Category Archives: Arts & Entertainment

SUNY Oswego welcomes “Classical Meets Bluegrass” Oct. 20

Submitted by SUNY Oswego

The sound of bluegrass instruments will join classically trained voices when the Artswego Performing Arts Series hosts “Classical Meets Bluegrass” with the Syracuse Vocal Ensemble at 3 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 20, in SUNY Oswego’s Sheldon Hall Ballroom.

Known for their a capella prowess, the accomplished singers cross musical boundaries to perform a new work called “The World Beloved: A Bluegrass Mass.”

“This work combines the solemnity of a classical-based mass with the down-home sparkle of bluegrass,” says Minneapolis-based composer Carol Barnett. She hopes that all listeners find “something wonderful” in the adventurous combination, whether their musical heroes are Robert Shaw or Bill Monroe.

For the performance, the popular vocal group has gathered some of Central New York’s finest bluegrass musicians: Joe Davoli on fiddle, Nick Piccininni on banjo, Perry Cleaveland on mandolin, John Cadley on guitar and Zach Fleitz on bass. They also add ballad soloist Maureen Henesey.

 Dancing included

Building the festive spirit, the concert also will include choral arrangements of Appalachian tunes, a traditional instrumental bluegrass set and a special appearance by the Syracuse Country Dancers led by caller Bob Nicholson. Audience members will have their turn on the dance floor after the concert, with an invitation to learn a country dance.

“Every year, we like to present outstanding regional performers, as well as national and international touring artists,” said Artswego coordinator John Shaffer. “We’re especially pleased to host the talented Syracuse Vocal Ensemble during its 40th anniversary celebration.”

Since 1973, the ensemble has brought remarkable choral performances to Central New York, Shaffer said. The group has sung in collaboration with the Syracuse Symphony, Skaneateles Festival, Dave Brubeck and others. Currently led by Robert Cowles, its former directors include Julie Pretzat-Merchant, now associate dean of SUNY Oswego’s School of Communication, Media and the Arts.

The “Classical Meets Bluegrass” program, which also will be performed in Syracuse, is made possible through the support of the IDEAS Implementation Fund and Onondaga County, with funds administered by CNY Arts.

Tickets may be purchased at any SUNY Oswego box office location, online at or by calling 312-2141. For more information and a link for purchasing tickets, visit

Parking is included in the price of the ticket, and is available in the employee parking lots adjacent to and across from Sheldon Hall. Patrons with disabilities needing assistance should call 312-2141 prior to the performance.

Oswego Players present “On Borrowed Time”

The fall Oswego Players production of “On Borrowed Time,” directed by Richard Mosher, will feature his father, Wayne Mosher, Jr. in the lead role of “Gramps.”

Lionel Barrymore originated the part on Broadway, even though wheelchair bound. Peter Mahan will assume the character of Mr. Brink (aka the “Grim Reaper”). On Broadway, it was Cedric Hardwicke, who claimed it as his favorite role.

As the time of Gramps demise approaches, he is not about to “go gentle into that good night.” The play details how he duels with and traps death and the consequences of that action, particularly as affects his beloved grandson, Pud, played by Matthew Oldenburg.

Both Mosher and Mahan have impressive acting credits, both with the Players and the Oswego Children’s Theatre.  These are challenging roles, with both men willing and able to take them on.

Supporting cast members are Anne Raynor, Joni Anderson, Beverly Murtha, Charlie Stoutenger, Jim Oldenburg, Kyle Walton, Jonathan C. Altman, Norman Berlin, Troy Pepper and Tippy (Betty the Dog).

This drama will open at 8 p.m. Friday, Nov. 15  in the Frances Marion Brown Theatre in the Oswego Arts Center at Fort Ontario.

Performances will continue at 8 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 16, 8 p.m. Nov. 22 and 23 and 2 p.m. Nov. 24.

Reservations for tickets are advised and can be made through the Box Office at 343.5138. Check the Oswego Players website at for additional information.

‘Magpie” performs Oct. 19 at Oswego Music Hall

The Oswego Music Hall is welcoming the musical duo Magpie (Terry Leonino and Greg Artzner) at 8 p.m. Oct. 19.

The duo, celebrating its 40th anniversary, embrace different musical styles, from country, swing, blues to contemporary. Folksinger Pete Seeger said of them:  “Greg and Terry can show us all what a wonderful thing it can be for two voices to harmonize together. How lucky I am to have lived to see and hear more links in the chain.”

They started playing music together as students at Kent State, Ohio in 1973.  Based in the Washington, D.C. area since then, and performing under the name “Magpie”, their music has taken them to folk festivals, concert stages, museums and schools throughout the United States, Canada, Mexico, England, Scotland, and Italy.

They also have made several recordings.

With the power of their delivery, Magpie is well known for their performances of hard-hitting topical songs. Politically, their viewpoint has been shaped by their life experiences. Greg began to play music in the early sixties as a direct result of the Civil Rights Movement. Terry also began singing at that time, and was a witness to the shootings at Kent State May 4, 1970 when National Guard troops fired into a group of students protesting the war in Vietnam.

Listen to some of Magpie’s music at

The venue is the McCrobie Civic Center, 41 Lake St., Oswego. Tickets can be purchased online at or at the river’s end bookstore, 19 W. Bridge St.,  Oswego.  Holders of tickets purchased before 1 p.m. the day of the concert will have preferred seating.  After 1 p.m., seating will be general admission.

For more information call 315-342-1733 or access the Music Hall website:

Three bands on nationwide tour perform Oct. 6 in Fulton

National recording artists, “Seventh Day Slumber”, “Manic Drive” and “Submission Red” along with speaker Joseph Rojas will all be playing a concert at the Lakeview Manor at 723 West Broadway in Fulton, at 6 p.m. Oct. 6.

The bands are on a nationwide tour called The Small Town America Tour, raising money for an organization called “The Child Fund.”

All ages will enjoy this night of modern Christian music in various styles, rock, pop and power worship. This will be a powerful night as Joseph Rojas will share his personal testimony which is sure to touch many who attend.

Churches and youth groups are encouraged to attend and invite others to attend as well.

Tickets are available at or at the door. Group rates are available. Details can be found at

Interactive exhibition opens with reception Oct. 18 in Oswego

Submitted by SUNY Oswego

SUNY Oswego will open an interactive exhibition of digital-print artist Cara Brewer Thompson’s work with a free public reception from 5 to 7 p.m. Friday, Oct. 18, at Tyler Art Gallery.

Thompson, a member of the college’s art department faculty, will give a talk at 6 p.m. about her display, titled “Wisdom() & Other Things,” of digital-imagery-inspired drawings that explore “soft, hard-to-define pockets of consciousness.”

“Many of the images are influenced by spirit photography, light, shadow and dusk,” she wrote in an artist’s statement. “Much of the imagery deals with vastness and silence. Physical expanse gives birth to mental stillness, silence, quiet and rest.”

The exhibition will run through Nov. 9, in tandem with an annual exhibition of the recent work of other full- and part-time members of the art faculty.

Thompson, who has taught traditional and digital media at SUNY Oswego since 2004 and more than 20 years in all, noted that her exhibition will have an interactive component.

“Randomness has always intrigued me as a creative trigger. My current drawings are inspired by quick glimpses of imagery (partially displayed photographs) that are seen for a matter of seconds,” she wrote. “I work quickly to capture what I can before the imagery is ‘taken away.’ I’ve tried to create this experience with an interactive piece called ‘Draw This.’ This invites the audience to create traditional drawings using random, timed digital prompts.”

Thompson explained that Wisdom() is a body of generative postcards, created using computer code.

“The Wisdom() software randomly selects parts of iconic philosophical writings and generates postcards from them,” she wrote.

Faculty exhibition

Twenty-five artists have been invited to display their work in the companion exhibition of art faculty work in a variety of media, including ceramics, digital media, drawing, graphic design, painting, photography, printmaking and sculpture.

“This annual exhibition allows our gallery audience to catch up with the art faculty’s latest creative developments,” said Michael Flanagan, director of Tyler Art Gallery. “Often their works are shown around the globe but rarely in Oswego. Having the faculty all together in a single exhibition can also foster a sense of camaraderie within the department as a whole.”

Tyler Art Gallery is open 11 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Tuesdays through Saturdays when the college is in session. Parking is $1 for those without a SUNY Oswego parking sticker; see for more information.

Anthony Joseph Swingtet performs Oct. 18 at Under the Moon

The Anthony Joseph Swingtet will be the first featured performer Oct. 18 at Under the Moon.

The band will perform from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. as Under The Moon launches “Under The Moon: Where The Stars Come Out” live cabaret entertainment and dining, said co-owners Bill and Karen Hubel.

Under the Moon is located directly beneath Blue Moon Grill, also owned by the Hubels, in Fulton’s Canal Landing.

“We will have a full bar and table service featuring our special Tapas menu,” said Bill Hubel. “There is no cover charge and reservations are welcome, but not necessary.

“We anticipate a very enthusiastic response to this opportunity to enjoy soft, intimate live music in Under The Moon’s warm ambiance,” he said.

The Anthony Joseph Swingtet has become especially popular among jazz enthusiasts who appreciate the refreshing new energy the group brings to various classic jazz standards and ballads that have stood the test of time.

The group was among the featured performers at the 2013 Fulton Jazz Festival and they appeared Under The Moon as part of two benefit performances that preceded the Fulton Jazz Festival.

The Swingtet’s 2007 CD was recorded as a trio and received a 2008 SAMMY Award nomination.

The Swingtet performers for Under The Moon are: Anthony Joseph, clarinet and vocals; Bill Palange, trombone; Tom Bronzetti, guitar; and Dave Welsch, acoustic bass.

The group provides the listener with a ‘swingin’ sound that is smooth, sweet, and in the groove. Usually performing as a small combo (trio, quartet or quintet), the group has been described as providing a ‘chamber music-like jazz setting, creating a pleasant atmosphere that is comfortable for the listener to enjoy the music.’

It is also quite obvious that the band genuinely enjoys performing and will naturally develop a friendly rapport with their audience.

“Tony Joseph is a master at connecting with his audience through both music and conversation,” Bill Hubel said.

For more information, contact Karen or Bill Hubel at 598-4770.

Sewing classes offered for National Sewing Month

September as National Sewing Month is the perfect connection for CNY Arts Center to offer a return to the basics of sewing for a new generation.

Sew You Can classes for ages 6-18 start Saturday, Sept. 28 and run throughout the fall at the Arts Center location at 357 State St. Methodist Church through the Park St entrance in Fulton.

Students will learn how to use a sewing machine, know all the parts of the machine and learn basic stitches.

Each class will create a project and receive a special patch on completion of training. Creative sewing classes with individual sewing projects will be open to those students who have completed training on the sewing machines.

The observance of National Sewing Month began in 1982 with a proclamation from President Ronald Reagan declaring September as National Sewing Month “in recognition of the importance of home sewing to our Nation.”

Subsequent proclamations signed by President Reagan state that “tens of millions of Americans sew at home. Their efforts demonstrate the industry, the skill and the self-reliance which are so characteristic of this Nation.”

Citing the creative, “therapeutic and calming effects of sewing” at, the annual observance is a national effort to sustain the art of sewing in all its many forms with a belief that sewing reduces stress in adults and gives kids a creative edge.

“Since sewing is no longer taught in schools as a basic skill, these classes meet a need for learning and experience many children, and adults, do not have access to,” said Nancy Fox, executive director. “This sewing class series for kids will empower them for a lifetime with the skills they learn and take with them.”

“The art of sewing is a satisfying and limitless skill within the reach of everyone from the basic sewing on a button to creating individual and imaginative works of art. Fiber arts are an exciting part of the textile industry with many new textures and fabrics and threads. Sewing quickly becomes a passion.”

From sewing to culinary to painting, drawing or writing, CNY Arts Center offers all arts for all ages. “Our fall calendar is a feast of options for every artistic palette,” Fox continues. “We look for classes that meet the need for every skill level and interest.”

For more information and to register for classes, visit or call 592-3373.

SUNY Oswego troupe takes to stage in Scotland

Six students and two theater faculty members from State University College at Oswego participated in August in the world’s largest performing arts festival, taking their production of “Desdemona, A Play About a Handkerchief” to the stages and streets of Edinburgh, Scotland.

The Edinburgh Fringe Festival — a monthlong kaleidoscope of more than 2,100 theater, music, dance and comedy productions — drew the SUNY Oswego troupe for a jam-packed 11-day trip.

“It was really inspiring,” said Joan Hart Willard, adjunct instructor of theater and director for the college’s production of the Paula Vogel play.

“The most valuable part for the students was they learned they were competing with these different professional (and other college) actors, and it takes a very strong commitment to go out and do your best all the time. It’s hard work, but it pays off,” she said.

Dana Ernest (Desdemona), Robin Rubeo (Emilia), Clare Bawarski (Bianca) and stage manager Kelly McMenemon, backstage and props manager Carlos Clemenz and lighting director Tyler Eldred made the trip with theater chair and professor Jessica Hester and Willard.

An “Othello” spinoff, “Desdemona” played in SUNY Oswego’s lab theater in March.

The troupe left Aug. 1, stayed at the University of Edinburgh and could walk to the festival’s stages and “the Royal Mile” (High Street) where they did two 20-minute performances — a traditional form of promotion known as busking — and handed out postcards inviting passersby to their four productions in Surgeons Hall, one of six theaters collectively known as The Space.

“It was a lot of fun,” Willard said. “They are a great group of students, very mature and responsible. They were real troupers.”

Competitors from some other colleges around the world produced homegrown plays, another object lesson for the Oswego group.

“If you want to make a living doing this profession, you sometimes have to plan the production, find the money and do it yourself,” Willard said.

Research and funding

The road to Edinburgh was paved with research, planning and funding.

“I took a theater group from Syracuse University years ago and it was a very positive experience,” said Willard, who is also a playwright and actor.

She spoke about the idea a couple of years ago with Hester, who journeyed to Edinburgh for the festival last year during the international college competition.

Hester returned and started writing grant applications, receiving support from the International College Theater Festival as well as numerous on-campus resources. She said the effort was well worth it in terms of educational value for the students.

“They were able to perform in the largest performing arts festival in the world,” Hester said. “They saw so many different types of performances from so many countries, their understanding of what theater can be has expanded far beyond their experiences in New York. It was literally a life- and career-changing experience.”