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Friday, 28 February 2014 08:13

Don’t Drop Out – Drop In!

SOS Youth Outreach Drop-In Center Provides Services For Young Adults In Need

SARATOGA SPRINGS— The Shelters of Saratoga (SOS) Youth Outreach Drop-in Center at 20 Walworth Street is completing its fourth month of operation and is making an impact in a variety of ways.  


The Drop-in Center, which is open on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., serves an important demographic: young adults, ages 16 to 21. The services provided are diverse and can make a difference on both the quality of a young person’s day-to-day life as well as providing increased potential for their futures. 

On any given day, the clients and their individual needs determine the services provided. As SOS Youth Outreach Coordinator and Case Manager Crystal Swinton puts it:


“You never know what the flavor of the day will be.” 


But the Drop-in Center appears quite ready for anything.


A new client, or first-time visitor might be very surprised by the array of services available here. The basic necessities we often take for granted, such as a shower or laundry facility with materials provided, or a healthy lunch or snack is always available (provided weekly from Sweet Mimi’s Café on Phila Street. Two volunteers from St. Peters youth group coordinate this: Tori Los and Max Liebers.) 


But a client can also get educational help or job search guidance including resume writing assistance, all designed to improve a client’s work readiness. Those without a physical address can utilize the SOS P.O. Box. A computer and printer are available with Internet access. Once a week, Siobahn A’Hearn, a nutrition program educator from Cornell Cooperative Extension’s “Eat Smart New York” program is in-house to provide nourishment guidance and techniques. Public health nurses visit regularly also. 


“The small group of volunteers we have are extremely resourceful,” Ms. Swinton notes, “We are fortunate to have most everything we need.” Although, she notes that there is an ongoing need for bottled water (should someone wish to drop off a case or two during the week, please note that it should be clearly marked for the youth drop-in center so it gets to the right destination.) Ms. Swinton cited one need for consistent transportation down to the CAPTAIN Youth and Family Center in Clifton Park twice a week so that clients could take advantage of CAPTAIN’s high school diploma equivalency programs. 


There are also outreach activities to stimulate the mind and body, said Ms. Swinton, such as a recent rock-climbing trip, with other off-site activities planned as the weather brightens. 


But it is obvious that there is never a day with anything less than a warm and sunny atmosphere, combined with several rays of hope, on any day one visits the Youth Drop-In Center. Crystal Swinton, her volunteers and the SOS staff make sure of that. 



To learn more about the services at the SOS Youth Drop-in Center, contact Crystal Swinton at (518) 321-8239.

Friday, 28 February 2014 08:06

Growth That Works

Stewart’s Seed Money To Make It Happen in Maltaville

MALTA— The town of Malta has been challenged with coping with some of Saratoga County’s greatest growth issues arising out of the as a result of the siting of GlobalFoundries at the Luther Forest Technology Campus. 


Often the results have been regarded as haphazard: either overreaching or inadequate – a dozen roundabouts (with potentially more on the horizon) and the retail vacancies in the Ellsworth Commons project being two visible examples. 


The Town Board, to its credit, has attempted to take a fresh approach. At the February 3 town meeting, they established a Route 9 South/Route 67 Rezoning Committee, which is charged with looking at the entire area in a comprehensive way to avoid individual “spot zoning” of parcels in this key gateway area to the GlobalFoundries plant. 


This will be a developing story for quite a while, but there is a situation in process currently that, if adopted, can illustrate how growth and development can have multiple positive outcomes. 


It may come as no surprise that this situation sprang forth from the private sector. 


The Stewart’s Shops Corporation is advocating the formation of a Planned Development District and the Town Board has heard presentations by Mr. Tom Lewis, who is now a consultant but formerly was the company’s Real Estate Representative. Stewart’s has an option on a key parcel (see aerial map) along the roundabout located on route 67 and Luther Forest Boulevard – a key entranceway to GlobalFoundries and the LF Tech Park. It would like a building permit to construct a shop that would have gas pumps. 


The desirability to Stewart’s to have this site is obvious; also obvious is the desirability of having a convenient gas/convenience store for the thousands who will be passing by to and from work at Fab8 and other sites.  


Stewart’s would be able to hook up to an existing water main. As part of an incentive to receive a building permit for the site, they have offered the town the sum of $200,000 as seed money for the purpose of extending water lines along old Route 67 and Dugan Hill Road in a neighborhood known as Maltaville. Mr. Lewis had a representative from Saratoga Water Services verify that for that amount of seed money, a 10” water main could be extended 1000 feet, which includes lateral connections to individual (both existing and future) parcels as needed.  


This could be the spur needed to stimulate future residential development in a desirable location that is very close to the Technology Campus. After this, the water lines could be extended further in the neighborhood by residential developers. 


The next stages are to develop the final legislative language. There are some minor issues to be settled, such as the Saratoga County Water Authority taking ownership of the parcel upon which a water tower would sit. The water authority needs that provision in order to borrow money for the tower.  Mr. Lewis also indicated that he was willing to accept a contingency that Stewart’s would receive a building permit after the pipes were in the ground.


Once the legislation is finalized, an item can be put on the town board’s agenda that would schedule a public hearing. It appeared that everyone was going to push to finalize the language in time for this item to be on the next meeting’s agenda, which takes place on Monday, March 3, with a public hearing at the April meeting.


This could be an example of growth that works—a win/win for everyone concerned. 


As noted above, Stewart’s option on the parcel is contingent upon receiving a building permit but “the optimist in me says this is going to happen,” Tom Lewis said.




SARATOGA SPRINGS – A dynamic lineup of internationally-renowned classical soloists, famed guest conductors, star-studded pops evenings and exciting premieres will highlight the 2014 residency of The Philadelphia Orchestra at Saratoga Performing Arts Center (SPAC), August 6 – 23. Highlights of the season include: conducting appearances by Yannick Nézet-Séguin, the acclaimed Music Director of The Philadelphia Orchestra; the New York premiere of composer Tan Dun’s Nu Shu: The Secret Songs of Women, a multi-media work featuring Principal Harp Elizabeth Hainen;  classical superstars including Itzhak Perlman, Yo-Yo Ma, Jeremy Denk and Alison Balsom; an American Songbook Opening Night; and a Broadway  extravaganza with Tony Award nominees Stephanie Block and Andrew Rannells.  Sharing the podium with Yannick Nézet-Séguin during the season will be a stellar cast of guest conductors including Bramwell Tovey, Cristian Macelaru, Steven Reineke and Stéphane Denève


“Each August when The Philadelphia Orchestra returns to its summer stage at SPAC, we have the privilege of hosting one of the world’s greatest orchestras in one of the world’s greatest settings,” said Marcia J. White, SPAC’s President and Executive Director. “Yet, the story of each season is written by the programming; that unique combination of conductor, repertoire and soloist that, at its best, can engage the audience in an experience they will never forget. Each and every evening of our spectacular 2014 season has been curated with that goal in mind.”  


“One of the most anticipated events of the season will be the return of Yannick Nézet-Séguin, the Orchestra’s acclaimed Music Director who has become one of the most sought-after and admired conductors on the international music scene. His gift for connecting with artists and audiences is reinvigorating the concert hall experience and attracting a new generation to classical music,” said Ms. White. “Yannick will lead two extraordinary programs including the New York premiere of Academy Award-winning composer Tan Dun’s captivating Nu Shu: The Secret Songs of Women, an artistically and emotionally powerful multi-mediatour de force.”


“Itzhak Perlman, arguably the finest violinist of our time, will make his first appearance at SPAC since 2007,” she continued. “Beloved for his charm and humanity and revered for his extraordinary talent, he has brought joy to millions across the world through his music. We are proud to offer audiences the opportunity to experience Mr. Perlman’s gifts as both a violinist and conductor on one extraordinary evening.” 


“One of the most highly anticipated aspects of the Orchestra season are the opportunities it offers our audiences to see, hear and experience true virtuosos; soloists whose extraordinary gifts have earned them the status of  ‘best in the world,’” said White. “During our 2014 Orchestra season, the cast of talents who will join us includes longtime friends such as Yo-Yo Ma and Itzhak Perlman as well as several celebrated soloists who we will introduce on our stage for the first time including Jeremy Denk, Alison Balsom, Alisa Weilerstein, Miloš Karadaglić,Alain Lefèvre and Denis Kozhukhin.”


“Overall, it is a spectacular program, with an exceptional variety of offerings designed to appeal to a range of musical tastes. From the traditional to the innovative; from the classical to the contemporary, this is a stunning season that will showcase the depth and versatility of this extraordinary orchestra and offer our audiences unparalleled experiences,” said White.  


Yannick  NÉzet-SÉguin  Returns to SPAC


YANNICK NÉZET-SÉGUIN, following a triumphant 2012-13 inaugural season as Music Director of The Philadelphia Orchestra, returns to the podium at SPAC to conduct two stellar programs on August 14 and 15.  Regarded by critics and audiences alike as one of the most extraordinary talents on the international music scene, Yannick’s leadership of the Orchestra has been widely praised; the New York Times heralded a January 2013 concert as “phenomenal…the ensemble, famous for its glowing strings and homogeneous richness, has never sounded better.” The Financial Times noted, “…Nézet-Séguin may just be the most compelling, most accomplished conductor of his generation.”


A conductor who finds inspiration from music of all generations and genres, Nézet-Séguin’s programs often juxtapose traditional, symphonic works from the orchestra repertoire with works that offer contrasts in style, historical period or other elements.  That theme is present in both of the programs Yannick will lead at SPAC:


§  AUGUST 14|  Yannick Returns! with Guest Artists Alison Balsom and Miloš Karadaglić


British trumpeter ALISON BALSOM, Gramophone’s 2013 “Artist of the Year,” makes her SPAC debut performing the impressive Haydn Trumpet Concerto, a work that is considered the crown jewel among Haydn’s works for soloist and orchestra.  Sharing the solo spotlight with Ms. Balsom and also making his SPAC debut will be Montenegrin guitarist, MILOŠ KARADAGLIĆ, Gramophone’s 2011 “Young Artist of the Year,” who will perform Rodrigo’sserene and beautiful Concierto de Aranjuez.  The program concludes with a towering symphonic masterpiece – Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 6, (“Pathetique”),an intensely expressive work composed shortly before Tchaikovsky’s death. The darkness that resonates throughout the work is reflective of the composer’s emotional state at the time he wrote it. It is considered by many to be his greatest symphony.


§  AUGUST 15 | Nu Shu: The Secret Songs of Women and Mahler Symphony No. 1


Passionately committed to, and passionate about, the work of current day composers and equally committed to showcasing the artistry within the Orchestra, Yannick Nézet-Séguin will lead the Orchestra and Principal Harpist Elizabeth Hainen in the New York premiere of Nu Shu: The Secret Songs of Women, a multi-media work created by Academy Award-winning composer Tan Dan (Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon). The Chinese-born Tan Dun was commissioned by the Orchestra, along with the NHK Symphony Orchestra and the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, to create the work for Principal Harp Elizabeth Hainen. The piece is a dramatic, 12-movement symphony and accompanying series of micro films, that bring to life the ancient secret language – Nu Shu – shared only by women in the remote area of Tan’s home province of Hunan, China.  


Maestro Nézet-Séguin will then lead the Orchestra in a performance of Mahler’s extravagant Symphony No. 1 “Titan,” a work which is the perfect expression of one of Mahler’s most quoted sayings: “The symphony is a world; it must contain everything.”  Mahler’s symphony envelopes a variety of influences: from the sounds of nature to popular waltzes to funeral marches and folk songs. It ends with a thrilling, dramatic intensity.   


Special Programs and Pops


§  AUGUST 6 | The American Songbook: Gershwin, Bernstein and Copland


The Opening Night of the Orchestra’s Saratoga program on August 6 will celebrate the genius of three of the greatest American composers of all time: Leonard Bernstein, George Gershwin and Aaron Copland. Each wrote works that straddled the classical and popular idioms and helped define the sound of 20th century American music. Led by Grammy Award-winning conductor BRAMWELL TOVEY, music director of the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra and the LA Philharmonic's summer series, the Orchestra will take audiences on a musical journey through the composers’ iconic works, accompanied by a Broadway vocalist (tba). An accomplished pianist, Maestro Tovey will step down from the podium to perform Gershwin’s groundbreaking Rhapsody in Blue.  


§  AUGUST 15 | Nu Shu: The Secret Songs of Women, Symphony for 12 Micro Films, Harp & Orchestra


Saratoga Performing Arts Center is proud to host The Philadelphia Orchestra and Principal Harp ELIZABETH HAINEN presenting the New York premiere of composer Tan Dan’s groundbreaking multi-media masterpiece, Nu Shu: The Secret Songs of Women. Five years of research went into creating the work which explores Nu Shu, an ancient language, secretly created by women in a remote area of Hunan, China and passed through the generations by reading, writing and singing. Tan Dun filmed over 200 hours of video and audio recordings of the last remaining women who still speak the language. The films, projected onto three screens, accompany the orchestra and harp and feature such titles as, “Secret Fan,” “Dressing for the Wedding,” and “Longing for her Sister.”  Of The Philadelphia Orchestra’s 2013 US Premiere, Tom Purdom of Broad Street Review praised:


“…one of the most moving finales I have experienced in a concert hall. In one stroke, Tan Dun honors the sacrifices and achievements of the past, and connects it to the future…Tan Dun has given it an artistic expression worthy of its magnitude.”


The symphony was created for harp solo, an instrument Tan Dun selected because “of its beautiful feminine sound” and distinctive shape – similar to one of the ancient Nu Shucharacters.  Combining the fields of anthropology, musicology, history and philosophy, Tan Dunweaves heartrending stories of mothers, daughters, sisters and how they navigate their lives through the music of Nu Shu.



§  AUGUST 20 | Itzhak Perlman Plays and Conducts

Violin virtuoso and classical music icon ITZHAK PERLMAN makes his highly anticipated return to SPAC on August 20 for the first time since 2007. Undeniably the reigning virtuoso of the violin, Perlman enjoys superstar status rarely afforded a classical musician. The winner of 15 Grammy Awards and four Emmy Awards, the musician will perform dual roles of soloist and conductor for the performance. With his expressive musicianship, Perlman will perform Bach’s Violin Concerto in A Minor. Then, trading the violin for the baton, Perlman will conduct Weber’s Overture to his English-language opera Oberon and Brahm’s much-loved Symphony No. 1.



§  AUGUST 9 | POPS: Cirque de la Symphonie


Back by popular demand, Cirque de la Symphonie returns to SPAC for an August 9 program. Currently a sell-out show at concert halls across the US, the stunning production features world-record holders, gold medal winners and former Olympians performing acrobatics, aerial feats and astonishing displays of strength uniquely choreographed to classical music masterpieces. Under the direction of Cristian Macelaru, Associate Conductor of The Philadelphia Orchestra, the troupe will present an all-new program featuring a breadth of symphonic repertoire including “Carnival Overture,”  “Spanish Dance” from La Vida Breve, “Ritual Fire Dance” from El Amor Brujo, “Flight to Neverland” from Hook and “Danse des Bouffons” from The Snow Maiden. The San Francisco Examiner has called the show, "..dazzling and elegant, if not death-defying!"



§  AUGUST 13 | POPS: “On Broadway” starring Tony Nominees Stephanie J. Block and Andrew Rannells


On August 13, SPAC welcomes back New York Pops Conductor Steven Reineke for “On Broadway,” an evening celebrating the music from some of Broadway’s most beloved shows.  Joining Mr. Reineke and the Orchestra will be Tony Award nominees STEPHANIE J. BLOCKand ANDREW RANNELLS. Block, best known for her portrayal of Elphaba in Broadway’s Wicked and Rannells, a multi-faceted talent whose breakout role as Elder Price in Broadway’s The Book of Mormon earned him Tony, Drama Desk and Drama League award nominations and who currently stars in HBO comedy series Girls, will sing some of Broadway’s most unforgettable hits from the past and present including selections from West Side Story, Carousel, Ragtime, The Book of Mormon, Wicked, and more.


Guest Artists and Conductors


Hailed by the international press as “an astonishing virtuosa" (The Times) with “a true poet of the trumpet…” (BBC Music Magazine), 34-year-old ALISON BALSOM makes her first appearance at SPAC on August 14 with a performance of Haydn’s Trumpet Concerto. The 2013 Gramophone “Artist of the Year,” Balsom  was raised in Royston, England where she grew up playing in brass bands; today she is one of the few classical musicians to have achieved a successful solo career on the trumpet.


Also making his first appearance at SPAC this season will be MacArthur Fellowship recipient and Musical America’s 2014 Instrumentalist of the Year, JEREMY DENK. Regarded as one of America’s most thought provoking, multi-faceted and compelling artists, Denk performs with the world’s greatest orchestras and symphonies and regularly gives recitals throughout the US. Praised by the New York Times as a pianist “…you want to hear, no matter what he performs,” Denk is also known for his original and insightful writing on music, which the New Yorker’s Alex Ross praises for its “arresting sensitivity and wit.” He will perform Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 1, a work that Beethoven himself premiered in 1798.


Joining the list of soloists making their SPAC debut is Montenegrin guitarist MILOŠ KARADAGLIĆ, hailed as a “new guitar hero” by the London Telegraph. Miloš came to international attention in 2011 with his debut album The Guitar (Mediterraneo) which, in the space of just a few months, topped classical charts around the world and earned Miloš Gramophone’s prestigious Young Artist of the Year Award. Miloš will make his SPAC debut performing Rodrigo’s Concierto de Aranjuez. The work, which premiered in Barcelona in 1940, was an instant success, leading many musicologists to attribute Rodrigo for making classical guitar music popular.


Award-winning cellist and icon of the music world, YO-YO MA brings his stunning musical gifts to the Orchestra stage in a performance of two of Tchaikovsky’s most popular and melodious works: the Andante cantabile and his virtuosic Variations on a Rococo Theme. Arguably the world’s greatest living cellist, Yo-Yo Ma is a champion of musical innovation and cross cultural exchange which he has pursued through initiatives such as the Silk Road Project and countless cross-genre collaborations.


French Canadian pianist ALAIN LEFÈVRE makes his SPAC debut on the Orchestra’s August 16 program. Lefèvre, winner of a 2010 JUNO award for Best Classical Album of the Year, has worked with orchestras all over the world, including the Montreal Symphony Orchestra, the Toronto Symphony and the Quebec Symphony Orchestra. Described by the Toronto Star as “the 10 most agile fingers to have emerged from Quebec,” Lefèvre has performed in more than thirty countries worldwide. Lefèvre will perform Gershwin’s Piano Concerto in F, a work that, along with his opera Porgy and Bess, is regarded as Gershwin’s most successful fusion of classical music with jazz and popular music.


American cellist and 2011 MacArthur Foundation Fellow ALISA WEILERSTEIN (Aug 21)has attracted widespread attention worldwide for playing that combines a natural virtuosic command and technical precision with impassioned musicianship. The Los Angeles Times said, “Weilerstein’s cello is her id. She doesn’t give the impression that making music involves will at all. She and the cello seem simply to be one and the same.” Weilerstein, who will be making her first orchestral appearance at SPAC, will perform the Saint-Saëns Cello Concerto, the Romantic Era composer’s brilliant tour de force.


Young, dynamic Russian pianist DENIS KOZHUKHIN, lauded by critics around the world for his technical prowess and compelling performances, will make his SPAC debut on August 23 performing Rachmaninoff’s Piano Concerto No. 3, a work that has the reputation of being one of the most technically challenging piano concertos in the classical repertoire. Launched onto the international scene after winning First Prize in the 2010 Queen Elisabeth Competition in Brussels at the age of 23, he has quickly established a formidable reputation, eliciting the following observation from Classical Source, “…it may well be that Denis Kozhukhin can be considered as the leader of the pack of Russian pianists currently under forty.”


YANNICK NÉZET-SÉGUIN, Music Director of The Philadelphia Orchestra,  returns to SPAC in 2014 (Aug 14, 15) for the first time since his highly praised debut in 2012.  (see page 2 for more detail)


Since his Saratoga debut in 2011, internationally renowned conductor BRAMWELL TOVEY has become a favorite on the SPAC podium as a result of his artistic depth, humor and charismatic personality. He returns in 2014 to lead three programs (Aug 6 – 8) including Opening Night which will feature the maestro as concert pianist in a performance of Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue.  The multi-talented Tovey is the Music Director of the Vancouver Symphony, Principal Guest Conductor of the Los Angeles Philharmonic at the Hollywood Bowl and founding host and conductor of the New York Philharmonic’s Summertime Classics series at Avery Fisher Hall.


Conducting two programs (Aug 9, 16) during the season will be CRISTIAN MACELARU, Associate Conductor of The Philadelphia Orchestra. The Romanian-born conductor has earned numerous accolades for his artistry, including the 2012 Sir Georg Solti Emerging Conductor Award. During the 2013–14 season, Mr. Macelaru will make a highly-anticipated subscription debut with the National Symphony Orchestra, a return to the Chicago Symphony, and appearances with the Florida Orchestra, Naples Philharmonic, Alabama Symphony and San Antonio Symphony.  


New York Pops Conductor STEVEN REINEKE returns to lead “On Broadway,” (Aug 13) a pops program of Broadway hits, past and present. The dynamic maestro has emerged as one of America’s premier pops conductors. In addition to the New York Pops, he holds conducting posts with the Toronto Symphony Orchestra and the National Symphony Orchestra at the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts.


Conducting the final week of the Orchestra’s season (Aug 21, 22 & 23) will be French-born conductor STÉPHANE DENÈVE, Chief Conductor of the Stuttgart Radio Symphony Orchestra and former Music Director of the Royal Scottish National Orchestra. Denève, who made his debut on SPAC’s podium in 2011, has become a favorite with classical music audiences worldwide for his charismatic and “kinetic presence on the podium.” In 2012, he was shortlisted for Gramophone’s “Artist of the Year” award.


Ticket prices for SPAC’s Orchestra performances start at $24 for lawn seats; inside seating ranges from $32 to $85. The Kids in Free program entitles children 12 and under to free lawn admission for Orchestra performances.  The Student Discount program allows students of all ages to purchase lawn admission for $10 or inside seating at a 25 percent discount. Tickets to the Orchestra and SPAC’s classical season go on sale online at spac.org on February 25 for members and March 18 for the general public.  Box Office and phone sales begin on May 15.



About Saratoga Performing Arts Center

Saratoga Performing Arts Center, located in the historic resort town of Saratoga Springs in upstate New York, has established a reputation as one of America’s most prestigious summer festivals. Its tranquil setting in a 2,400-acre park preserve surrounded by hiking trails, geysers, and natural mineral springs draws vacation crowds and arts connoisseurs each year to its summer programming, which includes summer residencies by New York City Ballet, The Philadelphia Orchestra and the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center. The 2014 summer season will also include engagements by the Bolshoi Ballet, the Martha Graham Dance Company and MOMIX, concerts by Live Nation and productions by Opera Saratoga.  The final curtain of the SPAC season comes down in early September with the annual Saratoga Wine and Food Festival, one of the fastest-growing wine and food events in the nation.  Information and tickets are available at spac.org



2014 Saratoga Season*


August 6 - 23



Wednesday, August 6th


Opening Night: The American Songbook


Bramwell Tovey Conductor

Vocalist, TBA


GERSHWIN Strike Up The Band

BERNSTEIN Three Dance Episodes from On The Town

GERSHWIN Rhapsody in Blue

BERNSTEIN Glitter and Be Gay

GERSHWIN Various Songs

COPLAND Billy the Kid Suite (TBC)

Thursday, August 7th


An Evening on The Rhine


Bramwell Tovey Conductor

Jeremy Denk Piano


BEETHOVEN Piano Concerto No. 1

BEETHOVEN Egmont Overture

MAHLER Blumine

STRAUSS Der Rosenkavalier Suite


Friday, August 8th

An Evening with Yo-Yo


Bramwell Tovey Conductor

Yo-Yo Ma Cello


DELIUS Song of Summer

TCHAIKOVSKY Variations on a Rococo Theme

TCHAIKOVSKY Andante Cantabile


Saturday, August 9th


Cirque de la Symphonie


Cristian Macelaru Conductor


Repertoire including “Carnival  Overture,”Spanish Dance” from La Vida Breve, “Ritual Fire Dance” from El Amor Brujo, “Flight to Neverland” from Hook, “Danse des Bouffons” from The Snow Maiden and more.

Wednesday, August 13th

POPS: On Broadway


Steven Reineke Conductor

Stephanie  Block, vocals

        Andrew Rannells, vocals


Selections from Broadway hits including West Side Story, Carousel, Ragtime, The Book of Mormon, Wicked, Smokey Joe’s Café, Kiss of the Spiderwoman and more.


Thursday, August 14th

Yannick  Returns!


Yannick Nézet-Séguin Conductor

Alison Balsom Trumpet

Miloš Karadaglić Guitar


HAYDN Trumpet Concerto

RODRIGO Concierto de Aranjuez

TCHAIKOVSKY SymphonyNo. 6 (“Pathetique”)

Friday, August 15th


Nu Shu: The Secret Songs of Women



Yannick Nézet-Séguin, Conductor

Elizabeth Hainen, Harp


TAN DUN Nu Shu: Secret Songs of Women

MAHLER Symphony No. 1


Saturday, August 16th

Celebration of an Artist


Cristian Macelaru Conductor

Alain Lefèvre Piano



GERSHWIN Piano Concerto in F

RACHMANINOFF Symphonic Dances

Wednesday, August 20st

An Evening with Itzhak Perlman


Itzhak  Perlman Conductor
         Itzhak Perlman Violin


BACH A minor Violin Concerto

WEBER Oberon Overture

BRAHMS Symphony No. 1

Thursday, August 21nd

An Evening with Alisa Weilerstein


Stéphane Denève Conductor

Alisa Weilerstein Cello


BERLIOZ Roman Carnival Overture

SAINT-SAËNS Cello Concerto

ROSSINI William Tell Overture

RESPIGHI Pines of Rome

Friday, August 22rd


Stéphane Denève Conductor



Saturday, August 23th

Tchaikovsky Spectacular!

Stéphane Denève Conductor

Denis Kozhukhin Piano


RACHMANINOFF Piano Concerto No. 3

PROKOFIEV Cinderella Selections

TCHAIKOVSKY 1812 Overture

Friday, 21 February 2014 11:20

New Mission For Neumann

Senior Housing Proposed For Lake Avenue

SARATOGA SPRINGS – For weeks, residents had seen the signs.


First, the signs said that The St. John Neumann Residence on the St. Clement’s campus at 233 Lake Avenue was “for sale.” Then later, “sale pending.” And though there was some buzz that the Bonacio Corporation was the pending buyer, the actual development details were a closely guarded secret. 


The big reveal took place at the Saratoga Springs City Council meeting on Tuesday, February 18 as a contingent led by Attorney Michael Toohey, The LA Group’s Principal-in-Charge C. Michael Ingersoll, Bradley Birge of the Saratoga Springs Planning Office and Sonny Bonacio detailed plans for an “adaptive reuse” of the residence – converting it into senior housing. 


A total of 85 senior apartments have been proposed for the residence. These would not be assisted living facilities but rather accommodations designed for ages 55 and older. 


The item before the council, which passed unanimously, was to “merit for review” a change in the comprehensive plan and zoning maps that would re-designate the parcel containing the residence to UR-1, which Mr. Toohey noted was the zoning designation for the surrounding neighborhood, and allow for the senior apartment project to be a permitted use. Currently the building is zoned for Institutional/Educational use.  


The design proposed to the council involved minimal modifications to the building’s façade, which Mr. Toohey described as an important building to the city as well as a major “entrance statement” for those entering the city from the East. 


The major structural adaptations would not be visible from Lake Avenue. Two additional wings will be built onto the residence’s rear side, and parking will be increased. Mr. Toohey detailed to the council a tree survey that had been completed prior to developing the plan, with the intent of minimizing the loss of trees on the property. 


The sale of the property is contingent on the zoning change, and there will be many meetings (before Design Review and Zoning committees as well as further planned neighborhood information meetings) before the zoning modification can actually be made official. 



Should the project proceed, there will also be a need to attend to several environmental issues at the St. John Neumann Residence. These include asbestos and mold abatement, the costs of which Mayor Joanne Yepsen noted, in expressing support for the project, had driven other developers away. 

Friday, 21 February 2014 11:14

Be Sure To Watch This Birdie!

SARATOGA SPRINGS – Now, I may not have been the first to say this, but it bears repeating: “Nothing’s the matter with (these) kids today!” 


On a snowy afternoon I had the privilege of meeting some young adults from Saratoga Central Catholic’s Drama Troupe as they were working out the singing, blocking and dancing required to put on a trio of special performances next week of the beloved musical “Bye Bye Birdie,” which has been a smash since it’s Broadway debut in 1960.  


Joining in the roundtable were Anlyn Billington, who plays Mae Peterson – the overbearing mom to Michael Niles’ Albert Peterson; Morgan Ose, who as “Rosie” Alvarez is Albert’s long-suffering secretary/girlfriend; Harry Reid, the Mayor of Sweet Apple, Ohio, an idyll town in 1958; Gabrielle Vuillaume, who as Kim McAfee will be the recipient of “One Last Kiss” bestowed upon her by the soon-to-be-army-inducted Elvis-derivative Conrad Birdie, played by Quillan Brady.


Most of this group had acquired experience in several earlier theater presentations and the Troupe’s director, Ms. Pat Douglass, has schooled several of the cast members in previous productions. The cast took great effort to laud “Miss Pat’s” skillset. Harry’s comments are illustrative in that regard:


“Because of her, I’m performing better,” he said. “She takes a different, relaxed approach.”


Quillan and Michael each noted that Ms. Douglass’ approach towards the vision of how the plays go led to them studying the blocking (stage positions) of the cast as a whole, rather than just their own individual roles. This becomes important not just to assume an understudy role in and emergency, but in a musical where 23 people fill 45 roles it helps to see and absorb the big picture. 


Anlyn observed that the pride her director takes in making each of them the best they can be comes through to the entire cast, pointing out that “Miss Pat” added the role of choreographer for “Bye Bye” when a mishap put the original on the shelf.  


Gabrielle, who is a notable singer and has already had several auditions for national commercials, also observed how “she picked the right show for this cast.” 

This is echoed by Morgan, who will be in her sixth production with Ms. Douglass and ninth theater role overall. When Morgan says, “the show doesn’t take itself seriously” she makes sure to note that while the cast is having a blast, they are quite serious about making this the best production possible. 


I believe. Which is why this one’s on my calendar, and should be on yours as well. 


Bye Bye Birdie

SCC Drama Troupe

St. Peters Parish Center      

64 Hamilton St., Saratoga Springs

Thursday, February 27 at 7 p.m.

Saturday, March 1 at 7 p.m.

Sunday, March 2 at 3 p.m.


Tickets: $10 adults / $5 children and seniors

Friday, 21 February 2014 10:47

Uganda Diary

By Egan Mills

For Saratoga TODAY


BUGEMBE, UGANDA— (Editors Note): Egan Mills is a freshman at Saratoga Springs High School.  In mid-February she, her mother Meg Kelly and thirty other volunteers went on a voyage to the Town of Bugembe in Uganda to work with the Aids Orphan Education Trust. She will be there until the end of this month.


Egan and the other volunteers worked on various projects including fixing up the school buildings, providing medical care and working hands-on with the children on some basic educational skills. One of Egan’s projects was teaching the children a few songs and some dancing. We asked her to share her journal. This segment covers her first four days after arriving on the African continent.


- Arthur Gonick


Monday: 2/10/14 Day 1

Today was the first full day in the compound (that is what it is called) where we will be staying for the next 17 days. This complex is located in Bugembe, Uganda.  Last night, our bus pulled in and all of the children who live outside the compound were joyously shouting and waving.  


This was the first moment that I realized the exceptional quality of life that I have in Saratoga Springs.  Everyone in Bugembe is welcoming even though they are living in extreme poverty.  They smile when you smile, they wave when you wave, and they welcome you with open arms like a close relative.  In Saratoga Springs you don’t have to sit on the street and sell products to feed and support your family, we have options. We are able to turn the shower on have CLEAN, hot water at our disposal, there is no thought of having contaminated water coming out of the faucet. What a different world!  


We went to several private schools that we in close proximity to us today. Hundreds of children were singing and rejoicing for what they have, which is very minimal. They are all so grateful that we are there to help them. One of the most precious moments I saw today were three small children playing with three baby goats. We watched them from the bus as we drove to the dormitories we were scheduled to paint. The painting project took approximately 4 hours because it was a large dorm, housing 150 boys. Once the paint dries, they will line the walls with bunk beds.


My schedule for tomorrow is working in the mobile clinic, which means I will be traveling around to different towns and assisting people with various medical needs.


Tuesday: 2/11/14 - Day 2 

My adventure in the mobile clinic today was in a more remote and extremely rural part of Africa. It was only about 15 minutes from our compound.  We worked all day doing various medical tasks.  I documented medical information in the patient records while the patients were being tested for HIV. Over 180 people were tested and only about 10 tested positive for HIV. Everyone was grateful that we were there to provide him or her with some medical attention.


Our group brought over some green tennis balls for the children to play with. I enjoyed my time today playing with all the children. The ground in and around the play area is dirt and dried mud, so by the time we were done with our games, the tennis balls were orange and brown. Through the entire time of playing, we were taking pictures and they all greatly enjoyed seeing themselves on the digital camera screen.


Tomorrow’s agenda consists of teaching the children at the elementary school a song from a performance I was in. I am looking forward to it.


Wednesday: 2/12/14 - Day 3

Today was a busy day. We went to Rehoboth Primary School and I taught a class of 40 children a song and dance all by myself. The children are all so talented here and very eager to learn. They have natural rhythm and beautiful voices. I worked with the third grade class and there was a mix of ages. They all enjoyed the song.  When I taught the song and dance work, I read a book to them from Dr. Seuss titled “Oh, the Thinks You Can Think.” 


I enjoyed interacting with the children during the song and dance work and afterwards playing with them in the yard. We played a variety of different games. They seem to enjoy singing and moving games. The children really enjoy anything so just running around is fun for them. Tomorrow I am going back to the class to add in musical instruments such as shakers and clappers for the kids to use during the song. I’m so excited!


Thursday: 2/13/14 - Day 4


Today was so much fun! We went back to the primary school. I went to the classroom where I taught the children yesterday. They all stood up and clapped and laughed. They were so excited.  I added musical instruments to the song today and handed out shakers and clappers to all the children. They loved making music and they all loved doing the song again. 



At the end of the class we asked the teacher how many children there were in the class today and she said 63 children. That is 23 more than yesterday! I am going back tomorrow to do the song again with them. We will be practicing for the show will be doing.  They are going to have to show the older children the song and dance they learned. In the afternoon we worked on a shoe project – handing out shoes to children who did not have any or those who need new ones. We handed out hundreds of shoes to smiling children who were very happy and thankful. 

Friday, 14 February 2014 14:40

Saratoga Beer Week: Great Events On Tap

SARATOGA SPRINGS – Beginning next Tuesday, February 18 the suds will be flowing throughout town as the Third Annual Saratoga Beer Week takes hold. 


Todd Garofano, President of the Saratoga Convention & Tourism Bureau observed, “Saratoga Beer Week has quickly grown into one of Saratoga’s signature events. Having expended already to accommodate the growing crowds and participants from its first year in 2012, this year’s incarnation promises to build on that success. We expect more visitors filling hotel rooms, spending time in our shops and restaurants and enjoying the amazing variety of craft beers in the many venues Saratoga has to offer.” 


A complete schedule of events appears online at saratogabeerweek.com. The event week all leads up to Saturday’s Saratoga Beer Summit at the Saratoga Springs City Center, with anticipated crowds so large that admission has been broken into two sessions: 1 to 4 p.m. and 5 to 8 p.m. During each of these 3-hour sessions you have the opportunity to sample over 150 different beers from over 80 American craft breweries, plus enjoy food samples and live music.


It all begins on Tuesday at 5 p.m. at Olde Saratoga Brewing Company at 161 Excelsior Avenue. This ‘Beer and Barbeque Bash’ kicks off a full slate of Olde Saratoga’s activities, which will see them take it on the road around town to venues like the Local on Beekman Street, Maestros and The Stadium on Broadway, The Olde Bryan Inn and Uno’s on Route 50. Some of these promotions, in the spirit of good cheer, will be in conjunction with other regional brewers such as Adirondack in Lake George and Brown’s in Troy.


The two Stadium Cafés each have their own promotions this week. At the Westside location, they will feature a special “Slides and Suds” promotion throughout Beer Week, which features four types of sliders with four different crafted beers selected by the Craft Brew Alliance.


Local craft brewers Druthers (381 Broadway), as expected, have a full slate of activities and events, including a brewery tour on Thursday, February 20 at 4 p.m. 


Two music events of note precede the Beer Summit at the City Center. On Thursday evening at 7 p.m., fresh off their headlining gig at First Night, are Beatles tribute band Hey Jude. 


On Friday at 7 p.m. the nationally acclaimed Irish band Black 47 will take the stage. This is extra notable as the band has announced that they will be disbanding this November after 25 years touring worldwide together. 


As always, there are incentives for early ticket buyers to many events. You can avoid any day-of-event increases and order tickets online at saratogabeerweek.com


Friday, 14 February 2014 14:36

Junior Committee Fuels SPAC’s Engine

Fourth Winter Ball Set For February 22


SARATOGA SPRINGS— Fresh eyes bring new perspectives and fresh ideas. 


Believe it or not, The Saratoga Performing Arts Center (SPAC) will shortly be celebrating its 50th Anniversary in 2016. It will reach this milestone because it became, and continues to be, relevant: faithful to its core past, but always looking forward and reaching out for new ways to reach new audiences. 


This is true for SPAC’s programming, but just as true for what is at its core: people. A central institution in our region, it was some forward thinking in 2010 that led the leadership at SPAC to develop an auxiliary arm, which has brought new excitement and ideas that make a major contribution to both the “buzz” and the bottom line. 


SPAC’s Junior Committee, according to Marcia J. White, President and Executive Director “…was modeled after the Carnegie Hall Notables and New York Public Library Young Lions as an initiative to encourage a younger demographic and ensure the vitality of SPAC and the performing arts. Since its inception in 2010, it has become a highly credible business-networking group, planning terrific parties and events, and serving as ambassadors for SPAC.”


Meredith Von Schenk and Ryan Bouchey are members of SPAC’s Junior Committee, as well as co-chairs of SPAC’s fourth annual Winter Ball, which will descend upon the Hall of Springs on Saturday, February 22. 


Both are well on their way to making their mark in the local business community (Ms. Von Schenk is Marketing Manager for Roohan Realty and Mr. Bouchey is Vice President and CFO at Bouchey Financial Group) and developing their own families, but still recognize the importance of giving time to a organization that enriches the life of their community.


Meredith came to the Junior Committee at the recommendation of her friend (and fellow committee member) Laura Palkovich when she and her husband returned to Saratoga Springs in 2010. She worked on last years Winter Ball committee (a Dallas TV show theme) and became co-chair this year. “It’s a wonderful way to meet new people and support Saratoga Springs. We are so lucky to have a venue like SPAC in our backyard.”


Ryan’s experience was similar. When he returned to the area a few years ago, a recommendation from committee member Murray Massry got him on board. “Being on this committee has been a great experience,” he noted. “Our liaisons at SPAC (Kristy Godette and Mary Jane Sweetland) are very encouraging to us.”


Marcia White confirms how important the Annual Winter Ball has been to SPAC: “The Winter Ball developed from the realization that a large demographic of young professionals in the region would support a winter social and fundraising event if it had fun themes, great food and drink, an affordable ticket price and benefited a worthwhile organization”  


“That was four years ago. Since then, the event has become one of the regions’ most popular winter fundraisers, selling out each year. It is definitely a ‘can’t miss’ event and an important part of the committee’s fundraising efforts.”


Previous themes, such as ‘Mad Men’ and ‘Dallas’ have been timely, topical and lively—not to mention great opportunities to dress up and ‘vogue’ for the cameras.  


For the fourth year, they have outdone themselves. The confluence of the winter’s Sochi Olympics and the 2014 debut of the Bolshoi Ballet at SPAC made a Russian theme a perfect fit. 


Both Ryan and Meredith expressed gratitude for the efforts of the two-dozen people on the 2014 Winter Ball Committee, whose efforts are equally divided among marketing, fundraising and decorating for the event. The Junior Committee itself has about 50 members and they are always looking for more members to join their ranks. If interested, contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..


The Fourth Annual Winter Ball will have over 400 people attending this year, but Meredith and Ryan assured me that they have saved a place for you – but only if you hurry! 



For more information about The Winter Ball, visit spac.org or contact Kristy Godette at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or (518) 584-9330 ext. 109. 

Friday, 14 February 2014 14:22

Parents Of The Year

Gala Evening Salutes Great Parenting in Several Categories

HALFMOON – If you could bottle Paula Fidalgo-Gretzinger’s spirit and enthusiasm for all things parenting, there would be little or no need for energy drinks.


The hostess/creator of the second annual Parent of the Year Gala last Friday, February 7 at Mohawk River Country Club in the town of Halfmoon is a multi-tasker with a mission: A single mother to three children, she founded the program “Parentology with Paula” in 2010 with the mission of helping busy parents who, like herself are raising children or teens while juggling the multitude of challenges that we call life. 


Paula wasn’t just sitting around when deciding to launch “Parentology.” At the time, she was an executive television producer who had moved from CT to help launch Capital News 9, as well as serving as Director of Education for The New School of Radio and Television. With that diverse media background, she harnessed her skill set to provide effective communication about information and resources to parents with diverse needs in the modern age. 


“From the day your child is born, you are a parent for life,” she notes. “But every child is unique, and therefore every parent has to develop unique tools for effective parenting, and these will naturally change over time.” The show and the information provided (visit parentologywithpaula.com where all the shows since 2010 are archived) draws from a variety of expect and everyday perspectives that in total add up to a tremendous resource for those seeking knowledge on a variety of relevant subjects. 


The Parent of the Year Gala was a natural outgrowth of these efforts. 


“I wanted to end the year with something powerful.” Paula said, and indeed, based on the turnout and the enthusiasm of winners, nominees and supporters, “something powerful” is an understatement. 


One illustrative example is the award categories themselves. There were 20 different categories, representing the different challenges (and eventual triumphs) that parents face. 


Some categories are incredibly creative: for instance, the “juggler” award goes to a parent with three or more children; the “sweetheart” award goes to parents that have been married for 20+ years and have more that one child from the same marriage; the “chef” parent makes home-cooked meals every day; most positive; most organized; even funniest- they are all celebrated here.


Friends and family submitted nominations for these awards. Some of these nominations are as moving as the winners’ stories themselves. 


For instance, consider Ms. Heather Straughter of Saratoga Springs, who was the deserving recipient of “Most Inspiring Parent.” Her nomination was written by Ms. Shannon Allitt of Middle Grove, who herself was a recipient of an “Entrepreneur Parent” award:


“Heather is a parent who has lost so much, yet still smiles and helps so many…. The heartbreak a mother must endure with losing a child is something no parent should ever go through. To crumble into a million pieces could be so easy…to lock yourself away in your sorrow and turn away from everything would be understandable…


“This is NOT what Heather did…” Ms. Allitt describes how Heather kept her son Ethan at the forefront while she, with her husband Brian, founded Jakes Help From Heaven Foundation in honor of the child she lost. 


Winning parents like Ms. Straugther and Ms. Allitt are representative of the nearly two-dozen parents that were honored on February 7. Others from Saratoga County include: 

- Allan Onderchain – (Best Single Dad)

- Nancy Acemoglu – (“Neighborhood Parent”: A person who acts as parent to a group of kids in a neighborhood)

- Erin Strambach – (“The Crafty Award”: The parent who is coming up with creative projects)

- Jennifer Lohr and Melissa Ward – Special Certificates of Honorable Mention. 


It was an experience of joy and celebration that will long be remembered for all who attended. Call it a special early Valentines Day present for those who give so much. 


For more information, visit parentologywithpaula.com.


Wednesday, 12 February 2014 17:29

Murphy: I’m Running

Will Seek County Judgeship

BALLSTON SPA – Saratoga County District Attorney James A. Murphy III is formally announcing his intention to run for Saratoga County Court Judge next Election Day, November 4. 


Murphy will make his official announcement at a press conference that is scheduled for 10:30 a.m. on Friday, February 14 at the Saratoga Springs Holiday Inn. 


“I love this office.” Murphy said, when reached by phone, referring to his 5-term tenure as county DA. He is beginning his 17th year in 2014. “But it’s time for some new challenges.”


DA Murphy will be seeking the judgeship that will be vacated by Saratoga County Court Judge Jerry Scarano. Judge Scarano will be concluding his second 10-year term at the end of 2014. As Judge Scarano has reached the mandatory retirement age of 70, the Board of Elections had already scheduled an election for this post and so a special election will not be needed. 


DA Murphy had great praise for Judge Scarano, who he had worked with in various capacities over 26 years.


“When I began as an Assistant DA, Jerry was First Assistant DA. Later when he moved to the bench, he has been the one who handled all the big cases, the felonies throughout my term as DA. Judge Scarano set a standard that I hope to maintain.” Murphy said. 


Murphy has run unopposed for all 5 elections to the District Attorney’s office, receiving endorsements from the Republican, Conservative and Independence parties. He indicated that he would seek multiple party endorsements for the coming county judge run. “The Saratoga County Court Judge, like the County District Attorney office, is not political. We serve everyone.”



Interestingly, should James Murphy III successfully win the County Court Judge race in November, the code of judicial ethics and conduct would go into effect immediately— thereby preventing him from either recommending or endorsing his successor.     


Page 32 of 39


  • Saratoga County Court  Sara N. Babinski, 35, of Schuylerville, was sentenced to 3 months incarceration/ 5 years probation, after pleading to felony DWAI, charged January 2024 in Saratoga Springs.  Thomas R. McCall, 35, of Rensselaer, pleaded to criminal possession of a weapon in the second-degree, in connection with a March 2024 incident in Saratoga Springs, when city police initiated a traffic stop on a vehicle on South Broadway and located a Magnum .357 revolver with ammunition underneath the driver’s seat, according to a statement by Saratoga County District Attorney Karen Heggen. Further investigation determined that the firearm belonged to the defendant,…

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