompanied by ukuleles).

My running club, Barry’s Runners, also helped spread some holiday spirit Tuesday evening, with our third (maybe fourth) JACK Foundation Run.

The JACK Foundation, formed in memory of young Jack Heiligman who lost his life in a tragic accident in October 2016. The foundation’s goal is to remember Jack’s giving spirit by passing on random acts of kindness.

Tuesday night, the Barry’s Runners did that — literally. We collected $200 in gift cards from places like Dunkin’ Donuts, Yolickity, CVS, the Apple Store, Wegmans and of course Barry’s Old School Irish, and while we ran through the village neighborhoods, we handed them to strangers or hung them on doorknobs and mailboxes. Perhaps you were one of the lucky people to find one this morning. If so, please make sure to pass on the kindness.

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White Christmas in the Village is this weekend

26 Nov

OK folks, now that Thanksgiving is in the rear-view mirror, it’s time to get down to some real holiday celebrating. And it starts this weekend with the Village of Webster’s White Christmas.

fire truck

This annual festival, which takes place this year on Saturday Dec. 1, features horse-drawn wagon rides, a bounce house, cookie decorating, storytelling, carolers, Santa (of course), and the always very popular Electric Parade.

Everything begins at 3 p.m. with activities for adults and children throughout the village. The official schedule looks like this:

3 to 6 p.m. — Horse-drawn wagon rides through the village
3 to 6 p.m. — Bounce House on Main Street
4 to 5:45 p.m. — Santa Claus at the Village Hall
4 p.m. — Storytelling at Yesterday’s Muse Book Store
4 p.m. — Cookie decorating
4:30 p.m. — Rochester Rhapsody Carolers
5 p.m. — Church of the Good Shepherd Chime Bell Choir on Main Street

And do not forget to stop by the Webster Museum that afternoon as well to check out — and vote for — some beautiful miniature Christmas trees.

santaThe Electric Parade will begin at 6:30 p.m. at Phillips Road and head west down Main Street. This spectacular parade features fire engines, floats and marching bands, all draped in thousands of twinkling Christmas lights. You’ll definitely want to bring the kids, but dress warm, and pack a thermos of hot chocolate, because this is a pretty long parade. Fireworks will follow the parade at 8:15.

(Click here to see a gallery of photos from last year’s White Christmas celebration.)

By the way, don’t forget to start out that morning with a hot breakfast, served up by the Chorus of the Genesee.

The Chorus will be hosting their third annual Breakfast with Santa, from 9:30 to 11:30 a.m. at the Harmony House, 58 East Main Street in Webster.

Breakfast will be cooked and served, music will be provided by the Chorus of the Genesee, and of course, Santa will be there! Tickets are just $5 each, with a maximum of $20 per family. To purchase a photo with Santa is just $20.

For more information or to make reservations, call (585) 265-9540.

This is a good chance to visit with Santa before everyone else descends on him when he’s at Village Hall later in the day.

AND BY THE WAY …

When you’re in the village this weekend, make sure to visit some of our village businesses and knock off some Christmas shopping. Two brand new stores opened recently on East Main Street, The Pickled Paintbrush and Lala: Laugh and Love, Always.  And on Saturday a third new business came to town, The North Bee on North Ave. This cute shop offers local honey and hand-crafted items made from beeswax. I’ll be blogging more about them later this week, so stay tuned!

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Santa is coming to town! Here’s where to see him.

16 Nov

santa jim 2

Santa Jim with some young friends at Village Hall last year. 

I exchanged a few emails with Santa last night (yes, he has email; it is the 21st century, after all), and got the down-low on when you and your kids will be able to catch him around town in the next few weeks.

And when you won’t.

First, the “won’t.” Anyone who has been used to catching Santa at Webster Towne Center plaza (Kohl’s plaza) every holiday season will be be disappointed to hear that the plaza will not be hosting him this year.

But as I mentioned in a previous blog, Santa will be at St. Martin’s Church on Bay Rd. on Friday Nov. 30 for their Christmas celebration. He’ll read a story, there’s cookie decorating and free pizza…Scroll down to see Wednesdays’s post, or click  here for more details.

On Saturday Dec. 1 he’ll greet children at Webster Village Hall from 4 to 5:45 p.m. Then he has to get ready to take a ride on a fire truck for the Electric Parade down Main Street, which begins at 6 p.m. You don’t want to miss this one.

Of course the area shopping malls are always a good place to catch Santa, and as far as I know, our very own Santa Jim is still spending some time in the Santa chair at Eastview.

You can also catch Santa (but not Santa Jim), by the way, at the Chorus of the Genesee’s Breakfast with Santa on Saturday Dec. 1 from 9:30 to 11 a.m. I’ll have more information about that soon.  Click here to get tickets for that.

I also spent a few minutes last night looking back on the column and follow-up blog I wrote about Jim Lockwood, or as I affectionately know him, “Santa Jim.” If there’s a holiday event in Webster, chances are he’s the Santa in the chair. If you’re at all interested in a behind-the scenes look at Webster’s best-known St. Nick, including the training involved and how many kids tug on his beard (the answer might surprise you), click here for the blog I wrote following my meeting with him. It’s really pretty interesting.

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Chorus of the Genesee announces annual show

10 May

chorusWebster’s own Chorus of the Genesee will present its annual spring show on Saturday May 19 at Penfield High School.

In addition to performances by the Chorus and its quartets Notably Yours, The Reception and ROC-in Harmony, this year’s show will feature special guests the University of Rochester YellowJackets, and The Core.

The show is called Diagnosis: Audio Delusions, and will be performed in two acts. In act one, the chorus tells the story of Charlie, a young man who hears a barbershop chorus every time he becomes emotional. As he plans a marriage proposal, his condition is exacerbated. Songs in the set include “Sweet Caroline,” “How Can I Miss You if You Won’t Go Away?” and “That’s Life.”

The second act will first feature the University of Rochester YellowJackets. Having gained national notoriety on season 3 of NBC’s “The Sing Off,” this men’s a cappella group continues to travel the world performing. Also featured in the second act is The Core, 12th place Barbershop Harmony Society International qualifiers. Members Mike Nesler, John Van Gorder, Mike Hull, and Steve Denino are traveling from the Columbus, Ohio area to join the show.

Diagnosis: Audio Delusions will take the stage at 7 p.m. Saturday, May 19 at the Penfield High School Auditorium, 25 High School Dr., Penfield. Tickets are $16 in advance, $18 at the door, and $12 for groups of 10 or more. For more information, call (585) 265-9540, or visit the Facebook event page. 

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What I found out at Community Arts Day

16 Apr

I mentioned in a few of my previous posts how much I look forward to Community Arts Day every year, in large part because I get to check in with a lot of community agencies and visit with some people I only see once a year — at this event.

As usual, this year I came away with a whole bunch of flyers about upcoming events, most of which I will be developing into individual blogs in the near future. But for now, let me give you a teaser:

  • The Webster Public Library is sponsoring an unusual fund-raiser. Well, actually, a HAT-raiser. They’re looking for generous people to make hats, caps and head-warmers of all sorts for sale this fall to support library programming. You can knit, crochet, sew, or weave the hats (whatever!) and make them any size or design, then drop off your creations at the pubic library by October 1.
  • The Webster Library’s Spring Book Sale is scheduled for Thursday April 26-Saturday April 28. You can get more details by clicking here.

TROUBLEINP

  • Willink’s fourth annual student-run play will hit the stage on Friday May 4 and Saturday May 5. It’s called “Trouble in Paradise Junction,” which they describe as a “love letter to small town life.” Tickets go on sale Wednesday April 18. For more information visit willinkstudentrunplay.club.
  • The Friends of Webster Trails reminded me that there’s a new trail in town! The new Yellow Trail has recently been completed at Four Mile Creek Preserve, at the corner of Phillips and Lake roads. It’s an extension of an already existing trail system which itself is one of the newer jewels in Webster’s outstanding trail system. Find out more at www.webstertrails.org. And while you’re there, drop them a few bucks and become a member.

Stay tuned for more details about these and other upcoming Webster events, including the Chorus of the Genesee’s annual spring concert, which this year will welcome the Core, and the Yellow Jackets. I just got a flyer in the mail, and will tell you more about that shortly.

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Here we go a’caroling…

20 Dec

group shot

The streets of Webster were alive with the sound of music earlier this week as two separate groups strolled the neighborhoods, caroling at businesses and houses along the way.

The first of the musical meanderings took place Monday night, when BID president Robyn Whittaker hosted almost 30 friends, business acquaintances and assorted other local residents on her second annual village caroling party.

And a party it was. Participants first gathered at The Coach, where Robyn had provided plenty of soda, beer, hot cider (spiked if you wanted to) and pizza. When 7 p.m. rolled around, everyone filed out of the pub, and that took a while because there were about 30 of us. First stop was for a group photo in front of the Coach. Then it was off to do some singing.

The stops were pretty much determined on the fly, depending on what businesses were open and what homes seemed to be occupied. In about an hour, the tuneful group had visited the Webster Barbershop, Rubino’s, Brimont Bistro, and about a dozen homes. The business owners were tolerant; some of the homeowners were hesitant to come out, but most others happily stood on their cold porches — occasionally with small babies or children in tow — to enjoy the music.  But no matter who the group was singing for (or not singing for), the enthusiasm and the singing never waned, continuing even as everyone walked from house to house on the streets and sidewalks.

The very next evening, I joined the Chorus of the Genesee for their annual Soup & Carol Night. Unlike Robyn’s event, which is brand new, the Chorus has been hosting this evening of caroling for at least 24 years. There were also a whole lot more people at this event. I counted about 60 men, women, children and dogs. I was told that it was more than double what the Chorus usually draws. It helped, I think, that the weather was pretty pleasant.

Everyone gathered at the Harmony House, enjoying coffee and cookies, sheets of music and Santa hats were handed out, and when 7 p.m. rolled around, everyone filed out into the street.

The first stop, as it has been every year, was Webster Eyecare Associates, which is pretty much across the street from the Harmony House. The folks there have come to expect this annual visit by the Chorus carolers, and this year — for the first time — had donut holes and hot chocolate for the chilly singers.

I hope you had a chance to enjoy, or even participate in, one or both of these caroling events. This is what small-town life is all about.

This is truly Webster.

family 2

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