Arts Features

Aaron Winters

Teagan Ward doesn’t need The Weather Channel to understand the current climate in America.

“One of frustration, I suppose,” she says.

Ward works in the travel industry, developing tour packages to be sold by travel agents. She’s also a singer and songwriter on the Rochester scene, with her band Teagan and the Tweeds.


Rock royalty has played the tiny room known simply as the Bug Jar.

There was The White Stripes, before the duo became indie-rock favorites. The Black Keys, before returning to town a few years later for gigs at Blue Cross Arena and Constellation Brands-Marvin Sands Performing Arts Center. Vampire Weekend. The 1975, sharing a bill with Rochester’s Joywave. 

Provided by Amy Collins and Tim Clark

The silence of the past year has been deafening.

“If it wasn’t COVID, we’d be out almost every night listening to music,” says Amy Collins. Or perhaps she and her husband, Tim Clark, would be playing music themselves.

True, there are still a few venues where stages remain lit, heeding to state-mandated coronavirus pandemic guidelines with varying degrees of compliance.

Fred SanFilipo

For most of 2020, I’ve been working from a second-floor room at my house in Charlotte. Typing, doing phone interviews, waiting for a neighbor to finish mowing his lawn so I can record something for broadcast. October came and went quietly. For the first time ever, no trick-or-treaters showed up at our door on Halloween. 

October also marked my first anniversary of working full-time at WXXI. And doing the math on my fingers, I see that I have actually spent more days working from this room, rather than at my desk at 280 State St. -- because of the coronavirus pandemic, of course. 

Fred SanFilipo / WXXI News

Owners of music venues around the Rochester region who have been hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic are anxiously waiting for help from the latest federal stimulus package.

The package signed by President Donald Trump early this week gives billions in aid to music venues, but at least one popular venue isn’t sure if they’ll qualify. 

Leah Stacy

“The start of this story,” says Donny Clutterbuck, “could potentially be the trials and tribulations of becoming a different business every month.”

Thanks, Donny. I’ll take it from here. 

Clutterbuck is the bar manager at Cure, which offers French farmhouse cuisine at the Rochester Public Market. It’s one of the small treasures on the culinary scene here. And like all restaurants and bars in the COVID-19 era, the trial it’s been undergoing is the coronavirus pandemic. As an orange zone designee, Cure is open only for takeout. 

Aaron Winters

The Opera Guild of Rochester continues its virtual presentation of voice recitals, “Bravo Nights,” with a holiday version featuring tenor Mark Daniels and accompanist Rob Goodling on the piano.

Daniels’ lyric tenor voice has a lightness and warmth that makes it particularly accessible for listeners like myself who bristle at the stereotypical “opera voice” with its heavy use of vibrato. The Dec. 15 recital includes beloved arias by Mozart and Puccini as well as multiple winter favorites and favorite Christmas carols.

Annette Dragon

It took a while for John Borek, one-time bookstore owner and a self-described quiet man, to become an open book himself. But once he did, the pages turned swiftly.

Courtesy of the Recording Academy® / Getty Images © 2020

The works of alumni or faculty members from the Eastman School of Music are scattered across eight categories in the 63rd Grammy Awards announced this week.

The Grammy ceremony is scheduled for 8 p.m. Jan. 31. It will be broadcast on CBS.

Among the Eastman associations to be found:

Best Engineered Album, Classical: Hynes:"Fields," Third Coast Percussion, mastering engineers, featuring Sean Connors, Eastman class of 2004.


Optimism has been in short supply throughout 2020.

And clarity is virtually nonexistent. The Supreme Court has declared that New York state’s attempt to force churches and synagogues to adhere to coronavirus pandemic guidelines is a violation of the First Amendment’s guarantee of religious freedom. But after a tough day at work, if all you want is to sit down in front of a beer and listen to a blues band, your favorite bar is finding it tough to survive under those same COVID-19 guidelines.