Since its inception, public radio station WRFA-LP has become a beacon for local music and intellectual programming in the Jamestown community.
Friday night at the Lillian Vitanza Ney Renaissance Center, more than a dozen local artists will perform Dylan songs and share thoughts about how Dylan touches them as a performer. It's all in celebration of the influential artist's 70th birthday, which is actually today.
''Dylan's the greatest - what more can you say?,'' said Dennis Drew, general manager of WRFA. ''There isn't a more important musical figure in the 20th century, some think. He turned pop music around completely.''
The music of Bob Dylan will be celebrated at the Lillian Vitanza Ney Renaissance Center on Friday from 6 to 9 p.m. Hosted by local musician Ken Hardley and broadcast live on local radio station WRFA, a concert featuring local musicians performing Dylan songs will raise money for the public radio station while celebrating the artist’s 70th birthday, which is today.
Dylan fans will find plenty to enjoy about the evening at the Renaissance Center, with 14 talented artists from the Jamestown music scene scheduled to perform their favorite tunes in their own styles. Those styles range from the bluesy wailings of Cindy Haight, to the bouncy jazz of Marla Harris, to the soft delivery of Steve Piper, to the country rock of Chris Passamonte. So said Ken Hardley, who will host the show as the final installment of the first season of his Woodsongs Coffeehouse Radio Hour show on WRFA.
''We'll hear Dylan in new ways every time the spotlight moves,'' Hardley said.
Other performers throughout the three-hour show will include Drew and Jeff Erickson, both members of the band 10,000 Maniacs; Steve Johnson and Amanda Barton, both members of the band Big Leg Emma; John C. Merino; Reese Campbell; Tiny B; Bill Ward; and Katie Elfman.
What: Bob Dylan-themed show, a WRFA fundraiser
When: 6 to 9 p.m. Friday
Where: Lillian Vitanza Ney Renaissance Center
For more information, visit www.wrfalp.com.
* 0 miles from downtown Jamestown.
Many of the artists have appeared on the Woodsongs show over the course of the past several months, which have been recorded at the Labyrinth Press Company on Fourth Street. Drew said that Hardley approached him about doing a Bob Dylan-themed show to close out the first season, and Drew said that such an event called for something a bigger venue and grander stage.
''I thought it would be a great benefit for the radio station,'' Drew said. ''So we expanded it to get more people and kick some booty.''
A listener-supported station, WRFA needs to continually come up with ideas for fundraisers such as this ''just to keep the lights on,'' Drew said. But in addition to just keeping the lights on, WRFA also provides stimulating programming that both spotlights local music and art, as well as syndicated programming featuring engaging topics and musical offerings, and has outreach programs at locations such as the Boys and Girls Club, the Eastside Y, and Jamestown High School. Drew said the station plans to expand its outreach to Falconer and Sherman central schools in the coming year.
Friday's fundraiser celebrating Bob Dylan's birthday will feature music, a buffet and drinks, and a chance to celebrate the life and times of an artist who changed the face of music forever, Drew said.
''Before Dylan, popular music was all fluff music - goofy, sometimes nonsense lyrics, boy-meets-girl stuff,'' he said. ''He seemed to help bring folk music and the blues into pop music, and his lyrics of course are beyond both of those. They run the gamut from poetry to fantasy.''
Tunes that will be performed Friday night are taken from albums ranging from 1963's ''The Freewheelin' Bob Dylan'' through 1978's ''Street Legal,'' Hardley reports, with a little bit of everything in between.
The event will take place from 6 to 9 p.m. Friday. Cost of admission is $35, which includes all food and drinks as well as chances to win up to $1,000 in cash prizes.
The Lillian Vitanza Ney Renaissance Center is located at the corner of Third and Washington streets in downtown Jamestown. For those unable to attend but who would still like to hear the performances, the show will be broadcast live on WRFA-LP, 107.9 FM. For more information, visit www.wrfalp.com.
What: Sportshow Kids' Fishing Tournament
When: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday; 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday
Where: Lake Lane Fishing and Hunting, 1339 Windfall Road, Olean
Cost: $5 per vehicle
For more information, call 373-2080 or visit www.lakelaneresort.com.
* 57 miles from downtown Jamestown.
What: The Flip Side: The Alternative sponsored by Bemus Point UMC
When: 6 to 11 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays
Where: 8 Alburtus Ave., Bemus Point
A setting for young adults complete with karaoke, flat screen tvs, foosball, air hockey tables and more. For more
information, call 386-3401.
* 10.1 miles from downtown Jamestown.
What: Scrapbooking program
When: 9:30 to 11:30 a.m. Saturdays from June 4 to Aug. 20
Where: Jamestown YMCA
Cost: $5 per class for members; $6 per class for potential members
Freida Dewey will instruct this interactive class for adults, seniors and teens ages 14 years and older wo are interested in learning more about scrapbooking and card makeing. Register at least one week in advance at the Jamestown YMCA.
* 0 miles from downtown Jamestown.