×

Evolution

Infinity Local Music Showcase Is Saturday

The Spire Theater, located at 317 E. Third St., Jamestown is a live music venue for The Infinity Local Music Showase. P-J photo by Michael Zabrodsky

Positive change is a good thing.

For Infinity Visual and Performing Arts Executive Director Shane Hawkins, it’s more like an evolution.

“There are always new instructors, new programs and new classes. It always depends on who (instructors) we bring in, what the kids are asking for, what is currently popular,” she said.

Hawkins said that the staff has to listen to the trends and try to match instructor skills and classes. So it’s not so much what has changed dramatically in the past year for Infinity, as every year the program changes.

As much as the students like the routine of coming to the program and having their same instructor and signing in, they still want to be heard, Hawkins noted.

Above, from left, The Pub, located at 209 N. Main St., Jamestown, and the Beer Snob, located at 318 Washington St., Jamestown are live music venues for The Infinity Local Music Showase.

“We evolve every day. It keeps it fresh. It keeps it current, and relevant to the students that are here. So if the program was the same every year and we had the same instruments, and the same workshops, kids would get bored.”

According to its website, Infinity Visual and Performing Arts, Inc. is a multifaceted, innovative music and arts education program located in Jamestown. The Infinity concept was developed as an opportunity for aspiring young musicians to develop and enhance their creative talents and performance skills under the supervision and guidance of local, professional musicians and educators. The name Infinity was chosen to represent the potential for future growth and participation for youth throughout the community. What began in a parent’s living room in 1998 with a group of seven talented young musicians has evolved into a comprehensive visual and performing arts non-profit organization housed in a 14,100 square foot performance and learning center that serves more than 2,000 students each year in various program components. In its formative years, Infinity was nurtured under the umbrella of the Arts Council for Chautauqua County. In 2004 a volunteer Board of Directors was formed and with guidance and support from the Arts Council and the Chautauqua Region Community Foundation, Infinity was incorporated on Jan. 20, 2005.

In 2014, in order to accommodate the growing number of students, its website listed, the Infinity Center relocated to a new, custom-designed facility in the ground floor of the Lynn Building, at 301 E. Second St. The move was made possible thanks to generous help and support from local and regional funders, private donations, and a grassroots community fundraising campaign.

“We have 527 kids enrolled and take private lessons last year. And we worked with 1,600 kids in the community. We have 17 off-site programs. It’s pretty well-received by the kids,” Hawkins said.

And Infinity is not just about music. It is art, dance, and theater.

Hawkins said the reason that Infinity branch out was to diversify. “Not everybody wants to be a musician. I’m not a musician, but I love art. We wanted Infinity to be open to more students — a broader variety. And some kids want to try multiple things, so we have lots of cross-disciplinary classes and opportunities,” She said.

Infinity is about building confidence as well.

“We want them to thrive. And everybody needs different things to help them thrive. It’s beautiful to watch. Once they (the students) know their instructor is there to help them, that bond is very powerful, and they want to work hard for the instructor. They want to feel heard. Some kids don’t have one-to-one interaction with another adult, so to be able to sit in a lesson room and for 30 minutes that instructor is solely focused on them. It’s just very empowering for students. Even if they have a great home life and a great school life and everything else is going well, there is no downside to having an extra mentor. It’s great for kids that are struggling. It’s also great for kids who are excelling. Most of the lessons are private lessons,” Hawkins said.

The executive director added that one reason that makes Infinity unique is the program is student driven. “We have really developed programming based on what the kids are asking for. Our ability to pivot and shift and change and have so many instructors here on site that have so many skillsets,” Hawkins added. Every year, Hawkins said, all of the instructors are given a questionnaire and it essentially asks the instructors what else are they able to teach, and what levels. “We are always surprised with the talents that we didn’t even know,” she said.

Every year since 2003, Infinity has held a music showcase to help raise funds for the program.

Infinity Visual and Performing Arts located at 301 E. Second St., Jamestown. P-J photos by Michael Zabrodsky

The showcase entitled “The Night Music Reigns,” will take place throughout nine venues in Downtown Jamestown and features more than 40 local musical acts.

Events begin Saturday at 6 p.m. and will end at 2 a.m.

This year’s venues include Brazil, Forte, Labyrinth Press Co., Pearl City Hops, Shawbucks, The Beer Snob, The Pub, The Spire Theater and The Wine Cellar.

Hawkins said It takes 200 volunteers to put showcase together. “There are 40 bands and they all donate their time. The musicians donate their time, the engineers donate their time, the venues donate their space. It’s very much a community effort, especially the musician community that is making this happen. They are so talented and we are so grateful. People should go out and see them,” she added.

Infinity’s Grants and Marketing Coordinator, Stephanie Rogers, spearheads the coordination of showcase each year, and added, “It’s such an honor year after year to work with our community who is always so willing to help make this night a success. From the venues and sponsors, to the musicians, to the sound engineers, to the door volunteers, to our local media outlets, there’s nothing quite like seeing everyone come together for Infinity every year on this night. As a non-profit, approximately 15% of Infinity’s annual operating budget comes from fundraising, and LMS is usually our largest fundraising event of the year. We are so grateful to everyone who makes this happen, and our students really get to reap the benefits of the programming that we can offer at Infinity thanks to nights like this.”

Forte Restaurant, located at 114 E. Third St., Jamestown is a live music venue for The Infinity Local Music Showcase. P-J photo by Michael Zabrodsky

For more information on volunteering or full schedule of events visit infinityperformingarts.org

Here is a list of the bands that are scheduled to perform on Saturday.

BRAZIL

8-8:45 p.m. — Mark Mincarelli

9-9:45 p.m. — William Russell

10-l0:45 p.m. — Nick Slagle

11-ll:45 p.m. — Nathan Ditonto

THE BEER SNOB

8-9 p.m. — Kris Meekins

9:20-l0:20 p.m. — Lefty Jones

10:40-ll:40 p.m. — Kyle Gustafson

FORTE

10-11 p.m. — Cindy Love & Sara The Greatest

11:15-12:15 p.m. — Andrew Speer

12:30-l:30 a.m. — Gary Peters Jr.

THE PUB

6-7 p.m. — Sean Lander

7:15-8:15 p.m. — The Surldowrlers

8:30-9:30 p.m. –Steel Rails

9:45-l0:45 p.m. — Kris Meekins

LABYRINTH

6-6:45 p.m. — The Himalayan Redneck Opera

7-7:45 p.m.– Common Denominator

8-8:45 p.m. — Deep Fried and Dipped in Honey

9:-9:45 p.m. — STCLVR

THE SPIRE THEATER

6-7 p.m. — Level 3

7:10-8:10 p.m. — Shut Up Jesse

8:30-9:30 p.m. — Feverhawk

9:45-l0:45 p.m. — Omeri & The Poppas Crate Band

11-12 p.m. — Muttnik

PEARL CITY HOPS

6-7 p.m. — Three Philosophers

7:20-8:20 p.m. — Trip The Deuce

8:40-9:40 p.m. — The Elektra Kings

10-11 p.m. — The Adventure

11:20-12:20 a.m. — Macklehat Merffy

SHAWBUCKS

9-l0 p.m. — The Hallow Society

10:15-11:15 p.m. – Slow Motion Breakdown

11:30 p.m.-12:30 a.m. — We Speak Canadian

12:45-l :45 a.m.– Cold Lazarus

WINE CELLAR

7-8 p.m. — Michael Gerholdt

8:15-9:15 p.m — The King’s Express

9:30-l0:30 p.m. — Ken Hardley

10:45-11:45 p.m. — Trever Wilkins

Midnight-1 a.m.- Brian Hanna & Scott Horton

COMMENTS