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Live chat at noon: Miers on Music with The News' pop music critic


The Fray, Richard Marx among fall concerts at Seneca Niagara Casino

The Seneca Niagara Casino has added to its fall events with a new list of concerts by such pop and modern rock acts as the Fray, Richard Marx, Great Big Sea and Smash Mouth.

The Fray, known for its breakthrough double-platinum debut album "How to Save a Life," performs at 8 p.m. Oct. 25 in the Seneca Niagara Casino Events Center. Tickets go on sale at noon Sept. 3.

In addition, the Bear's Den Showroom will host the following new concerts (tickets are on sale now unless noted): Gary Lewis & the Playboys, 3 and 8 p.m. Sept. 28; Richard Marx, 9 p.m. Oct. 25 (tickets go on sale at noon Sept. 6), the Grass Roots, 8 p.m. Oct. 26 (tickets go on sale at noon Sept. 6); Johnny Winter, 8 p.m. Nov. 2; Gin Blossoms, 8 p.m. Nov. 15; Smash Mouth, 8 p.m. Nov. 23 (tix on sale noon Sept. 9); and Great Big Sea, 8 p.m. Nov. 26 and 27 (tix on sale noon Sept. 4).

Tickets for all shows are available at the Seneca Casino box offices, Ticketmaster and by calling (800) 745-3000.



'Grain Dances, Steel Floats' is at Mutual Riverfront Park

My item today on David Butler's production of "Grain Dances, Steel Floats" gave the incorrect location for the production. It will take place at 8 p.m. Saturday and Sunday near Mutual Riverfront Park at the end of Hamburg Street, not at Silo City.

--Colin Dabkowski

Claudia Hoca benefit scheduled


By Mary Kunz Goldman

A benefit concert for Claudia Hoca, the distinguished Buffalo pianist badly injured recently in a car accident, has been scheduled for 7:30 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 27 at the Burchfield Penney Art Center.

Hoca, pictured above, is said to be recovering rapidly, and her spirits are good.

According to a tentative program, Pianist Ana Vafai and cellist Jonathan Golove are playing a Debussy Sonata and Charles Castleman is playing a violin sonata by Ysaye. A number of Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra musicians will be performing, including Valerie Heywood, principal violist; John Fullam, principal clarinetist; and Amy Glidden, associate concertmaster.

The evening will also include a performance by the Camerata di Sant'Antonio, the resident chamber orchestra of St. Anthony of Padua Church.

In addition to this benefit, the Erie Chamber Orchestra will be taking up a collection for Hoca during its October 8 concert. She was to have been the soloist on that occasion.

This second benefit concert, including music of Respighi and Ibert, will be held at 7:30 p.m. Oct. 8 at the Luther Memorial Church, 225 West 10th St., Erie, Pa. 16501.

Meanwhile, cards and good wishes for Claudia may be sent to her brother Theodore Hoca, 160 Buffalo St., Gowanda, N.Y. 14070.

Contributions may be made out to Theodore Hoca and deposited at Community Bank, 76 West Main St., Gowanda, NY 14070-1319. Please write on the check's memo line: "Deposit to the benefit account." Donations may also be made at any Community Bank branch.

Future Dance performs at Elmwood Festival of the Arts


Earlier this summer, I wrote a story about four students from Hamburg's Future Dance Center who appeared in the indie comedy "The Way Way Back." I saw they were on the schedule for today's dance showcase on the Lafayette Stage during the Elmwood Festival of the Arts and shot this video of some of the school's students dancing to Justin Timberlake's "Strawberry Bubblegum." The crowd loved them.

Among several other pieces, Future Dance students also peformed to Queen's "Somebody to Love":


--Colin Dabkowski

Pearl Jam releases "Mind Your Manners," first video from forthcoming album

Pearl Jam has released the first video from its forthcoming album, "Lightning Bolt." The video is directed by longtime PJ froiend and revered photographer Danny Clinch. "Mind Your Manners" is a scorching punk-based tune with some scathing sociopolitical subtext. Classic Pearl jam, then. 

Pearl Jam's forthcoming album Lightning Bolt will be released October 15 in the US on Monkeywrench/Republic Records.

It's available now for pre-order at and via  

- Jeff Miers 


Live chat at noon: Miers on Music with The News' pop music critic

The unique charms of Marian McPartland


By Mary Kunz Goldman

When someone lives to be 95, you can't complain. But it will be hard not to miss Marian McPartland.

She leaves such a legacy with her "Piano Jazz" show, which aired for years on WBFO-FM. It spotlighted almost any great jazz pianist you could think of. It was so sincere, and so personal. It was always funny to hear McPartland reminiscing about her husband, Jimmy McPartland. They got divorced but they stayed close friends. She would talk about George Shearing and the Hickory House where they all played. It was a British thing.

I will never forget the show where she had Joe Williams on and she could not stop giggling. She was like a schoolgirl, and Joe Williams knew it, you could just tell. When he went and did the risque "Who She Do," McPartland almost lost it and I did, too.

McPartland's playing was cool and bright and she had such an appreciation for the old standards. Once, a guest suggested a contemporary number. "Yes, we could play that," McPartland said. She paused. "But why play that when we could play ..." And she started in on "The Song Is You."

In 2002, McPartland came to Chautauqua along with a few other pianists including Ruth Laredo, the great classical virtuoso who died, tragically, rather young. I interviewed them and was surprised to find that Laredo was the cut-up, the broad, the one you could talk to. McPartland was more reserved.

Still, she was funny. "Oh, damn," she said once, in that British accent. "I have another call."

The reserve melted further when I happened to ask her about the dress she wore in the picture "A Great Day in Harlem," pictured up above. That is she in the dress in the front row standing, just right of center. She is speaking with Mary Lou Williams, to the right of her. Anyway, about that dress, I asked her what color it was.

She laughed and grew animated. "It was a nice, yellow cotton dress," she said. "Perfect for that weather." She remembered that legendary picture with such pride. After that we talked more easily.

Ruth Laredo, I remember, got a kick out of Marian. "She's so salty and funny," she said to me. "And she's very spontaneous. She doesn't plan what she's going to play. At all the concerts you'll see her in her dressing room, all dressed up. She'll write down what she's going to play on the back of an envelope. I've gone to see her at Birdland, she's got that little envelope."

McPartland never lost that envelope, or that quicksilver quality. In 2009 the young Buffalo pianist Christopher Ziemba appeared on "Piano Jazz." I asked Ziemba, then 22, what the experience was like.

"As soon as she sat down at the piano, it was as if a huge light bulb turned on," he said. "When she played, it wasn't as if she was 91 years old. There was a twinkle in her eyes. She was very astute."

That was Marian McPartland, in love with music until the end.

God love her.

Daemen College welcomes a new sculpture

Students roaming the campus of Daemen College now have some new eye-candy to look at, in the form of a recently installed sculpture by the Western New York artist Ellen Steinfeld. Here's a look at the new piece:

EllenSteinfeldSculpture atDaemen

The metal sculpture, called "Flux," is part of an effort at Daemen to bring its students into contact with more visual art. In a statement announcing the college's acquisition of the sculpture, Daemen President Gary A. Olson sang its praises:

"The arts are an essential part of life in our community," he said in the statement. "This bold work by Ellen Steinfeld, whose art has been exhibited across the nation, is representative of our goal to magnify the place of the arts at Daemen College, and in the community."

Steinfeld's work was also the focus of a recent exhibition in the Burchfield Penney Art Center.

--Colin Dabkowski

Artinfo rounds up Buffalo's art scene

In the past couple of years, there has been a steady stream of bloggy roundups of Buffalo's cultural offerings. Some of them have been focused on architecture or visual art, while others have taken a somewhat  wider view. Most of them have been little more than glorified lists. For that reason, I've avoided posting every last mention of Buffalo's thriving art scene in the national media (and there have been lots) in this space. But today, a post by's Rozalia Jovanovic caught my eye. The concise writeup struck me as one of the smarter roundups of Buffalo's scene, from grassroots offerings like City of Night to the top-dog Albright-Knox Art Gallery. Check it out.

--Colin Dabkowski

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