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Hometown Christmas returns with 3 shows on Saturday in Albion

Photo by Tom Rivers: Lauren Thomas practices for her role as the Sugar Plum Princess in the Nutcracker during a show last Saturday at Gotta Dance by Miss Amy. Lauren will perform a dance this Saturday during the 8th annual Nicholas Kovaleski Hometown Christmas.

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 5 December 2017 at 8:40 pm

ALBION – The 8th annual Nicholas Kovaleski Hometown Christmas returns Saturday for three shows by members of the Albion community. There will be singing, dancing and even comedy.

The show honors the memory of Nicholas Kovaleski, who the inspired the Albion community with his valiant fight against leukemia. He died at age 15 on June 29, 2011. He was a popular student at Albion, excelling at football, swimming and tennis.

There have been seven Hometown Christmas events and they have raised $18,000 towards scholarships given annually to graduating high school seniors who “Live with Purpose.”

Nick’s sister Michayla is among the dancers in Saturday’s shows. Nick’s younger brother Matt normally plays the drums for the Albion band and in the pit orchestra for school musicals. On Saturday he will make his debut as a soloist in singing.

Other community members will perform, including High School Chorus Director Gary Simboli. Two of his students, Riley Seielstad and Kate Krieger, will sing solos.

The Boy Scouts will perform three humorous skits. Jim Salmon, Doug Bower and Jim Babcock also will perform a skit, “Grandma Got Run Over by Reindeer.”

Altogether, there will be about 60 people on stage during the program.

“We just want people to come and have a good time,” said Amy Sidari, event organizer and owner of Gotta Dance by Miss Amy. “I’m humbled by the community with their support and love.”

The shows are at noon, 3 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. at the Holy Family Parish Lyceum, 106 S. Main St. Coffee and desserts are served and there is a basket auction. There will likely be about 50 baskets up for bid, including jerseys from Buffalo Bills greats Jim Kelly and Andre Reed, who are both in the Pro Football Hall of Fame. There also is a 43-inch television in the auction.

For information about tickets, call Gotta Dance at (585) 354-2320.

Saturday is also the Hometown Holidays event in downtown Albion with events from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Click here for more information.

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Community members are stars of Hometown Christmas shows

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 3 December 2016 at 4:08 pm

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Photos by Tom Rivers

ALBION – Rose Allen sings, “Mary Did You Know,” during today’s noon show of the seventh annual Nicholas Kovaleski Hometown Christmas at the Holy Family Lyceum.

There are three shows today of Hometown Christmas, which features 19 acts, with singing, dancing and some comedy.

Hometown Christmas raises money for a memorial scholarship for Nicholas Kovaleski, who fought leukemia before passing away at age 15 on June 29, 2011. He was a popular student at Albion, excelling at football, swimming and tennis. He was also an active Boy Scout.

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Jay and Kelly Kovaleski, parents of Nicholas, talk about the new workshops they have created called, Live With Purpose. (Mr. Kovaleski is holding a T-shirt with the program’s logo.)

The interactive workshop is geared towards helping teens and others find purpose and direction for their lives. The Kovaleskis will be run a free workshop on Jan. 13 from 7 to 8 p.m. at the Gotta Dance Studio at 28 West Bank St., Albion. Click here for more information.

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Marcy Downey and Gary Simboli sing “Happy Days” during Hometown Christmas.

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Rylie Lear, center, and other dancers perform a routine to “Frosty the Snowman.”

 

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Angela Tarricone, an Albion High School senior, performs one of her two songs, including “Grownup Christmas List.”

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Amy Sidari, Hometown Christmas coordinator, gives an inspirational welcoming message to start the show.

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Community stars in Hometown Christmas

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 5 December 2015 at 12:00 am

Photos by Tom Rivers

ALBION – About 500 people are expected for three shows today of the sixth annual Nicholas Kovaleski Hometown Christmas. The top photo shows Rachel Curtin, principal of the Ronald L. Sodoma Elementary School, singing “Heaven Everywhere.”

She is among about 50 different performers today in the Hometown Christmas shows at the Holy Family Parish Lyceum.

Marcy Downey sings “Baby, It’s Cold Outisde” next to a cutout of Dean Martin.

There are 17 acts in the show, which is nearly two hours long.

Michayla Kovaleski and her mother Kelly sing a duet, “Hallelujah (Light Has Come)” during the noon show.

Hometown Christmas raises money for a memorial scholarship for Nicholas Kovaleski, who fought leukemia before passing away at age 15 on June 29, 2011. He was a popular student at Albion, excelling at football, swimming and tennis.

About $10,500 in scholarships in memory of Nicholas have been awarded to graduating Albion seniors. They write essays about community service and living with a purpose.

Mikayla Yaskulski, front, and Kate Krieger are part of a group that danced to the song, “Hello” by Adele. Many of the performers are dancers in the Gotta Dance by Miss Amy studio.

Rose Allen sings “Amazing Grace” to the crowd at the Lyceum.


Lauren Thomas dances to “Maybe I’m Amazed.” Michayla Kovaleski and Laiken Ricker also are in that group dance.

Dancers, singers working hard on Hometown Christmas show

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 20 November 2015 at 12:00 am

Photos by Tom Rivers

ALBION – Dancers at the Gotta Dance by Miss Amy studio have been practicing for the upcoming Hometown Christmas show on Dec. 5. This group pictured is led by Gloria Lear.

There will be about 15 acts in the show, which will be the sixth annual benefit for the Nicholas Kovaleski scholarship. Nicholas fought leukemia before dying at age 15 on June 29, 2011. He was a popular student at Albion, excelling at football, swimming and tennis.

His father Jay Kovaleski said he appreciates the hard work from the participants in Hometown Christmas, which includes three shows: noon, 3 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. The shows will be at the Holy Family Lyceum at 106 South Main St.

“They’re all doing it for a great cause,” said Mr. Kovaleski, a teacher at Albion. “No one thinks twice.”

Amy Sidari, owner of the Gotta Dance studio, works with a group practicing a jazz dance for Hometown Christmas.

The Hometown Christmas shows draw about 500 people. Proceeds from the event go to the scholarship. About $10,500 has been awarded to graduating Albion seniors. They write essays about community service and living with a purpose.

Jay and his wife Kelly and Nicholas’s siblings look over the applications for the scholarships. They are looking for students who are committed to their families and community.

“It touches us to read them,” Mr. Kovaleski said.

Nicholas’s mother Kelly and sister Michayla will both perform in the Dec. 5 show. Nicholas’s brother Matthew will be part of back stage team. The oldest Kovaleski son, Thomas, 21, is in the Army at Fort Riley in Kansas.

Mr. Kovaleski appreciates the upbeat messages in the Christmas program, and some of the fun scenes, including skits by the Boy Scouts.

Michayla Kovaleski performs as the Sugar Plum in a dance from The Nutcracker during last year’s Hometown Christmas.

“Nicholas would want people to come and enjoy themselves,” Kovaleski said.

He appreciates the community’s generosity to the scholarship fund and the all of the effort in putting on Hometown Christmas.

“Christmas comes from the heart, and everyone has their heart in this,” he said.

Sidari said she welcomes donations of baskets and cookies for the benefit. For more information about the show, click here to see the Miss Amy website.

About 500 attend Hometown Christmas show in Albion

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 14 December 2014 at 12:00 am

Photos by Tom Rivers

ALBION – The fellowship hall at Holy Family Parish Lyceum was transformed into a stage and performance venue on Saturday for the 5th annual Nicholas Kovaleski Hometown Christmas.

About 50 performers were part of the cast for three shows. About 500 people attended the event, which is a fund-raiser for a memorial scholarship in honor of Nicholas Kovaleski. His sister Michayla (top photo) performs as the Sugar Plum in a dance from The Nutcracker.

Nicholas’s mother Kelly Kovaleski shared reflections about her son, who died from leukemia at age 15 on June 29, 2011. He was a popular student at Albion, excelling at football, swimming and tennis. He would have graduated last June. She said her son wanted to join the military.

She said her Nicholas “lived with purpose.” The scholarship in his memory honors graduating seniors who “Live with Purpose.”

Marcy Downey sings “More Than Wonderful.” She also sang a duet – “How Great Thou Art” – with Joise Waverly.

Several dancers, including Madeline Bilicki (center), perform “Waltz of the Flower.”

Rose Allen sings “A Baby Changes Everything.” Santa Claus is in the background.

These dancers, including Katie Rustay at right and Michayla Kovaleski at left perform “You Wouldn’t Cry.” There were 18 differents acts for the show.

New performers, returning favorites will take stage for Hometown Christmas

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 3 November 2014 at 12:00 am

Photo by Tom Rivers

ALBION – Amy Sidari, owner of Gotta Dance by Miss Amy and coordinator of the Hometown Christmas production, meets with performers and support staff on Sunday for the 5th annual Nicholas Kovaleski Hometown Christmas.

About 50 performers will be on the stage for three shows on Dec. 13 at Holy Family Parish Lyceum. Some new performers for this year’s show include Josie Waverly and Rachel Curtin, the Albion Elementary School principal. Waverly for the first time will also sing publicly with Marcy Downey, an Albion native and professional singer.

Hometown Christmas also serves as memorial for Nicholas Kovaleski. He inspired the Albion community with his valiant fight against leukemia. He died at age 15 on June 29, 2011. He was a popular student at Albion, excelling at football, swimming and tennis. He would have graduated last June and likely would be a college freshman.

His mother Kelly and his sister Michayla will also perform during the show on Dec. 13.

During his fight with leukemia, Nick urged the community to “Live with Purpose.” His classmates and the school staff and teachers continue to keep Nick’s memory and his message alive. Proceeds from the show are used for a scholarship in Nicholas Kovaleski’s name. It is given to a senior who lives with purpose.

For more information, click here.

File photo – Catherine Thom and other dancers in Gotta Dance by Miss Amy perform Snowflakes, an excerpt from the Nutcracker during last year’s Hometown Christmas. The row in the back includes, from left: Laiken Ricker, Rylie Lear and Lauren Thomas.

‘Hometown Christmas’ provides inspiration and entertainment

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 15 December 2013 at 12:00 am

Photos by Tom Rivers

Catherine Thom and other dancers in Gotta Dance by Miss Amy perform Snowflakes, an excerpt from the Nutcracker during Saturday’s fourth annual Nicholas Kovaleski Hometown Christmas. The row in the back includes, from left: Laiken Ricker, Rylie Lear and Lauren Thomas.

Marcy Downey sings “Over the Rainbow” during the Hometown Christmas show on Saturday at the Holy Family Parish Lyceum.

A cast of about 50 performed songs and dances in memory of Nicholas, who died at age 15 on June 29, 2011. He was a popular student at Albion, excelling at football, swimming and tennis. He would have been a senior this year.

A video at the beginning of the program featured Nick’s classmates and school staff holding signs with inspirational messages. During his fight with leukemia, Nick urged the community to “Live with Purpose.” His classmates and the school staff and teachers continue to keep Nick’s memory and his message alive.

Lydia Erakare, one of Nick’s classmates, holds a sign that says, “Be Brave! Take Chances! Challenge Yourself!”

The Gotta Dance studio performed three shows on Saturday that drew more than 300 people. Proceeds are used to a fund a scholarship in Nick’s memory. So far, five scholarships have been awarded to graduating Albion students.

Nick’s mother Kelly Kovaleski , left, sings “The Shape of You,” a song she used to sing with her son at bedtime. She is joined by Albion music teacher Karen Conn.

Nick’s brother Matt Kovaleski introduces his band, “The Chick Magnets,” which also includes Noah Duvall, Connor McQuillan, Nick Sacco and Bryce Pritchard.

The Rev. Richard Csizmar, pastor of the Holy Family Parish, shares a reflection during the one of the shows on Saturday.

‘Hometown Christmas’ will honor memory of Nicholas Kovaleski

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 4 December 2013 at 12:00 am

Photo by Tom Rivers

ALBION – More than 50 participants have been rehearsing for the fourth annual Nicholas Kovaleski Hometown Christmas. Gotta Dance by Miss Amy will perform three shows on Dec. 14 at noon, 3 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. at the Holy Family Parish Lyceum, 106 South Main St.

Amy Sidari, Gotta Dance owner and director of the show, is pictured with a group photo of last year’s cast.

Nicholas Kovaleski inspired the Albion community with his valiant fight against leukemia. He died at age 15 on June 29, 2011. He was a popular student at Albion, excelling at football, swimming and tennis. He would have been a senior this year.

Several of Nick’s classmates will share a presentation during the Hometown Christmas. Nick’s mother Kelly will sing a solo, “The Shape Of You,” and Nick’s sister Michayla will do a solo dance. There are 15 acts in all.

Noted local musicians Marcy Downey and Gary Simboli are among the performers.

“It’s going to be a lot of fun with a lot of humor,” Sidari said.

The Rev. Richard Csizmar, parish priest, will also share a reflection during the each of the shows.

For more information about the show and tickets, click here.

Christmas garlands, streamers return to Albion downtown

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 25 December 2019 at 10:10 am

Photos by Tom Rivers

ALBION – Some of the Christmas garlands and streamers are back in the downtown, including these decorations on the Pratt building on Main Street.

The Village Board declared some of the decorations as surplus and they were purchased by Liz Groat, president of the Downtown Browsery. Groat repaired many of the decorations and convinced some of the merchants to hang them on their buildings.

Krantz Furniture was the first to display the decorations. The village didn’t want to hang the garlands and streamers across the street because of concern the buildings didn’t have attachments to securely display the decorations across the street.

The decorations gradually fell into disrepair and were declared surplus. The village sold eight stream liners which include two 22-foot lighted garlands with a lighted wreath. Groat submitted the highest bid of $360. She spent more money and time repairing the decorations.

The Pratt and Day buildings, owned by Michael Bonafede and Judith Koehler, give the decorations prominent display.

The Village of Albion DPW this year set up the Christmas tree in the downtown at Waterman Park by the mural showing Albion native Charles Howard as Santa, flying over the downtown and Courthouse Square.

The DPW also put up many wreaths and banners about the holiday season. This banner celebrates Charles Howard, who ran a Santa School in Albion from 1937 to 1966.

The Albion Merchants Association announced the winner of the Hometown Holiday Window Decorating contest. Frontier Heating & A/C Service Inc. won for this display at its storefront on East Bank Street.

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Albion downtown was busy with activities for Hometown Holiday

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 15 December 2019 at 10:20 am

Photos by Tom Rivers

ALBION – The Grinch was a greeter at 39 Problems on Saturday as part of Albion’s Hometown Holiday.

The Grinch is Chet Kwiatkowski. He is pictured with his granddaughter Myleigh Miller, grandson Garrett Miller, and daughter Erica Miller.

39 Problems would later host an ugly sweater contest.

The Albion Merchants Association had many activities in the downtown as part of the annual Hometown Holiday.

Paula Brooks, a vendor at the Downtown Browsery, dressed up as Sparkles the Elf. Many of the stores had opportunities to make Christmas cookies, write letters to Santa, make ornaments and sample holiday treats.

Nathaniel Staines, an Albion police officer, joined children and families in a coloring contest at the Albion Village Hall. Police officers were on hand to share coffee, doughnuts and pizza.

Saturday there was also a benefit by Red Check Rustic for Lisa Wilson and her family. Wilson recently suffered three strokes and is recovering at Unity Hospital in Rochester. The benefit included 105 baskets that were raffled from the second floor of the Pratt Building.

Debbie Prest, second from left, was one of the main organizers of the benefit. She is pictured from left with June Wilson (Lisa’s mother-in-law), Terri Drennan and Lynn Burgess. Lisa’s son Damian, a senior at Albion, is at far left. Lisa also has a son Drake with her husband Chad.

The two went to Albion school together and have stayed in Albion. Lisa works for ESL in Rochester after working about 20 years in Albion at the site that has been Dime Bank, Washington Mutual, Chase and CRFS.

Her husband thanked the community for its support, and the organizers of Saturday’s benefit.

Provided photo: Tinsel hosted a Christmas painting with Santa in the morning and later showed holiday movies and did cookie decorating.

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Mr. Scribbles, Santa add star power to Albion’s Hometown Holiday

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 9 December 2018 at 8:14 pm

Photos by Tom Rivers

ALBION – “Mr. Scribbles” – Michael Sparling of Perry – was a popular person Saturday during the Hometown Holiday celebration in downtown Albion. Sparling lets kids scribble on a paper and then he adds cartoons of animals with a friendly message.

He is making a picture for Carsyn Mogle, 7, of Holley at the Village Office.

Oliver Carter, 5, Albion gets his picture taken with four members of the Albion Police Department, including from left: officer Daryl Robb, Lt. David Mogle, officer Nathaniel Staines and Police Chief Roland Nenni.

The Police Department served coffee and doughnuts in the morning and pizza for lunch. They were one of the stations at the Village Hall.

The Albion merchants Association organized the seventh annual Hometown Holiday, which included many activities at downtown businesses and a raffle.

Al Capurso helps children with a craft. He also led the group in singing Christmas carols.

Albion police officer Karol Hughes chats with Santa at the Village Office.

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Many activities in Albion downtown for Hometown Holiday

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 8 December 2018 at 10:37 am

Photos by Tom Rivers

ALBION – The Albion Merchants Association is hosting its seventh annual Hometown Holiday in the downtown today from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Debbie Grimm, left, and Grace Kent are getting crafts ready for children in the Village Office at 35-37 East Bank St.

The Village Office also will have Mr. Scribbles, coffee with a cop and a coloring contest. There is free coffee and doughnuts this morning and free pizza at noon while supplies last at the Village Office.

Other businesses are also hosting activities, including cookie decorating, a sing-a-long, letter writing to Santa, crafts with Mrs. Claus, Christmas trivia and a reindeer raffle with 28 items up for raffle.

Anita Finley is ready for people to enter the coloring contests. There will be prizes for children 5 and under, ages 6 to 9, and ages 10 to 12. Finley’s husband Todd is owner of the Oak Orchard Canoe. They are members of the Albion Merchants Association.

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Albion has many fun activities today for annual Hometown Holidays

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 9 December 2017 at 11:36 am

Photos by Tom Rivers

ALBION – There are many fun activities scheduled today in downtown Albion for the annual Hometown Holidays event organized by the Albion Merchants Association. New this year is “Coffee with a Cop” at the Village Office form 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Albion police officers Daryl Robb, left, and Karol Hughes are shown chatting with Stan Farone, a village trustee. The Albion Dunkin Donuts donated the doughnuts and coffee for the event.

There are many activities on schedule until 4 p.m., with Santa stopping by the former Swan Library from 4:30 to 6 p.m.

Arianna McGurn, left, and her friend Logon Conlon are running the selfie photo station at the Village Office. They are both in ninth grade.

Lisa Stratton, owner of the Hazy Jade Gift Shop, is hosting a wine-tasting with Midgard Winery from Corfu. Michael Potoczak has several different wines available for tasting. Midgard will be back on March 3 for Albion’s annual wine tasting event.

Ariana Mateo, 12, and her sister Eva Mateo color in a Christmas-themed design at one of the stations at the Village Office.

Brushstrokes in Medina brought ornaments for children to paint. Kiri Keller, left, and Becca Lusk work on painting ornaments.

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Albion businesses have many activities today for Hometown Holiday

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 10 December 2016 at 10:32 am

Santa will make appearance at old Swan Library

File photo by Tom Rivers: Mrs. Claus is pictured here during Hometown Holiday in December 2013. She will be back at Knight’s Pride today from noon to 3 p.m.

File photo by Tom Rivers: Mrs. Claus is pictured here during Hometown Holiday in December 2013. She will be back at Knight’s Pride today from noon to 3 p.m.

ALBION – The Albion Merchants Association has many activities planned today for the fifth annual Hometown Holiday.

Children can make ornaments (at MMIM), make reindeer dust (at Lynne Marie Hair Boutique), play holiday games, write letters to Santa and eat cookies.

Mrs. Claus will be at Knight’s Pride from noon to 3 p.m. and Santa will be available to meet youngsters at the old Swan Library from 12:30 to 2 p.m.

The activities are all free go from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. (although not all locations will be participating the full six hours).

Here is a list of some participants: SnL Sweet Escapes, cookie decorating; Digital Ink Arts, holiday games; Tease, cookies and hot cocoa; Xpress Fitness & tanning, reindeer raffle; Hazy Jade Gift Shop, Santa hand print art; Uptown Browsery, snowman ornament; Olde Dogge Inn, pine cone ornament; Downtown Browsery, letter to Santa; and Save-A-Lot, coloring contest.

There will also be an elf hunt, where people can win a ticket for the reindeer raffle if they find an elf. The Merchants also have a 12 Days of Christmas Scavenger Hunt.

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Albion hosts Hometown Holiday on Saturday

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 11 December 2015 at 12:00 am

Photo by Tom Rivers – Downtown Albion is decorated with banners and wreaths for the holiday season. Many of the merchants also have lighted displays in their storefront windows.

ALBION – Albion business owners will host their fourth annual “Hometown Holiday” on Saturday. The event has grown with new activities including a “Where’s Rudolph” challenge.

“This is our annual community program where we encourage people to shop local,” said Carolyn Ricker, president of Albion Merchants Association and owner of Bindings Bookstore. “There will be a lot of activities for kids and families to do together.”

There will be a Rudolph at 19 sites and children who can find at least five will receive a goody bag. Each participating merchant will have a passport for all of the reindeer locations.

Merchants will host other activities, including ornament making, letter writing to Santa, story time, coloring contest, and cookies with Mrs. Claus. The events run from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. with Santa at the Cobble-Ridge Co-op at 14462 Ridge Rd. from 1 to 3 p.m.

The event also includes a Christmas Gift Fair with several vendors at the Pullman Memorial Church from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

For more information on the day, visit one of the businesses or check the Merchant’s Association Facebook page by clicking here.

A slender Santa who resembles Jim Knight helps promote the Christmas Gift Fair last Saturday. Vendors will be back tomorrow at the church.