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“Health, History…and Juice”: Saratoga Juice Bar’s Success and Expansion
SARATOGA SPRINGS – Saratoga Juice Bar has brought the cold pressed juice craze, and all the benefits it provides, to Saratoga Springs. From increased energy to better overall nutrition, the positive effects of cold pressed juices are becoming widely known, making it the latest trend in the wellness industry. For these reasons, Saratoga Juice Bar’s reach is growing rapidly, spreading throughout the northeast, and perhaps soon, throughout the country.
Christel MacLean came up with the idea for Saratoga Juice Bar in 2013 after seeing the building vacant on Broadway. With the help of her husband, Colin, she made her juice bar dream a reality.
“It was all very much Christel’s idea. Everything from the name to the color scheme was thought of by her. She knew exactly what she wanted us to do,” said Colin MacLean.
The MacLean’s are no strangers to entrepreneurship. Christel left her job on Wall Street in the mid-90s to buy Hattie’s Restaurant, where her passion for the food industry took off. Currently, Christel and Colin Maclean own Circus Café, The Crown Grill, a real estate company, Realty Saratoga, and a consulting and seminar business, Curved Line Living. “We’re serial entrepreneurs,” Colin said with a smile.
When Saratoga Juice Bar opened in July 2013, it was only the second cold pressed juice bar in New York State, outside of the city. For research, Colin and Christel studied the top 20 cold pressed juice bars and restaurants in New York City, as well as researching the industry in California. They then hired a master juice from New York City to come up to Saratoga for four days to develop the products for Saratoga Juice Bar.
“We developed our own flavor profile based on what we felt was the best of the best we could offer Saratogians,” said Colin. “With our years of restaurant experience, it’s all about taste, integrity and sincerity. It’s 100% unadulterated raw juice.”
Cold pressed juice, considered the highest quality and most nutritional juice available, is made by using a hydraulic press to extract the juice from fruit and vegetables. No heat is ever added in the process, leaving all nutrients and healthy enzymes intact. There are five pounds of fruit in each 16 ounce bottle sold at Saratoga Juice Bar. The process and ingredients may be considered pricey by some, but the health benefits are incomparable to other juices.
“The wellness movement in the country has become the most stable growing segment of business to be involved in. It’s wonderful,” said Colin. “People’s habits and choices are constantly evolving and changing. Cold pressed juice is for anyone who is looking to either put something that’s good for them into their body for nutrition or for anyone who wants a natural energy boost from a pure product.” Colin notes that customers are across the board, from high school students and moms to athletes and professionals.
Saratoga Juice Bar offers a wide selection of cold pressed juices made in the shop, including flavors such as “Heart Beets,” “Saratoga Detox,” and “Going Green.” They also sell custom blended juices, smoothies, healthy meals like sandwiches and salads, as well as boosters to add to any beverage. Their juice cleanses are also very popular, which promote better digestion, improved energy and clearer focus throughout the day.
After the huge success of Saratoga Juice Bar over the last few years, Colin and Christel wanted to expand. They considered opening up more juice bars, but instead chose to sell their product on an even broader scale, through wholesale and e-commerce. Distribution is now set up in New York and New England, with the Macleans hoping to expand nationally. In December, Saratoga Juice launched sales at ShopRite, which is now available at 13 stores. This month, Saratoga Juice also went up on the shelves at Whole Foods, Fresh Market, five CVS stores in Boston, several New York City grocery stores, and at four local Hannaford stores, with sales reportedly going extremely well. Setting up e-commerce is still in the works, but in the future the MacLeans hope to begin online sales of their products.
“The most fun is being able to help people and guide them to make healthy choices for themselves,” concluded Colin. “The miracle of cold pressed juice is that it’s nutrition as nature intended.”
For more information about Saratoga Juice Bar, including the full list of products and where Saratoga Juice can be found, visit saratogajuicebar.com.
Making Smiles Bright: Orthodontists Partner Up for New Location
SARATOGA SPRINGS –Daniello and Eigo Orthodontics recently opened at 191 Lake Ave. in Saratoga Springs. Dr. Thomas Eigo and Dr. Ralph Daniello are taking over the practice of another orthodontist, Dr. Alan Justin.
“I initiated with Dr. Justin, who was thinking of selling his practice, and I was thinking about buying,” said Dr. Daniello. “I thought it might be a good idea to have a partner for this because I have two other practices. Dr. Justin talked to Dr. Eigo and brought us together a year ago.”
Dr. Daniello and Dr. Eigo didn’t meet a year ago, however. They met when they were both students attending University at Buffalo School of Dental Medicine. In fact, Dr. Eigo, who was a senior at the time, taught a class on clinical periodontics that Dr. Daniello, a freshman, attended. Since then, they have crossed paths numerous times because of their careers, but this is the first time they will be partnering together.
“It’s nice having a partner to bounce things off of, instead of working as an island. As partners, we’re trying to expand and provide our services in a different area, but we also want to be able to cover more days. With two people, our office can be open five days a week, instead of just two or three,” mentioned Dr. Daniello.
Dr. Daniello currently has orthodontic offices in Ballston Spa and Gloversville, while Dr. Eigo has another practice in Glens Fall, though the two only work together at the Saratoga Springs office. Currently, Dr. Justin is also still working at the Saratoga Springs office with Dr. Eigo and Dr. Daniello, but he did cut back his hours.
With offices branching out all over the Capital Region, Dr. Eigo and Dr. Daniello are two orthodontists that are passionate and dedicated to their work.
When asked why he became an orthodontist, Dr. Eigo said, “I wanted to be involved in healthcare. Transforming smiles is very rewarding, as are the relationships you establish, because it’s long-term.”
Dr. Daniello was inspired to be an orthodontist at a young age. “When I had braces in junior high, I remember at that time, even though I was young, I thought ‘I could do this. This seems like a good job.’ It interested me too; I like working with my hands. I was good at science and math, so I thought it would be a good career path for me.”
Dr. Daniello and Dr. Eigo offer comprehensive services that will make any patient smile, or at least, make their smile even better.
When it comes to children, most dentists see their young patients every six months, so if an orthodontic problem is noticed, a referral is sent to the orthodontists. Often times, parents will contact them directly if they see a problem with their child’s teeth.
“Treatment can be preventative as well,” said Dr. Eigo in regards to treating kids. “It can be about helping out baby teeth and preventing more serious problems from occurring later.” Some of the most common issues they see are problems with bite, teeth not coming in properly, spacing problems and impacted teeth.
“What’s nice about orthodontics is that when you start seeing a child at age seven or eight, you’re going to follow that child up until they’re 16 or 17 years old. So you see them grow up,” noted Dr. Daniello.
Dr. Eigo and Dr. Daniello also treat adult patients.
“Many people couldn’t get treatment when they were young because they didn’t have the finances, or sometimes people just procrastinate,” said Dr. Eigo. “There are different modalities we can offer adults, such as appliances on the lingual side that aren’t seen.” Lingual braces are on the back of teeth, instead of the front, making them unnoticeable when the patient smiles.
Their office also provides Invisalign®, an alternative to standard braces that is popular among adults and teens. Instead of mental braces getting bonded to the teeth, Invisalign® aligners are made of clear plastic and are removable. The benefits of Invisalign® include easier brushing and flossing, more dietary options, and protection from teeth-grinding, as well as being nearly invisible when worn.
Though their office may provide orthodontic services similar to other doctors, patients will without a doubt experience unique and exceptional care with Dr. Eigo and Dr. Daniello.
“We have open communication with patients here,” said Dr. Eigo. “They feel like they are at home and they get all their questions answered.”
Dr. Daniello added, “You have to give people enough time. You don’t want to rush them out the door. You want to spend time with each person and give them the attention they need and deserve.”
To make an appointment with either Dr. Eigo or Dr. Daniello, call their Saratoga Springs office at 518-587-8777. For more information, visit their website at danielloeigoortho.com.
NRBQ Takes the Stage at First Night
SARATOGA SPRINGS – New Rhythm and Blues Quartet, known as NRBQ, will be headlining First Night on the main stage this New Year’s Eve. NRBQ will be performing at the Saratoga Springs City Center in the main hall, with shows at 10 p.m. and 11 p.m.
“New Year’s Eve means a lot,” said Terry Adams, vocalist, keyboardist and founding member of the band. “Nothing stays the same and you just have to roll with the changes. We’ve been changing and getting ready for the New Year, so it makes sense for us to perform. It’s also a beautiful place to be for New Year’s.”
NRBQ was formed in 1967, and since then, has attracted fans far and wide, including some famous admirers such as Bob Dylan, Paul McCartney, Keith Richards and Penn and Teller. After hearing NRBQ’s 2014 album, “Brass Tacks,” Bonnie Raitt said, “What a killer record. Right up there with the Q’s best! Production, arrangements, performances and songs … just knocks me out!” NRBQ has also been known for their quirky and eccentric antics on stage, such as performing in pajamas or blowing up Cabbage Patch Dolls.
It’s difficult to put NRBQ into any genre, simply because of how eclectic their music is. NRBQ has been described as a blend of rockabilly, jazz, pop, rock and blues, but even those genres don’t pinpoint the band completely.
“We have an original sound and everything is done in the moment based on what inspires us. There’s not a particular style that we fit into.” said Adams.
NRBQ has had a hand in many aspects of pop culture, including being the unofficial “house band” for two seasons of The Simpsons. The band also collaborated with other artists, such as Brian Wilson and Tommy Ramone, for a SpongeBob SquarePants album titled, “The Best Day Ever.”
NRBQ went on to release the albums, “Keep This Love Goin’” in 2011, “We Travel the Spaceways” in 2012 and “Brass Tacks” in 2014. Adams released his own album a few weeks ago called, “Talk Thelonious,” which covers arrangements from renowned jazz musician, Thelonious Monk.
“We have a high creative output. I’ve done more projects since 2004 than I have in all the years before,” said Adams. “We have had five albums in the last eight years. It’s been moving at a faster pace than ever before because everyone is tuned in when music is your passion. When it’s every player’s priority, it makes for a more creative band. In this case, all of the players are just natural born musicians who think about nothing else.”
Today, NRBQ consists of Terry Adams on vocals and keyboard, Scott Ligon on vocals and guitar, Casey McDonough on vocals and bass, and Conrad Choucroun on drums. The band will be playing alongside the Whole Wheat Horns, with Klem Klimek on saxophone and Carl Q on trombone.
As for First Night, even the most dedicated NRBQ fans cannot even predict what they will play because the band prefers spontaneity and doesn’t even work with a set list.
“I like to work with the unexpected,” said Adams. “I even like the mistakes, because when they land, you can create something off that. It’s like wind blowing the seeds of a plant. Wherever they land, something grows.”
When asked how he managed to keep NRBQ relevant and popular after all these years, Adams replied, “Once someone hears us, they stick with it. That just seems to be the way it is. It’s about keeping the music fresh. We don’t make music for nostalgia purposes. Even if we play something in the style of a previous era, we’re not playing it for nostalgia. It’s in the moment; it applies to where we are. You have to make it mean something now.”
Currently, NRBQ is working on their next album, which is set to be released in late 2016.
“It’s a big departure from where we’ve been and I don’t know why. It’s a spiritual thing that’s hard to describe,” reflected adams. “I’m really happy with what we’re working on now.”
In order to catch NRBQ’s performance at First Night, get your First Night button at any of the locations listed at saratoga-arts.org/firstnight/buttons. For more information about NRBQ, visit their official website at nrbq.com.
Back to Where it Started: Musician Returns to Much-Loved Caffé Lena
SARATOGA SPRINGS – Kyle Carey will be performing a concert on Sunday, January 3 at 7 p.m. at Caffé Lena, located at 47 Phila Street.
“I call my music ‘Gaelic Americana,’ in that it’s a mix of American Folk and Celtic influences. I’ve always been interested in music that is the result of the melding of cultures, which is very much what happened in the Appalachian region of the U.S – bluegrass and American Old Time music has always inspired me,” said Carey. “In that sense, it was quite easy to marry that with my love of Celtic, Scottish Gaelic, and literature to make fresh-sounding music.”
Carey was born in New Hampshire and attended Union College in Schenectady for her freshman year, before moving to Saratoga Springs to attend Skidmore College. While she was here, she developed a special relationship with Caffé Lena.
“I first visited Lena’s when I was at Union still – I had a friend who lived in Saratoga and she took me to a jazz night at the Caffé. I immediately fell in love with the venue and knew that I wanted to spend more time there,” Carey said. “There are some places I’ve visited in my life that have held a special feeling for me immediately – and Caffé Lena was one of them.
Carey’s profession music career began to take flight after graduating from Skidmore in 2008. She went to Cape Breton, Nova Scotia on a Fulbright Fellowship to study traditional music, then to the Isle of Skye in Scotland for a year to learn the Gaelic language. After that, she traveled to Western Ireland, where she spent a year recording her debut album, “Monogah,” which was released in 2011. Since then, Carey has been touring professionally all over the world.
Along with “Monogah,” Carey has an EP titled, “One Morning in May” as well as a second full length album, “North Star.” The latter features nine original songs, two in Scottish Gaelic, and a cover of “Across the Great Divide” by Kate Wolf.
Carey will be releasing a new album called, “The Art of Forgetting” in 2017, which will be produced by Dirk Powel, Joan Baez’s main accompanist for the past five years.
For tickets to the show at Caffé Lena on January 3, visit CaffeLena.org or brownpapertickets.com. For more information about Kyle Carey, or to purchase any of her albums, visit kyleannecarey.com.
Plan your Summer with Saratoga Children’s Theatre
SARATOGA SPRINGS –From its many successful performances to the release of its first CD, Saratoga Children’s Theatre (SCT) has had a busy 2015, with an even bigger 2016 to come. SCT just released its summer camp programs for 2016, with several new additions since last year. Some camps next summer (see below for full schedule) will run for two weeks, to make time for even more fun events, such as field trips.
This year, SCT has also added a new kind of summer program called SCT Repertory. This cast will consist of actors 18 and older, but the show itself is performed with a young audience in mind. The first SCT Repertory show is “Tarzan.”
Besides camps for the summer, SCT has recently announced their spring performance, “Meet me in St. Louis.” Auditions begin March 5.
For more information about Saratoga Children’s Theatre, or to register for the spring show auditions or for any of the summer camps below, visit saratogachildrenstheatre.org.
2016 Summer Camps at SCT:
Rising Stars (4 – 6 year olds)
Directed by Christine Carling
Full day programs:
Frozen – July 4-8
Doc McStuffins – July 18-22
Disney Magic – August 1-5
Go Fish – August 15-19
Half day programs:
Summer Fun – July 11-15
Fun on the Farm – July 25-29
Squirm – August 8-12
Kids (7 – 10 year olds)
Pocahontas (musical) – July 4-15
Directed by Irina Petrik
Annie (musical) – July 18-29
Directed by Rachel Seebode
Peter Pan (play) – August 1-12
Directed by Noah Casner
Star Wars (musical) – August 15-19
Directed by Holly McCormack
Juniors (10 – 13 year olds)
High School Musical Jr. – June 27-July8
Directed by Alyssa Jones
Triple Threat – July 11-15
Directed by Tim Antonacci
Glee – July 18-29
Directed by Noah Casner
Crazy for You Jr. – August 1-12
Directed by Holly McCormack
3-2-1-Action – August 15-19
Instructed by Tim Antonacci, Casey Gray, Alyssa Jones and Jon Dorflinger
Teen Troupe (13 – 18 year olds)
Grease – July 4-23
Directed by Bob Berenis
Audition Prep – July 25-29
Directed by Bob Berenis
Pirates of Penzance – August 1-20
Directed by Irina Petrik
SCT Repertory (18 and older)
Tarzan (musical)-show dates August 5 & 6
Auditions June 13 from 5-9 p.m. at Saratoga Senior Center
Claus for a Cause: SantaCon is coming to Town!
SARATOGA SPRINGS – Enjoy the holiday spirit, and spirits, with the 4th annual SantaCon Saratoga Springs on Saturday, December 19.
Attendees dress up head to toe as Santa Claus (Mrs. Clauses, elves, reindeer and other holiday characters are also welcome) and spread holiday cheer and charity throughout Saratoga as they visit local bars and restaurants. In order to get a wristband for the bars’ SantaCon specials, attendees must bring a minimum of four non-perishable food items to donate to Franklin Community Center.
“According to SantaCon rules, every time you call it a pub crawl, a sugarplum fairy dies,” said Anthony Aquino, one of the founders of Saratoga’s SantaCon. “It’s all about the donations.”
Aquino, along with his friend Michelle Nochisaki, founded their very own SantaCon in Saratoga four years ago. The two friends used to go to New York City’s SantaCon, but after being unable to attend one year, they decided to create their own SantaCon close to home. SantaCon is a worldwide event and according to its website, there are currently SantaCons in over 356 cities and 49 countries.
SantaCon Saratoga is growing. 300 people attended the first SantaCon Saratoga in 2012, while last year, over 700 people attended. This year, Saratoga Eagle sponsored radio advertisements, raffle prizes and even a van to haul the huge amount of donated food.
“Every year, I’m worried that my tires on my truck are going to pop because there’s so much food!” said Aquino. He also mentions how some people just stop by to donate, without even going to the bars. “People bring food not to win a prize or the raffle, but because they want to be a part of something. By the end of the night, there’s just food all around.”
Julia Slovic, Food Program Administrator at Franklin Community Center, explains how SantaCon greatly helps their food pantry during the holiday season. “We have been fortunate enough to be the recipient of Saratoga SantaCon's food drive for the past two years and we couldn't be happier about it,” she said, “The amount of food collected throughout the event is overwhelming and helps keep our shelves stocked through the ever busy winter months. We truly appreciate that the event organizers were so forward thinking to include a charitable component to their fun filled day.”
There will be a big van outside of Putnam Den, where SantaCon begins on Saturday, so that arriving Santa Clauses can make their donations and receive their wristband. Raffle tickets are given out based on donations, so the more food brought, the more raffle tickets attendees will receive. Last year’s raffle prizes included ski passes for six at Killington, a snowboard, a two night stay in the Bud Light Condo, and more.
While many SantaCons have been getting a bad reputation for their wild crowds, SantaCon Saratoga does things differently.
“We’ve had such a positive turnout, with zero issues of anyone getting too drunk. Everyone is just in a great mood all day,” said Aquino. “What makes this event special though is giving back to the community. Seeing the community come and hang out altogether makes it worth it.”
Thinking about attending SantaCon without a costume? If so, expect to stand out.
“I don’t think I’ve ever seen an event where people get so involved in getting dressed up and playing a part,” Aquino added.
Participating Bars and Schedule:
Putnam Den – 12:30 p.m. to 3 p.m.
Spa City Tap & Barrel – 2:45 p.m. to 3:45 p.m.
Harvey’s – 3:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m.
Peabody’s/Bailey’s – 4:15 P.M. to 5:15 p.m.
Clancy’s/Dango’s/Trotters – 5 p.m. to 6 p.m.
Saratoga City Tavern – 5:45 p.m. to 6:45 p.m.
Caroline St. Pub – 6:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.
The Bourbon Room – All day specials.
For more information about SantaCon Saratoga, and to see more great pictures from previous years, visit facebook.com/saratoga.santa.
100 Years of Marching: History of Saratoga’s Drum and Bugle Corp
SARATOGA SPRINGS – On Thursday, December 10 the last Brown Bag Lunch Series of the year at Saratoga Springs Public Library featured a presentation on the history of the Drum and Bugle Corps in Saratoga Springs. Jeff Perkins, a former member and director in the corps, gave the presentation on the 11 Drum and Bugle Corps that marched for Saratoga Springs in parades and special events from 1890 until 1985.
The H. Dutcher Community Room in the library was jam packed with former members of Drum and Bugle Corps throughout the area, as well as interested community members. After the hour long presentation, the series lasted another hour as audience members were eager to share their stories about their own experiences in Drum and Bugle Corps over the years. The atmosphere of camaraderie and nostalgia in the room made this presentation both interactive and touching to listen to.
Jeff Perkins, who gave the presentation, joined Drum and Bugle Corps in 1953, when he was just 11 years old. It was originally called the Junior Saratoga Cadet Corp, but in 1954 changed its name to Saratoga Ambassadors. Since then, Perkins has been a part of many Drum and Bugle Corps, including Vagabonds in Fort Edward, the Gloversville Fusiliers, and the Interstatesmen from Troy.
“[Drum and Bugle Corps] reach kids that go unreached by other things. I was never an athlete, never a football player,” said Perkins. “But you become part of a unit of people that have the same goal, the same leadership and drive. That whole idea caught me and from then, it was all I wanted to do.”
Still passionate about the Corps, Perkins has an interesting story about how he got started with it. “My friend Mike, a real rugged kid, would walk by my house everyday going to rehearsal with his bugle case. One day, he grabbed me by the wrist as I was playing outside and said, ‘I’m not letting go unless you come with me to rehearsal.’ So he took me to the third floor of City Hall where they rehearsed and gave me a horn.”
During one rehearsal, the director, whom the kids called “Ham,” noticed Perkins was constantly talking to one of his friends. After telling him to be quiet a few times, Ham came over and kicked Perkins in the seat of the pants.
“He said, ‘Perkins, you can go home and tell your mother or you can keep your mouth shut and march.’ From then on, I was really into it,” said Perkins, “Ham was in World War II. They expected it done, no excuses. It was a semi-military experience. I learned a work ethic I carried with me for the rest of my life. I brought that same work ethic to my own drum corps.”
Perkins took over his own Corps, Avant Garde, from 1975 until 1985. In that time, they traveled all over the country touring, winning six state championships in a row. In 1984, Saratoga’s Avant Garde was the 15th Drum and Bugle Corp in the world.
Though Avant Garde ended in 1985, members from the original group came together over the last several years to form Avant Garde Alumni Drumline. They are continuing the tradition of representing Saratoga Springs at events throughout the area.
Avant Garde recently celebrated their 40th anniversary with a party at Vapor on November 7.
For more information about Avant Garde Alumni Drumline, visit their website at avantgardedrumline.org.
McKrell’s Christmas Show
SARATOGA SPRINGS – Kevin McKrell’s Christmas Show has become a tradition in Saratoga. McKrell, along with his daughter Kate, have performed at venues all over New York and the northeast, and now, they’re returning to Parting Glass Pub December 20 at 1 p.m. and December 21, 22 and 23 at 7 p.m. for their always popular, “McKrells Christmas Show.” There is also a performance of the show at Spa Little Theater on December 20 at 7 p.m. Tickets to the Parting Glass Pub shows on December 22 and 23 are already sold out, but tickets are still available for all other shows. For tickets to the show at Spa Little Theater can be purchased at Home Made Theater’s box office or online at homemadetheater.org. Reservations for the available shows at Parting Glass Pub are available by calling 518-583-1916.
Interview with Kevin McKrell about “McKrells Christmas Show”:
Q: How long have you been doing the Christmas Show in Saratoga/at the Parting Glass? How did it start?
A: I started the Christmas shows 20 years ago or so. I first scheduled a show as a way to pay back close friends and family for their support , not expecting it to become a thing, thinking that it would only be thirty or so folks, and we would do one show and that would be it. The one show turned into 3 shows the first year, and from there we have done the show at The Egg in Albany, Proctors Theater in Schenectady, the Madison Theater in Albany and always one of our favorite venues, The Spa Little Theater, as well as always ending the performance season at The Parting Glass.
Q: What is your Christmas Show like? What can audiences expect?
A: We perform classic and modern holiday tunes (“White Christmas,” “Bells on Christmas Day,” “Blue Christmas”), religious Christmas songs (“Silent Night,” “Little Drummer Boy,” “Ave Maria,” “God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen”) and a few original tunes.
Q: What do you love about performing?
A: I consider myself a very, very lucky man to be able to make my way in the world by making music and performing. I have travelled the world around and back again from Carnegie Hall and Lincoln Center to the Egg, The Parting Glass and Cafe Lena, Ireland, Scotland, Italy and every state in the Union. To be able to do what you love every day is a joy and a privilege.
Q: What do you do when you're not performing?
A: When I am not performing I am a portrait painter and sculptor you can see some of my work at fineartamerica.com/art/all/kevin+mckrell/all. I have some paintings available at Celtic Treasures in Saratoga and I have a shop in Colonie Center called Celtic Attitudes Clothing Company.
Q: Any other information you want to add?
A: I am joined on stage during this Christmas season by percussionist Brian Melick, my daughter Kate McKrell and fiddler Doug Moody.
For more information about Kevin McKrell, visit his website at kmckrell.com.
Saratoga City Ballet Brings Back The Nutcracker
SARATOGA SPRINGS – The Saratoga City Ballet is back in full force with their enchanting holiday performance of “The Nutcracker” on Saturday, December 19 at Saratoga Springs High School.
The Saratoga City Ballet is a non-profit organization that provides committed dance students opportunities to perform in a professional setting and in quality shows. Last fall’s performance of “The Nutcracker” had to be cancelled, as the much-loved Saratoga City Ballet was on the verge of collapsing. Their school closed and they lost their performance venue at Skidmore College.
“We own all our own props, costumes, everything, so we had to figure out what to do with it all” said Ava Marco, President of the Board and Executive Director at Saratoga City Ballet. “We had a nine member board that met and crunched numbers to see if we could open our own school. We rallied together and opened a brand new studio in Wilton.”
After much dedication, hard work and fundraising to keep the organization alive, Saratoga City Ballet is back on its feet, welcoming students back to classes, and now, preparing for “The Nutcracker,” a community favorite that could very well have been lost.
This will be the 22nd year Saratoga City Ballet has put on the show.
“The difference with this show is that it’s done all by students,” said Marco. “Most people, when they see the show, they forget they’re watching young dancers. It feels like they are watching a professional ballet. It’s that kind of experience. It’s awe-inspiring.”
The performance on December is the second act of the famous ballet, known as “Land of Sweets.” There will be an introduction of the first act to round out the story.
“I saw the first rehearsal the other night. This is an adorable, talented show. I’m very excited about it,” said Marco.
Saratoga City Ballet’s “The Nutcracker” will be performed at Saratoga Springs High School, in the Loewenburgh Auditorium, on Saturday, December 19. There is a performance at 2 p.m. and 6 p.m., with doors opening 30 minutes before the show. Tickets are $20 general admission and $15 for seniors and children under 12. Tickets can be bought online at brownpapertickets.com or at the door. For more information, please visit saratogacityballet.com.
Mega-Mansion Up for Auction
SARATOGA SPRINGS – Previously for sale at $8.6 million, one of the most luxurious homes in Saratoga Springs is set to be auctioned off to the highest bidder. On December 19, bidders from all over the world will vie for 36 Stony Brook Drive, a 25,000 square foot mansion on eight private acres in one of the area’s most picturesque neighborhoods, Meadowbrook Estates.
This gated mansion is certainly unique. Perfect for an active, energetic individual or family, it features a full size indoor basketball court, indoor and outdoor swimming pools, a 20-seat movie theater, an entertainment parlor with its own kitchen, and even a one-lane bowling alley. There are five bedroom suites, 11 bathrooms, an eight car garage and a separate guest house with two more bedrooms and baths.
“I think that the amenity package is impressive and it speaks for itself,” said Trayor Lesnock, president and founder of Platinum Luxury Auctions, the company auctioning off the estate. “Though it has a basketball court and bowling alley, it’s not a very sporty home, nothing like what a professional athlete would build. It has a lot of character and pedigree, with its marble floors and staircases. But it’s not stuffy or too high brow either. It’s comfortable, relaxed and livable.”
36 Stony Brook was built in 2007 by David Silipigno, a local entrepreneur with a colorful past. After an investigation of his company, National Finance Corp., Silipigno pled guilty to fraud charges in 2003. He was under scrutiny once again in 2009 when his latest company, First Guarantee Mortgage, was investigated by the FBI for falsifying financial statements.
For the last few years, Silipigno has been out of the limelight and focusing on charity work. The current owner of a large condo in Saratoga and a mansion in Lake George, Silipigno has decided now is the right time to sell the 36 Stony Brook Drive Estate.
“Putting the house up for auction was an idea that I had brought up to the owner, simply because of the market situation,” said Gerald Magoolaghan, the real estate agent from Sotheby’s International Realty involved in selling the home. “Only six homes of this size and magnitude currently exist in Saratoga Springs, but none of them have ever been resold. House values are determined by comparison, but what’s happening is that no one is willing to say if the house is worth $8.6 million because there is nothing to compare it to.”
“Auctions are a popular form of selling big homes. But this is not a bank auction or a forced auction, it’s a luxury auction. The seller is willing to see what the market will bear,” continued Magoolaghan. He believes the home will go for six to eight million at auction.
The auction will take place December 19 at 11 a.m. right on the property. Only registered bidders are allowed to attend the auction, which requires a $250,000 refundable deposit, ensuring that the bidder can afford the property. There is no required minimum bid, but the reserve price of the mansion is $4.9 million, meaning that if the bidding reaches that amount, the owner, Silipigno, is obligated to sell.
So far, there are interested bidders from as far away as the U.K.
“Generally speaking, the goal of any well-executed auction is to bring folks from everywhere as long as they’re qualified. We’ve had 62 formal inquiries so far,” said Lesnock. “I like the market area in Saratoga Springs, it’s a great place. So far, the whole process has gone as expected.”