3 from Orleans will be honored for efforts to promote arts

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 23 September 2014 at 12:00 am

File photos by Tom Rivers – Lance Anderson, president of the Lake Plains Players, portrays Jean Valjean in the production of Les Miserables. Anderson said playing Valjean, here shown as prisoner No. 24601, was a dream come true. Anderson has expanded the LPP’s number of productions, including a children’s theater camp over the summer.

BATAVIA – Three Orleans County community members will be recognized for their efforts to promote arts and culture in the county.

The Genesee-Orleans Regional Arts Council on Oct. 11 will present community arts awards to Jim Hancock of Medina, Michael Bonafede of Albion and Albion native Lance Anderson, who is president of the Lake Plains Players, a community theater organization.

Anderson has pushed the Lake Plains Players to put on more shows, including a youth theater camp this summer, culminating in the performance of 101 Dalmations. The group does its main theater show at the Roy-Hart school auditorium. The LPP also performed smaller shows at Leonard Oakes Estate Winery this year.

Anderson, a vocal teacher, played one of the lead roles – Jean Valjean – in the organization’s production of the ambitious show, Les Miserables. The LPP had 78 cast members in the epic production last October.

Michael Bonafede, chairman of the Albion Strawberry Festival Committee, plays the drums and leads a horse-drawn carriage with a replica of Abraham Lincoln’s coffin during the Strawberry Festival Parade in June. The coffin was on display as part of the 100th anniversary celebration for the Merrill-Grinnell Funeral Home.

GO ART! is giving an “Individual Award” to Bonafede, who has been chairman of the Strawberry Festival Committee for several years. Bonafede volunteers in leading a committee that puts on two days of entertainment the second weekend of June, including two venues for musicians besides the parade.

Bonafede also is a talented drummer who performed with the band Black Sheep in the mid-1970s. The band included Lou Gramm, who went on to be lead singer for Foreigner. Black Sheep recorded two albums for Capital Records and shared the stage with Kiss, Aerosmith, REO Speedwagon, and Hall and Oates.

Bonafede also served 16 years on the Albion Board of Education, including more than a decade as its president. He promoted the arts in the school district, which has won national recognition for its music program.

One of the fire trucks has a giant glowing Mickey Mouse at the back as it heads down Main Street through a big crowd in downtown Medina on Nov. 30 during last year’s Parade of Lights. Jim Hancock is the lead organizer of the parade, which is now in its sixth year.

He and his wife Judith Koehler also have been working to restore the Pratt Opera House in downtown Albion with a goal to make it a musical and performing arts venue.

GO ART! is also recognizing Hancock for his efforts in Medina. Since retiring as director of the Job Development Agency in Orleans County, Hancock has stepped up his volunteer efforts. He heads Medina’s Tourism Committee, which plans events, including concerts, and also makes sure the visitor center is staffed inside City Hall.

Hancock is the lead organizer of Medina’s parade of Lights the first Saturday after Thanksgiving, an event that draws a huge crowd to downtown Medina.

Medina Sandstone Society President Bob Waters, left, is pictured with Hall of Fame Committee members David Miller, Jim Hancock and John Slack during the HOF inaugural induction ceremony last Dec. 11.

He is active in the Medina Sandstone Society, and took the lead in establishing a Sandstone Hall of Fame last December inside City Hall. Hancock was part of the HOF Committee with David Miller and John Slack. The group wanted to promote community history and pride, showcasing some of the great structures from around the state made of the local stone.

GO ART! also will recognize Vinny Pastore of Genesee County, the Richmond Memorial Library in Batavia, Bill Hayes from Turnbull Heating & Air Conditioning, and Elba native Kimberly Buczek.

The 14th annual Genesee-Orleans Community Arts Awards Gala will be 6 p.m. on Oct. 11 at the Terry Hills Golf Course and Banquet Facility, 5122 Clinton Street Rd., Batavia. For more information, contact GO ART! at 585-343-9313.