Inspirations Inspired by Natural Creativity

By Kelly Sabetta

Donna and Arie Lilienthal, a husband and wife team, are the creators of Inspiration, a company that specializes in making custom jewelry where no two pieces of artwork are the same.

Originally from Wellington, Florida, Donna and Arie, have been working together for nine years, when they decided to pick up a new hobby to keep them busy.

“We never took a lesson,” said Donna. “Our passion was sparked by having fun and using our creativity, which I never knew I had.”

Donna, by trade, was a social worker; and her husband, in the printing business. They recalled the first time they purchased beads, which led them into their new world of creativity. They’ve purchased beads and work with people from all over the world, including Israel, Ecuador, and Guatemala.

“Beads are different, so nothing is exact,” said Donna. “Colors constantly change, producing different pieces every time.”

Donna and Arie personally design the jewellery once they receive their material. Their most popular piece is Tagua. “Tagua is all natural. Ecologically, it’s not depleting the supply, rather it’s using the supply that’s already there,” explained Donna. “In its raw form, Tagua looks like ivory, and needs to be carved.”

Donna describes her work as constantly evolving and changing. “My husband does one type of work and I do another,” she said. “I do beading and he does wire work. People always say, ‘wow, those pieces are beautiful,’ because many of the finished items are bright and colorful. People like it so much that we do a lot of custom work.”

Some of their custom work includes jewellery specially created and handmade for bridesmaids, gifts for bar mitzvahs, and bracelets for grandmothers, mothers, and daughters.

What inspires Donna and Arie the most is helping others and making people smile. “Because we’re using such natural, saturated items, it’s helping underdeveloped countries grow above a poverty level,” said Donna. “Also, the creativity of beading and finding new designs for our jewellery always makes us and our customers happy.”

One thing that sets them apart from other designers is that they always prefer to work behind their booths during the festivals and shows they attend. If people request specific jewellery while there, they will be able to make it. “Individual attention is very important with us,” explained Donna. “We work with a lot of people, and that’s what we like to do.”

You will be able to find Inspirations at this year’s Canandaigua Art and Music Festival, and experience their creativity and customized jewellery. Please stop by the exhibit of Donna and Arie, Friday, June 16th through Sunday, June 18th.

Lake Effect – All Music, No Instruments

By Kelly Sabetta

Lake Effect is an all-male professional a cappella group made up of five guys from Western, NY who love to create music without the use of any instruments.

“We’ll mimic instruments and drums to make the song sound like what you commonly hear, but it’s all just our voices,” said Ron Veiders.

The groups’ members include Ron Veiders (baritone), Jamie Holden (tenor), Matthew Sciara (bass), Lou Shafer (tenor/vocal percussion), and Jeff Trenchard (tenor).

“Most of us have been doing music all our lives,” said Ron. “The five of us have all been singers in numerous choruses, choirs, a cappella, and solo acts. Four of us have degrees in Music, and three of us are music teachers in area schools,” he continued. “So, in essence, it’s not just about being musical artists, it’s the fact that we enjoy music so much that it’s part of our work, as well as our fun. This group is the fun side.”

The group members of Lake Effect started pursuing their passion together in 2003.

“From a group standpoint, we started as another rendition of ten men,” said Ron. “It was very difficult to find the right people, the right voices, and honestly, the same time of availability! After a couple years, we disbanded and reformed to our present size of five.  It took a few goes at who was able to fill the spots, but right now we are the best we’ve ever been. We truly enjoy singing with one another. We get along great, and we just plain have fun doing what we do.”

The band, who not only performs cover tunes of popular songs and artists, also writes their own original music, as well.

“We are in the process of making a full-length debut album,” said Ron, which is expected to be released by the end of this year. When their new album is completed, they plan to have it available for download, as well as Online purchases. They also provide a five-song demo disc at all of their live performances for fans to purchase.

Also in the works, Lake Affect plans to host the 2011 ICCA (International Competition of Collegiate A Cappella) in January, re-audition for the Sing Off in the future, as well as enter themselves into the Harmony Sweepstakes Competition in April of 2011. “Other than that, we are striving to establish & make ourselves known around the WNY region as THE premiere all-male a cappella group in the area.,” said Ron.

As far as their performance at this year’s Canandaigua Art and Music Festival, they plan to deliver music that everyone has heard and loved throughout the years, but providing it in a new and unique way.

“I think our unique sound – non-instrument, no back-up recordings, and just voice – will stand out,” said Ron. “I think our fun and exuberance on stage will draw the audience in closer. Being five guys with only microphones; I think it speaks for itself.”

To hear their premier sound, you can visit their Web site, http://www.tlewny.com, or experience them live on Sunday, July 18th, 12:00 – 1 p.m., on the Commons Park Stage.

The Skiffle Minstrels Bring the Shenanigans

By Kelly Sabetta

The Skiffle Minstrels, a country-western and Cajun band from Buffalo, NY, is an eccentric blend of individuals who call themselves a “dance band.”

“We play so folks can dance,” said Paul Todaro, (bass, vocals). “The show is about ‘us’ onstage and ‘us’ in the audience together.”

Alongside Paul, are band members Ron Kowalewski (accordion), Phil Knoerzer (guitar, harmonica), Maggie Zindle (fiddle), Gary Meixner (lap steel), and Gus Russo (percussion).

Their music has been performed throughout Western and Central New York, and is inspired by their dancing audience. “It’s the one reason to play music that isn’t self indulgent,” said Paul, who says many of their new fans, after seeing them perform live, share that they didn’t know they liked country music.

Paul said he remembers the exact moment on February 15th, 1975 that he realized he wanted to be an artist. And it wasn’t until February 16th, 1975 that he began pursuing his passion, for the reason of, “being bad at sports.” He describes his work as trying to find his place in the present by exploring the past.

The Skiffle Minstrels are currently playing a busy summer schedule of festivals and weddings, and will soon be recording their second album. Their first debut album, Homespun, was released in 2009, and features 12 original songs from the band. Their album is being sold on their Web site, iTunes, CDbabay, Amazon.com, as well as other festivals where they have performed. Also being sold is original merchandise of the band, including guys’ and girls’ tees.

So what should you expect from The Skiffle Minstrels? “Our usual high energy shenanigans,” joked Paul.

To the Canandaigua Art and Music Festival, they plan to bring a lot of music, and a lot of fun. “Kids love it because it’s fun; older folks love it because it ‘looks back; and in-betweens love it because it’s different and rebellious,” said Paul.

To experience the shenanigans, take a look at The Skiffle Minstrels Web site, http://www.skiffleminstrels.com, and check out her live performance at the Canandaigua Art and Music Festival, Sunday, June 18th, 12:30 p.m. – 1:30 p.m. on the Time Warner Stage.

Nationally-Acclaimed Josie Waverly to Perform for Local Fans

By Kelly Sabetta

Josie Waverly, of Hilton, has been performing since she was a young girl. “My mom had old albums of Connie Francis in a box,” said Josie. “I took them to my room and sang along. From that point on, I knew singing was for me.”

Sparked by the quality of her new inspiration, Josie sang her first solo in church at just 10 years old.

Fast forward to present day, Josie now performs for large audiences across the country with her band. Alongside Josie (lead singer, front entertainer), are band mates Tom Tramontana (lead and acoustic guitar, banjo, vocals), Gene “Sandy” Watson (lead, acoustic, and steel guitar, dobro, fiddle, vocals), Lou Alano (keyboard, vocals), Rich Farmer (bass, vocals), and Dave Forti (drums, percussion).

Josie has performed as a headliner, as well as opening act for entertainers such as Tim McGraw, Charlie Daniels, Loretta Lynn, Rascal Flatts, Keith Urban, and many more. Her work continues to be highlighted.

“I was voted NYS Queen of Country Music, as well as placed on the NYS Country Music Wall of Fame,” said Josie. “The public gives me the best feedback by the standing ovations they give at the end of my shows. They are the best meter to go by when you want to know if you make a difference.”

Along with live performances, Josie is very active in community service. She was also named Hilton’s Citizen of the Year in 1992, and has received several certificates from numerous charitable organizations, in which she helped raise thousands of dollars for their causes.

Her inspiration? “God, for trusting me with such a powerful vocal gift,” she said. “My husband for his belief in my talent and his never ending ‘can-do’ attitude, my children for dealing with having a mom that sings for others, and the public for listening!”

Although she has been recognized for her strong abilities and talents, she expresses that her goal is to make a difference in others. “Singing and entertaining for money is not number one for me,” said Josie. “Seeing everyone have fun and enjoy the music is the most important thing of all! If just one person leaves a Josie performance taking home positive energy and a glimmer of hope; that is what is important. You can’t put a price on making a difference in someone’s life!”

To experience such positive energy and great talent, please visit Josie’s Web site, http://www.josiewaverly.info, and check out her live performance at this year’s Canandaigua Art and Music Festival, Saturday, June 17th, 1:45 p.m. – 2:45 p.m. on the Time Warner Stage.

Dirty Bourbon Blues Band Brings Unexpected Twists to Blues Repertoire

By Kelly Sabetta

“We are a rockin’ blues band,” said Seth City, of Dirty Bourbon Blues Band.

“We play a lot of original music…We have all played in bands of various styles over the course or our careers, so we tend to throw some unexpected twists into our blues repertoire. You might hear some reggae, or funk, or rock,” said Seth.

The Dirty Bourbon Blues Band was created in 2006 by founding members Seth City (guitar) and Pete Griffith (vocals, drums). Both jumpstarting their careers playing the blues, Seth and Pete acquired the help of one of their good friends, Gopi Joaquim (bass), to put a modern take on the music they played.

It wasn’t until 2008 that the band welcomed it’s fourth member, Zac Walker (saxophone), who adds a touch of Maceo to the group, and bringing with him horn hits and class to their original sound. In 2008, the band also parted ways with long-time bass player and friend. To replace him, they brought in bassist Adam Smith, who brings with him a funky, five-string flavor.

The band has played shows throughout the region, including opening for national acts, playing at weddings, large clubs, tiny pubs, motorcycle runs, and pig roasts. They’ve also recorded an album of their original music, in which they’ve handed out to their fans for free.

“We recorded a demo CD of 9 original songs in 2007 that we have given out, literally, thousands of copies of to our fans,” said Seth. “This has really helped the band’s reputation grow via word of mouth.”

Currently recording a full-length album, the band plans to release their new work by the end of 2010. “We are also working on new promotional photos and artwork, with the plan of getting some stickers, shirts, and other assorted merchandise ready for sale,” said Seth.

For those who will be attending this year’s Festival, expect to see an interactive performance.

“We are all younger than the ‘typical’ blues band, so we like to think we inject some energy and excitement into the genre,” said Seth. “Also, we have a kind of jam band element in that we interpret songs our own way, and have never played a song the same way twice. We all just mesh on stage and go where the music may take us.”

The Dirty Bourbon Blues Band shares a strong connection to the community, not only with their music and performances, but with causes they believe in. “We have played numerous charity benefit concerts for two issues very near and dear to our hearts,” shared Seth, “eradicating childhood disease, and breast cancer.”

For more information about the band, visit their Web site, http://www.dirtybourbonblues.com, and come see their live performance at this year’s Canandaigua Art and Music Festival, Saturday, July 17th, 2:45 p.m. – 4:00 p.m. on the Commons Park Stage.