Incredible concert in Hancock

The following was provided to BAM by Marcy Swartz, winner of a BCAC  Heart of the Arts Award for Lifetime Achievement in 2005. 

It’s always exciting to find a treasure in your backyard – okay, well, 35 minutes down Route 17 to Hancock – and the West Branch International Music Festival & Academy is a MAJOR treasure.

It’s a blissful coming together of noted musicians from around the world; intelligent, inspiring chamber music and orchestral programming, and the incredible beauty of the natural environment. 

The intimate chamber music concert space – a  lodge-like room with great acoustics at  the West Branch Angler & Sportsman’s Resort – contributes to the total experience. This year the festival added a high-level training program for young performers, who come from around  the country and from countries such as Argentina, Israel and Italy.

But hurry! The last of the series’ chamber concerts are scheduled for this Thursday( July 29) at 8 p.m. and this weekend, with the8 p.m.  Saturday (July 31) concert featuring the Schubert “Trout Quintet,” appropriate for this popular fishing mecca.  The festival’s  final orchestral concert is scheduled for 3 p.m. Sunday (Aug. 1).

For more information about the West Branch Music Festival in Hancock,  see their website at

EDITOR’S NOTE:  The Broome County Arts Council has some free tickets available first-come, first serve for remaining concerts (Thursday, Saturday and Sunday).  To request tickets, call the BCAC office at 723-4620 or e-mail

Big plans for Art Mission and Theater

Did you see the Page One story in the “Press & Sun-Bulletin” today (July 26) about the Art Mission and Theater’s hopes/plans to purchase the old Strand Theater ( What do you think of the idea?

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Were you art-full this past week?

Hope the rain didn’t dampen your enthusiasm for arts and entertainment this past week and weekend. Please share what you did, where you went,  who you heard.

Up-and-coming rock band plays Judy’s Cafe’

Judy’s Café is an outreach center operated by St. Anthony’s Parish, located at Odell Avenue and Jenkins Street in Endicott. The parish youth group, headed by Michael Romeo and Kevin McKeon, operate this coffee shop on Tuesday nights throughout the year. They specialize in espresso and Italian pastries and do a brisk business with smoothies, which are popular among the young adults who make up the majority of the patrons. I went there Tuesday night (July 20) to hear a band and was overall impressed with the operation and knocked over by the band and its choice and style of music. Read the rest of this entry »

Tell us about the arts in your week

Were the arts part of your week? Did you catch a film, visit a gallery, listen to a poetry reading or boogie to the Rec Park bands?  Please share your comments.

Were the arts part of your hot week?

Did you sample the sights and jazzy sounds of Julyfest? Were you part of the audience  for Jared Campbell or the Summer Savoyards? Please share what you liked (or didn’t like) about arts and entertainment this past week in Greater Binghamton.

Summer Savoyards have a hit

Reviewed by Tony Villecco

While W.S. Gilbert and Sir Arthur Sullivan’s operetta ‘Ruddigore’ may not have as many familiar “hits” as some of their other collaborations, the Summer Savoyards’ opening night performance on July 8 proved both a delight visually and aurally.

Now in its 50th season, the local troupe proved once again why it has lasted so long and continues to produce exceptional community theater. The Savoyards traditionally present the fas- paced, comedic and melodious shows with community residents, almost all amateur performers, but very strong actors and singers to boot. Read the rest of this entry »

Vandalism damages more than dinos

What’s wrong with this picture? In Binghamton, 22 fiberglass hART of BC dinosaur sculptures spent barely two months on downtown streets before being removed to “protective custody” in Johnson City’s Oakdale Mall, due to theft and vandalism.  These are not  innocent pranks like the abduction of high school and college mascots.   This is criminal theft and wanton destruction,  just as  the Discovery Center’s Story Garden destruction was last year.

What kind of character does such behavior reveal? Disrespect for property, particularly the property of others. Disrespect for art and artists. Disrespect for iconic local pop culture with national recognition. Disrespect for the arts and educational organizations that are to benefit from the donations resulting from the eventual sale of these sculptures. Disrespect for a city trying very hard to redefine itself.

It would have been fun to walk through downtown, hART of BC map in hand, on a treasure hunt to find each of the dinos near its sponsor’s business. The dinos will be safer at the Mall, and that’s a very sad commentary indeed.

I wonder if the perpetrators realize the amount of damage to the hArt of BC dinosaurs makes their crime a felony- level offense. May they be caught and prosecuted appropriately.

Summer film fest opens with patriotic theme

Binghamton’s Summer Film Festival opened July 1 with a full evening of patriotic entertainment at The Forum in Binghamton, including an appearance by “President Thomas Jefferson”; concert briefs by the Carousel Harmony Chorus, Jill and Jake Gardner, and Claudia Kachmarik with the Robert Morton Theatre Organ; and a screening of the film version of the Broadway musical comedy 1776. Thanks to Broome County, the Binghamton City School District, the Downtown Binghamton Business Association, Newman Development Group, Security Mutual, Hinman Howard and Kattell, and others for providing this evening of entertainment. The Summer Film Festival replaces Pops in the Arena/on the Plaza, which was lost with the demise of Southern Tier Celebrates.

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Did the arts add fireworks to your holiday weekend?

Between firecrackers and frankfurters, did you have a chance to enjoy Greater Binghamton’s diverse array of arts and entertainment this past weekend (or the whole past week, for that matter)? Did you catch the concert and movie at The Forum or stroll through the galleries of First Friday?  Or maybe you preferred getting nostalgic with the Four Tops at Tioga Downs? Please share.

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