Part of a great local Arts scene...

One reason the Cantata Singers exist, like so many other arts organizations, is to give the members a chance to share the gift of whatever art they are so passionate about. The multi-year success of the Cantata Singer's own "Festival of Women in the Arts" attests to how many and varied such groups are in our small corner of the world. What is truly wonderful, however, is realizing that others in community are noticing. And not, perhaps, because they are passionate about creating or performing art, but because they realize how their own lives, and the life of the community as a whole are enriched by the arts. A recent example is a letter to the editor of our local newspaper. I share that letter with you here in the hope that wherever you might be reading this post, wherever your travels or life may lead, that you'll seek out those wonderful artistic opportunities that thrive in every community. Seize the opportunity to create, share, or just enjoy the Art that you can find everywhere you go. - ww

Region hosts variety of great musicians (submitted to and printed in the Elmira Star Gazette)

In the past few weeks, I have been privileged to attend superb concerts put on by outstanding local musicians.

I wonder if the community realizes how fortunate we are and what a privilege it is to hear these fantastic groups: The Cantata Singers, The Orchestra and Chorus of the Southern Finger Lakes, The Youth Orchestra of the Southern Finger Lakes, Common Time and Crystal Chords.

For the most part, these are everyday people who like to perform and in doing this bring great joy to us who are the listeners.

Recently, two of our own — Todd Thomas and Daniel Bates, Southside High School graduates — returned to present a concert which gave me chills and thrills. Todd, a renowned baritone, each year gives a benefit concert to fund the Todd Thomas Music Scholarship. This is awarded annually to a high school senior living in Chemung County who plans to pursue musical performance in college studies. This year, Daniel Bates, an upcoming operatic tenor, joined him, as did the 2014 scholarship winner, Patrick Leslie, on saxophone.

This is a small community and to have so much talent available to us is amazing and truly a blessing.