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Archive for the ‘Around the Tower’ Category

Bat McGrath Flood Benefit Concert Set for June 7

Rochester Music Hall of Famer Bat McGrath will perform a benefit concert at Keuka College Saturday, June 7.

The concert will support the Penn Yan Relief Fund, and begins at 7 p.m. in Norton Chapel. Tickets are $20 and are available at area Wegmans stores, Long’s Cards and Books in Penn Yan, and may be available at the door.

One hundred percent of the proceeds will go to the Penn Yan Relief Fund, a charity set up last month to take requests and provide aid to local residents whose flood-related damages from severe mid-May storms were not covered by other sources, like flood insurance.

McGrath, whose five-decade career has included work in folk, jazz, and country music, lives in Nashville, Tenn. But in the late 1970s, McGrath lived in Branchport, playing gigs throughout the area and writing songs for his album From the Blue Eagle, released by Amherst Records in 1976. He and his wife, actress Trisha Cast, who has played “Nina” on the daytime drama The Young and the Restless for 15 years, visited Penn Yan last year.

McGrath ran a well-known Rochester bar/coffeehouse where, after hours, he and partner Don Potter held jam sessions with the likes of Chuck Mangione, Stanley Watson, and Tony Levine. He has written songs for such artists as Kenny Rogers, Wynonna, the Judds, and Cecily Wright.

In addition to From the Blue Eagle, his discography contains 11 other albums including No Reverb, Perfectly Flawed, Communicate, and So Do I.

Cast will also be at the concert to sign autographs.

15th Annual Keuka College Golf Classic Tees Off July 14

The 15th Annual Keuka College Golf Classic will be contested Monday, July 14, at Lakeside Country Club in Penn Yan.

The 18-hole scramble tournament benefits the Keuka College Scholarship Fund. In its first 14 years, the tournament raised more than $176,000 for the scholarship, which is awarded annually to Keuka students from the Finger Lakes region.

Registration begins at 11:45 a.m. with a shotgun start at 1:15 p.m. and competition in men’s, women’s, mixed, and senior flights. The cost is $95 and includes greens fees, cart, lunch, refreshments on the course, and a cocktail reception. Sponsorship opportunities are available.

Team or individual entries are accepted. To receive a registration form, or for more information, call Kathy Waye, executive director of alumni and family relations at (315) 279-5602 or email keukaclassic@keuka.edu. Reservations are due by Tuesday, July 1.

Spirits High on Special Day

On the far side of the court, between two sets of bleachers, several cheerleaders—some sporting white jerseys, others maroon – wave pom-poms. Just like the student athletes cruising the basketball court at Keuka College, they are represented by a mix of special needs students and their fellow classmates. It doesn’t matter which side scores, which student makes a basket or catches a pass, the cheers continue and the pom-poms keep on waving.

Penn Yan unified players warm up on the court

This is the spirit of the Special Olympics, where children with various physical and developmental disabilities play sports simply for love of the game. And Wednesday, that spirit was in full force as third to sixth graders at the Penn Yan and Dundee school districts met on the basketball courts at the Weed Physical Arts Center for the first-annual Special Olympics Unified Sports tournament. The event was sponsored by the College’s Student-Athlete Advisory Committee, with a number of SAAC members volunteering to help organize, officiate and run the tourney.

Two unified, or mixed, teams from each school competed, with the Penn Yan students sporting blue or orange jerseys while the Dundee teams boasted maroon or white uniforms. After the backdrop of rock music during pre-game warm-ups, each team was announced to the fans in the bleachers, jogging onto the court and lining up in rows in front of reserve team seats– just like high school and college teams. Vice President of Student Affairs Jim Blackburn welcomed the crowd and the athletes to the tourney, sharing the motto of the Special Olympics:

“Let me win,” Blackburn recited from memory. “But if I cannot win, let me at least be brave in the attempt.”

Teachers, administrators, classmates and families of the Special Olympians from each district were on hand to support the unified teams, with smartphones and cameras at the ready. In the top row of bleachers, classmates from the third-grade integrated classroom at Dundee, held up signs, cheering loudly for the athletes on the court below.

“The entire class petitioned to come – they wanted to support their classmates,” said Dundee Superintendent Laurie Hopkins-Halbert, a 1990 graduate of Keuka College. “They made signs and they’re yelling for their teams.”

Hopkins-Halbert said just the looks on the faces of the Special Olympians when they caught a pass or made a basket were a thrill to see.

“They have been so pumped to do this – and it’s an opportunity they don’t usually get. They have worked so hard at practice, and have put a lot of time into this. It is so exciting to see our kids out here,” she said. “Our regular students who are here have been phenomenal models and teachers for our [special needs] students as well. It’s just a win-win for everybody.”

Speaking of win-wins, at the Dundee team bench, wheelchair-bound third-grader William Smith met David Hull, who is also in a wheelchair. Hull is a 2012 graduate of the Keuka College DRIVE program, (diversity, responsibility, inclusion, vision, and experiential learning), which is a collaboration between the Yates County ARC, the College and Penn Yan Central School District. The DRIVE program provides 18-21-year-old special education students an opportunity to assimilate into the college environment and explore their personal goals.

“It’s awesome – honestly, I think I’m smiling more than they are out there,” said Mike Wainwright ’15, an occupational science major at the College, who volunteered to serve as a referee, and hopes to work with the special needs population as an occupational therapist after graduation. “It’s a rewarding experience to see the love of the game and smiles on everybody’s faces.”

More smiles appear on the court, as an attendant in a yellow volunteer T-shirt pushes William’s wheelchair, while William carries the ball in his lap. The pair make a pass to teammate Trey Brown, wearing No. 10 for the white Dundee team, and Trey makes a two-point basket. As Trey’s personal aide, also in a yellow T-shirt, lifts her arms in a V-sign for “victory,” the crowd in the stands goes wild. As the 10-minute half draws to a close, the crowd begins the countdown and the cheers erupt again.

During a snack break between games, Trey Brown joins his family on the bleachers, snacking on a cookie. Asked how he’s enjoying the tournament, Trey laughs and smiles in delight. “It was good, playing with William Smith in my class, and having friends here to watch,” translates Trey’s mom, Dawn Brown.

Trey Brown, right, smiles at a fellow teammate while waiting for the action to start on the court.

“It really makes his day that his family came to see him – we’ve got daddy and grandmas and grandpas from both sides – and Joshua and Bart and Frankie and Nick,” Brown adds, referring to Trey’s friends from school. “I was surprised that his general ed classroom got off for the day to come be spectators, too. That was nice they all made posters.”

“It’s really about tolerance, empathy, understanding and opportunity,” Hopkins-Halbert said. “I’ve heard nothing but positives from everybody.”

Penn Yan's orange team celebrates with the trophy and cheers for ALL the Olympians!

Songs from the Beatles to be Performed during Spring Concert At Keuka College April 29

Members of the a capella group QKApella

The Keuka College Chorale, Band and the newly formed a capella group, QKAppella, will perform its annual spring concert Tuesday, April 29.

Free and open to the public, the concert begins at 7:30 p.m. in Norton Chapel.

The Chorale will sing a traditional Alleluia Canon and Old American Songs by Aaron Copland. The Band and Chorale will perform a set of Beatles songs, while QKAppella will present several popular solos and duets, according to Kelley Hamilton, music instructor and director of the chorale.

“Chung ‘Johnny’ Nguyen will sing a fabulous rendition of the Bruno Mars hit Just the Way You Are, said Hamilton. “The concert will also feature Jakiem Brown, who beat-boxes on several songs.”

According to Hamilton, the concert will flow between larger groups and soloists.

“We will combine some instrumental and vocals and the finale, Viva la Vida by Coldplay, will feature everyone,” said Hamilton. “Our new instrumental music instructor, Dr. Dave Chisholm, has arranged two Beatles’ pieces and the jazz classic, Caravan for the band. Dr. Chisholm is an amazingly talented jazz musician, professional composer, and arranger. It’s exciting for the students to be able to play new arrangements written by him.”

Formed at the beginning of the spring semester, QKAppella, which features 10 students, performed during Accepted Students Day earlier this month, and was “well received,” said Hamilton. “The students love this opportunity, and our new sound equipment is awesome.”

QKAppella will perform four more times during the semester, including Saturday, April 26 from 1-3 p.m. in the Phillips Lounge of Dahlstrom Student Center; Saturday, May 3 at 3 p.m. outside of Hegeman Hall; Saturday, May 10, at 12:15 p.m. in the Geiser Refectory; and Sunday, May 25, select students from Chorale and QKAppella will perform during Baccalaureate. The ceremony begins at 9:30 a.m. in Norton Chapel.

An additional performance will be Tuesday, May 6, as Chisholm, Hamilton, a jazz trio, and select Keuka College students will perform for the President’s Circle Dinner. The trio will play several jazz standards, and Hamilton will sing. In addition to Chisholm, who plays trumpet, the trio includes Fumi Tomita on bass and Alex Patrick on guitar.

A New York City native, Tomita has played at Carnegie Hall, was the bassist for the national tour of the Nat King Cole tribute Unforgettable, and is earning his doctorate at the Eastman School of Music.

Patrick, who is pursuing his bachelor’s degree at the Eastman School of Music, has performed with the Eastman Youth Jazz Orchestra, and has studied with guitarist Bob Sneider. A composer as well as a performer, Patrick received Penfield High School’s Charlie Cote Music Scholarship for composition and has had his works featured in Penfield High School concerts.

Lt. Gov. Robert Duffy to Deliver Address, Receive Honorary Degree at Keuka College Commencement

Robert J. Duffy, lieutenant governor of New York state, will deliver the address and receive an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree at Keuka College’s 106th commencement Sunday, May 25.

Former mayor of Rochester, his hometown, Duffy was elected the Empire State’s 76th lieutenant governor alongside Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo Nov. 2, 2010 and began a four-year term Jan. 1, 2011.

Appointed by Cuomo as chair of the Regional Economic Development Councils, Duffy  has focused on supporting the governor’s efforts to rebuild New York’s economy and position the state to be a global economic leader.

Cuomo also named Duffy chair of the Spending and Government Efficiency (SAGE) Commission. In that role Duffy oversees an effort that seeks to make state government more modern, accountable, and efficient. Duffy has also played an instrumental role on the governor’s Mandate Relief Council, chairing a series of statewide mandate relief hearings that sought input from local government officials and constituents as the state seeks to reduce the statutory and regulatory burden on local governments and school districts.

Duffy presided over the historic passage of the Marriage Equality Act—one of Cuomo’s signature issues—on June 24, 2011 while serving in his capacity as president of the New York State Senate.

In 2012, Duffy was awarded the Ellis Island Medal of Honor, given annually by the National Ethnic Coalition of Organizations to honor notable American citizens who demonstrate a life committed to community service.

Duffy was elected mayor of Rochester in 2005 and was re-elected four years later. Prior to that, he had a 28-year career with the Rochester Police Department, the last seven as chief of police.

He holds a bachelor’s degree from RIT and a master’s degree from Syracuse University’s Maxwell School.