Happy Arts Year!

Wishing a Happy New Year to all the readers of and contributors to BAMirror. How about sharing your best arts memories from 2010? Or what about your arts hopes for 2011?
Come on! Join the conversation!

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The passing of artist Armondo Dellasanta

A. Dellasanta 1998

Dellasanta at his easel in 1998

 It is with great sadness that we announce the passing of our beloved artist, Armondo Dellasanta, who died on Dec. 21, 2010 at the age of 94. He was a great friend who will be missed by family, his many friends and admirers. In his oil paintings, etchings and drawings, he captured the special places and history of Binghamton, New York City and Susquehanna, Pa., where he stood guard duty in 1941. He was deeply honored by the recognition he received during his lifetime, which included a star on Binghamton’s Walk of Fame and his Lifetime Achievement Award from our Broome County Arts Council. A very humble man, he nevertheless enjoyed watching his profile which aired frequently on public TV station WSKG in a program called “Expressions- – the Art and Soul of the Southern Tier.” He started to paint in the late 1950s and carried a sketch book with him in France during World War II.  As an infantryman, he fought in both France and Austria and received the Bronze Star. As an artist, he was influenced by the “Ashcan School” whose artists painted scenes of everyday life.  He developed his own unique Impressionistic style over the years and was referred to by admirers as “Binghamton’s Van Gogh” and an “urban Monet.” Read the rest of this entry »

Were the arts part of your holiday?

Our house has been filled with classical music. How have you been including the arts in your holiday?

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Bronzissimo! rings in holiday spirit

Reviewed by David L. Schriber

Full pews last Saturday (Dec. 18) at Memorial Park Baptist/St. Andrew’s Anglican Church in Vestal welcomed the Bronzissimo! select handbell choir for its winter concert. From an energetic opening of “Adeste Fidelis” to the choir’s traditional spirited “Hyfrydol” encore honoring the memory of founding member and former conductor Doris Eggleston, the ensemble offered a variety of sacred, secular and classical holiday songs, including a Hanukkah medley. Read the rest of this entry »

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Were the arts part of your week?

Did you attend “Messiah” like Leo Cotnoir did (see review below), or sing in your church’s cantata (like me!)? Did you visit a gallery or see a play? Were the arts part of your week? Please join our conversation about the arts in Binghamton.

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‘Messiah’ by the Downtown Singers: A sparkling tradition continues

Reviewed by Leo Cotnoir

Before moving to Binghamton a decade ago, I lived for many years in Washinton, D.C. The nation’s capital is home to some of the best professional choruses in the world, so I heard many outstanding performances of Handel’s “Messiah.”  The Downtown Singers could share the stage with any of them (full disclosure: my wife, Glenda, was in the alto section at The Forum in Binghamton). Not only was the singing splendid but the orchestra, except for a few intonation issues among the second violins, was superb, nicely underplaying both the soloists and the chorus. In part thanks to the particularly strong low strings, the outnumbered male voices were never overwhelmed by the sopranos and altos as is often the case in amateur choirs. Read the rest of this entry »

‘Legally Blonde’ is legally funny

Reviewed by Nicholas Linnehan

As I have stated before, I am generally not a fan of musicals. But after seeing “Oliver” at EPAC, I decided to revisit my notions that musicals are not credible sources of theater. “Legally Blonde,” which the Broadway Theatre League brought to The Forum in Binghamton on Sunday (Dec. 12), has swayed me in the other direction. I found myself laughing hysterically while feeling surprisingly connected to the plight of the main character, Elle Wood, the sorority belle who takes Harvard Law by storm.
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Did you have an art-full week?

My week in the arts began Tuesday (Dec. 7) at the Union-Endicott High School “Music for the Holidays” vocal concert. Parental pride aside, it was a wonderful concert. Another round of applause to director James Gleason and members of the Chorus, Chorale and Jazz Choir. I also caught one of the four performances of “Amahl and the Night Visitors” (see review below); how about you? What did you see and/or do in the arts this past week?

‘Amahl’ singers share real meaning of Christmas

Reviewed by Tony Villecco

This past weekend, the Binghamton University Music Department in collaboration with Tri-Cities Opera produced a lovely adaptation of Gian Carlo Menotti’s one-act seasonal masterpiece, Amahl and the Night Visitors. Performances were Saturday and Sunday (Dec. 11 and 12) in the Anderson Center’s Chamber Hall. Read the rest of this entry »

St. Petersburg Men’s Ensemble sings of Russian traditions

Reviewed by David L. Schriber

The St. Petersburg Men’s Ensemble is not from Florida, but the other St. Petersburg, in Russia. The a cappella group formed in 2003 to promote Russian music of various epochs and styles, both sacred and folk. On Dec. 4, the quartet, sponsored by Union Center United Methodist Church, performed in concert at First United Methodist Church in Endicott. Read the rest of this entry »

‘Alto on the Loose’ heats up Firehouse Stage

 Reviewed by David L. Schriber

What do you call an alto who can sing (not just “hit” but really sing) a high C, yet also can visit notes in the baritone range? Answer:  Hilerie Klein-Rensi. She is well known as a local classical soloist but is equally at home with musical theater, as her cabaret routine “Alto on the Loose” proved convincingly Sunday (Dec. 5) at the Schorr Family Firehouse Stage in Johnson City. Read the rest of this entry »

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University Symphony offers a slice of Americana

Reviewed by David L. Schriber

Binghamton University Symphony Orchestra Director Timothy Perry enjoys putting together programs of American music. The concert last Saturday (Dec. 4) at BU’s Anderson Center focused on the narrow period of 1930-1955 with works of Aaron Copland, Samuel Barber, Morton Gould, Leonard Bernstein and George Gershwin. Perry delivers his program notes in person, not leaving the audience to attempt to read printed notes in the dark. In doing so he can be more complete in his remarks. One always comes away having learned something not only about the music but about the historical and cultural context in which it was set. Read the rest of this entry »

Philharmonic, Jeans ‘n Classics ‘Bond’ with audience

Reviewed by Barb Van Atta

Double entendres. Derring-do. Dastardly seekers of world domination. All are trademarks of Bond, James Bond, movies.

And so is the music, both the instantly recognizable John Barry theme and the string of title tunes sung by the voice du jour.

Saturday night (Dec. 4), the Binghamton Philharmonic and Maestro Jose-Luis Novo transported their Pops Series audience from The Forum in Binghamton to a world tour of exotic Bond locales. We didn’t wear tuxes or quaff martinis, but we definitely were both shaken and stirred by the Pops’ third successful teaming with the Canadian artists of Jeans ‘n Classics. The folks who previously fronted Pops performances of Beatles and Elton John music offered a collection of Bond themes (and a few songs from the Austin Powers Bond spoofs) interspersed with emcee/pianist John Regan’s clever commentary. Regan’s remarks, a combination of Bond trivia and bonding with the audience, elicited a constant stream of chuckles (and an occasional guffaw) from his listeners. Read the rest of this entry »

What did you do in the arts this past week?

Did you “Art Walk”? Were you at a play or concert or poetry reading? Please share your week with us.

NYC’s Dance Theater Workshop and Bill T. Jones Dance Co. to merge

Did you see the Dec. 1 New York Times story about changes for the Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Dance Company.? If not, here’s the link: http://www.nytimes.com/2010/12/02/arts/dance/02workshop.html .
Jones, a Tony Award-winning dancer, choreographer and director who is set to receive a Kennedy Center Honor on Sunday, studied theater and dance at SUNY-Binghamton (now Binghamton University). Reminder: The ceremony will be broadcast Dec. 28 on CBS. Other recipients to be honored at the 33rd annual national celebration of the arts are: singer and songwriter Merle Haggard, composer and lyricist Jerry Herman, songwriter and musician Paul McCartney and producer, television host and actress Oprah Winfrey.
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