Geneva Community News

4931603258?profile=RESIZE_584xSt. Peter's Arts Continue Online

By Phil Beckly

GENEVA – The show must go on, and so must the arts instruction … even in a pandemic.

The faculty at the St. Peter’s Community Arts Academy has been able to continue teaching students by creative approaches. Arts for All continues, but many of the academy’s 300 students are learning online and at home, as shown by photos of students on the academy’s Facebook page.

In a recent letter to families and friends of the Community Arts Academy, the Rev. James Adams, Head of School, noted that following the governor’s orders on March 15, the academy shifted to on-line learning during the middle of the third academic quarter.
“It was heartbreaking for us to close our physical doors understanding how important the personal connection is when learning a dance technique, practicing notes and chords on an instrument or rehearsing a new song,” said Father Adams. “It is with gratitude that we recognize the extraordinary efforts of the faculty who rose to the challenge and began delivering their lessons remotely and creatively. With a show of continued commitment by the faculty, staff, parents and students, the on-line learning has continued into the fourth quarter.”
The Community Arts Academy offers lessons and performances in choirs, piano, violin, cello, organ, voice, dance and guitar for all ages. Until March 15 the lessons took place on the campus at 149 Genesee St., Geneva.

The experience of cello instructor Glenna Curren is a textbook example of making the best of a difficult situation.

“My students have been doing wonderfully,” Curren said. “We are all so grateful to be able to keep going. I have been able to continue my adult group classes, which honestly feels like a real treat to all of us. I think it is the highlight of everyone’s week! It’s difficult to play ensemble music over video, so we brainstormed other ideas, and the class has become a technique 'support group' where the students play their scales, etudes and ‘double stops’ for each other. I guess it’s more fun to work on the challenging parts of cello playing if you know you are all suffering through it together!"

"For private lessons I’ve been using mostly FaceTime and Google Duo, which both seem to have better sound than Zoom. While it took some time to get in a groove with my less-experienced students, we are figuring it out and it has been productive. I think everyone (especially adults) has been surprised by how effective video lessons can be. If anything, I think it has encouraged us all to be more engaged and to communicate more effectively — because we feel so far away from each other.”

Curren also has noticed another development. “I think the social interaction feels like a lifeline to all of us, as does having a meaningful hobby for the students. I am grateful that so many of my students have been awarded scholarships - I think it helps especially right now.”

Ben Ellis, guitar instructor, also noticed people finding “some peace and calm” in their music. “Remote teaching is going well. Actually, I’ve seen a lot of progress with the majority of my students. They must be getting some extra practice time in. Things are finally settling into a routine.”

Ballet School Instructor Alaina Olivieri said she is “teaching my regular schedule of dance classes over Zoom and supplementing with pre-recorded videos. My students have been wonderful about the transition. We all miss being in the studio together, but are happy to be able to continue dancing. Seeing each other at our regular time, wearing our class uniform and learning and rehearsing our recital dances has provided all of us with a sense of normalcy during this very abnormal situation. I am humbled by the dedication of all of my students and feel very fortunate to have them in my life.”

Wendra Trowbridge has dual responsibilities at the Academy. She is a voice instructor and the Director of three Community Arts Academy children’s choirs. She has continued teaching most of her voice students and says, “It’s been quite a learning experience doing lesson remotely by FaceTime and Zoom. I have made audio recordings for each of my student’s vocal exercises and accompaniments so that they can play them and sing along with them from home. This solved the “delay” issue with doing it live.”

Trowbridge has not been able to hold choir rehearsals because of the challenge of rehearsing large groups virtually. Trowbridge notes, “Noble attempts have been made to record ensembles in a virtual setting, including a small ensemble from one of the SPCAA choirs, but the result was inferior to live music making. Nothing will ever replace the synergy felt within a performing group. The rehearsals and performances of an ensemble are organic experiences that are ever changing and growing as you rehearse, build relationships and perform together. To say that this can be replaced by a virtual experience is just plain untrue and I am looking forward to the day when I can see everyone face-to-face again!”

Violin instructor Ellen Sonnenberg noted that “Online lessons have been going very well, and the students are enjoying them. I am really thankful for the technology we have during this time. One family informed me that they would not be able to continue lessons at this time, but would restart lessons once things return to normal. I am donating teaching hours to this family so they are able to continue with lessons. The priority is what is best for the students.”

“All the students in my studio have been continuing with their lessons and lessons are going well,” said Suzuki violin instructor Julianna Gray. “For many of the students, it seems the extra time at home has provided more practice time as they are sounding great. It’s been enjoyable for me to get this glimpse into their homes and many lessons include pets and pajamas. We’ve also shared many laughter-filled group classes as everyone seems to enjoy seeing one another. I look forward to the time I can see them in person, but they’re all continuing to play and improve despite the distance.”

Troy Slocum, piano instructor, found that group piano lessons presented challenges, but he has persevered and now has five half-hour Zoom group classes on Thursday evenings from 5:00 to 7:30. “Classes are focused on music theory instruction at various levels, he explained. Students will get an opportunity to play their pieces from their own home in a mini-performance for each other. Classes currently have three to eight students attending the Zoom sessions and for some students, this has provided an opportunity to be a part of the group class without the limitation of in-person class. I am grateful for their parents’ support and I am feeling good that we can still have a way to connect and learn music.”

Slocum has even been able to connect with a true “remote” piano student from Georgia.

Because some family incomes have been affected by the pandemic, the Arts Academy has arranged for interested people not affected to make a confidential donation toward providing a student the ability to take part in lessons through the rest of the season. Contact the Arts Academy at 315-789-0106 or send donations to St. Peter’s Community Arts Academy, P. O. Box 266, Geneva, NY 14456.

Besides causing adjustments in the Academy’s instruction, the pandemic caused the postponement of the Academy’s main fundraiser, the Dinner with the Arts, from March 29 to Sept. 20.

The St. Peter’s Community Arts Academy offers lessons and performances in choirs, piano, violin, cello, organ, voice, dance and guitar for all ages and now serves more than 300 students from 16 area schools in a five-county area in large part due to the dedicated core of instructors and staff, all of whom are professionals in their field. Embracing its theme of “Arts for All,” the St. Peter’s Community Arts Academy is open to students of all ages and levels of skill regardless of financial means or religious affiliation. Offerings will be expanded and enhanced in renovated space with a $4-million Capital Campaign currently under way. For donations or more information, check or

The accompanying photos of St. Peter’s Community Arts Academy students doing online learning at home appeared on the arts academy’s Facebook page.

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Geneva Community News

4586398289?profile=RESIZE_400xMary Gearan Honored By Harvard

BOSTON -- News from Boston will surprise virtually no one in Geneva today.
Anyone who was acquainted with Mary Herlihy-Gearan, wife of Hobart and William Smith Colleges' President Emeritus Mark Gearan, has known how extensively she worked with undergraduate students making their way through the passage to adulthood.
It took Harvard University only two years to realize what that institution got when Mary Gearan returned to Boston.
Harvard recently awarded Mary Gearan with the John R. Marquand Award for Excellence in Advising and Support. In part, the award announcement said: "The nominations we received in your name indicated that you have demonstrated compassion and a strong desire to assist undergraduate students in many ways both within and outside of your roles as a Harvard affiliate. Furthermore, it is evident that you have inspired and advised many undergraduate students in ways that have positively shaped their experiences on many levels, and they, along with many others, have appreciated your efforts.''

Since moving from HWS, Mary and Mark, who heads the Institute of Politics at Harvard's Kennedy School of Government, have continued the kind of work Genevans came to know over their 18 years at the colleges. In addition to the public roles, the Gearans assumed the role of interim faculty Deans of Winthrop House, one of the university's residential houses, that had experienced leadership issues. Mary Gearan was, evidently, the answer to those challenges.

While moving to Boston, the Gearans have remained in close touch with Geneva. Their daughter, Kathleen, is a student at William Smith Colleges. Mary Gearan also has kept in touch with the Geneva Rotary Club, having graced the recent "zoom" club meetings that have replaced the regular weekly gatherings at the Geneva Country Club.



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Geneva Community News

Club Delivers 10,000th Meal

GENEVA -- This week the Boys & Girls Club team is passing a milestone -- 10,000 meals delivered since the virus crisis closed the local schools.
Breakfast and lunches Monday through Friday and dinners Mondays through Saturdays have added up as what some thought would be a short sprint has turned into a bit of a marathon.
"We've had support from throughout the community,'' said Chris Lavin, the Boys & Girls Club's executive director. "And it's not over!''
The club regularly served about 110 dinners nightly as part of its after-school program. When schools closed and many parents were thrown out of jobs, the demand for food quickly grew.
Today our staff is serving and delivering 400 dinners per night and 200 breakfasts and lunches, Lavin said.
"We've had some key partners teaching us the ropes,'' Lavin said. "Sodexo, Wegmans, and some key local restaurants -- including Cams, Bella's, B & D Market -- have been there with us day in an day out.''
Lavin said donors from throughout the region -- including the United Way, the Wyckoff Family Foundation and many individuals -- have helped defray the approximately $7,000 per week cost of this operation.
For the last four weeks, St. Peter's Episcopal Church has sponsored the Saturday night dinners.
Lavin said the organization will endeavor to keep the service going through the end of June, the traditional end of the school year. Preliminary plans for summer food needs are being considered as well, Lavin said.
Many Genevans work at hourly jobs that are currently shut down and, without pay checks, keeping food in the house is a challenge.
The Boys & Girls Club has worked in partnership with the Geneva City School District, which supplies breakfast and lunches to hundreds of school age children each day.

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Geneva Community News

4439157547?profile=RESIZE_584xWarmth From Within

GENEVA -- What a gorgeous morning greeted Genevans today. Spring sun on the last dusting of snow. It is really just time-delayed rain. It will melt away through the day. I know some tire of winter a bit, but as someone who lived in the sunbelt for 35 years, there is such rejuvenation in a few months of snow and cold. Mild cleansing, insect elimination, moisture and life everywhere. In the land of endlessly whirring air-conditioners, dust and dirt, lightning and tornadoes, hurricanes and firestorms that move across hillsides like a blowtorch, are a constant threat. Something like 16 Floridians a year are killed by bolts from the afternoon blue. Compare that to some healthy snow shoveling, some days in front of a warm fire with a glass of Billsboro red or Johannas' SanSan riesling. Not so bad.
And these days, I am honored daily by witnessing life in a city with deep roots and strong connections. A farmer called yesterday offering fresh eggs for our grocery deliveries with the Boys & Girls Club. Another offered garlic ramps. B & D Market brought family pans of lasagna. And our friends at Bella's Restaurant are hunting down Skittles, Starbursts and Flaming Hot Cheetos for several hundred kids restricted to tight quarters.
I'll take the snow -- even this late dusting after a mellow winter.

-- Chris Lavin, Executive Director, Boys & Girls Club of Geneva



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Geneva Community News

Donations Sought To Support Club Food Effort

GENEVA -- To limit potential of spreading of the coronavirus, the Boys & Girls Club of Geneva was forced to suspend normal programming while its members stayed home.
Rather than close, however, the club decided it could use its food and academic support services to support club and community members.
The club formed a call center and began arranging for food deliveries. Academic support will begin when schools have delivered work packages to the students this week. (Call center 315-759-6060)
"A lot of Geneva kids count on the schools and our club to meet their nutrition needs,'' said Allauna Overstreet Gibson, Assistant Executive Director of the Boys & Girls Club. "We wanted to make sure this health crisis didn't lead to hunger among our members.''
Monday's deliveries and pick ups totaled 120 and include spaghetti, meatballs, vegetables, fresh fruit and cookies. Food is being supplied by NY Kitchen in Canandaigua and Sodexo at Hobart and William Smith Colleges and is funded in part by grants and local donations. Click on the video above to see scenes from Monday's deliveries.
The club hopes to keep this service going throughout the school closure and, if possible, make it available to other community members in need.
"A lot of people have called and asked to volunteer in this effort,'' said Chris Lavin, the club's executive director. "We have the staff and food handling rules make volunteers more challenging, but we could use donations to cover added food costs. With job losses, we expect the need to rise well above our normal levels. We are also helping families with hygiene and cleaning supplies.''
Donations can be made directly for this purpose by CLICKING HERE.

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Lake to Lake Quilt Guild Show 2020 CANCELLED









Lake to Lake Quilt Guild will hold our 2020 Quilt Show " Spring into Color - Hawaiian Style" on Friday, April 10 and Saturday, April 11, 2020 from 9:30 am to 4:30 pm both days at the Geneva Community Center, 160 Carter Rd, Geneva, NY 14456.  Nancy Lee Chong, renowned Hawaiian Applique expert and former owner of Pacific Rim Quilts, will be our guest lecturer.  She has two lectures scheduled; her Friday afternoon lecture will be "Hawaiian Appplique - History, Tradition, Superstitions" and Saturday morning will be: "Confessions of an Applique Addict".  

In addition, noted Quilt Appraiser, Eugenia Barnes, who was among the first licensed quilt appraisers in the USA, will delight our attendees with her often entertaining stories during a bed turning. A bed turning is a lecture about quilts that have been piled upon a bed on center stage. Eugenia will speak about age, color of fabrics, style, and history of the quilts.  This is always one of our most popular events at our shows.

New this year are presentations by The Finger Lake Barn Trail group who are trying to establish a Barn Trail route where people can drive by and look at all of the different quilt blocks that are popping up on local barns in the Finger Lakes. If you have a place to display a quilt block on your barn and are interested they will provide information.

Our show has two special exhibits from Rochester Area Fiber Arts group and the Quilter's Consortium of NY (QCNYS) Challenge Quilt Exhibit entitled, " Still Crazy" featuring crazy quilts of all kinds.  Our Lake to lake Quilt Guild have loads of beautiful quilts to show you. Enjoy our vendor's mall, Gift Gallery, and Quilter's Cafe will be open. Our ticket price is $6, children under 12 are free but must be accompanied by an adult. 

We like to give back to our community as well. This year our Raffle Quilt Proceeds will be donated to the local cancer support group, "Thrive to Survive".

For more information go to our website: look under the Quilt Show tab on the left. Facebook page is Lake to Lake Quilt Guild







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Coming Soon!


Theatre444 is proud to bring you The Vagina Monologues, with all proceeds to benefit Safe Harbors of the Finger Lakes.  Eve Ensler wrote the first draft of the monologues in 1996 (there have been several revisions since) following interviews she conducted with 200 women about their views on sex, relationships, and violence against women. In an interview with, Ensler said that her fascination with vaginas began because of growing up in a violent society.  “Women's empowerment is deeply connected to their sexuality." Ensler states that in 1998, the purpose of the piece changed from a celebration of vaginas and femininity to a movement to stop violence against women. This was the start of the V-Day movement which has continued strong every year since, has turned into a worldwide phenomenon, and a very successful non-profit organization. The V-Day global activist movement to end violence against all women and girls is more active than ever.  Every February women all over the world ban together in this movement and Theatre444 is proud to be a part of it.  

 When women take the stage, incredible things happen, as their issues are voiced and confronted for all to see and hear.  With a talented cast hailing from multiple cities, audiences can expect to see pieces of themselves in these characters.  These brave women include Megan Carlson(Canandaigua), Richelle Coons(Lyons), Claudine Folks(Geneva), Allauna Overstreet Gibson(Geneva), Margaret Griffin(Fairport), Mary Lynn Jackson(Geneva), Christine Legott(Geneva), Mary McDonald(Romulus), Tiffany Sculi(Geneva), Wendy Varricchio Fletcher(Seneca Falls), and Madison Yearsley(Seneca Falls). The group is lead by NYS Award Winning Artistic Director Pam Rapoza.  Richelle Coons serves as Stage Manager and Garrett Coons serves as Technical Director.  

 Performances are Thursday, Friday and Saturday, February 27th, 28th and 29th at 7:30pm.   All performances are at the Geneva Community Center at 160 Carter Road Geneva, NY 14456.  Visit  to purchase limited tickets. For more information on Theatre444, visit and like our page for updates.    

 Safe Harbors of the Finger Lakes, Inc. provides services, at no charge, for individuals, children, and families who have experienced sexual assault, sexual abuse, and interpersonal violence in Ontario, Seneca, and Yates Counties. They offer individual counseling, support groups, legal accompaniment, and personal advocacy with referrals to other local agencies; they also provide primary prevention services in schools, professional agencies, and in the communities they serve.  If you are in crisis and cannot reach anyone at the office call the hotline day or night; 1-800-247-7273.

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