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Health and Fitness

Christmas music has the power to lift the spirit, unless maybe you’ve worked full time in a bank, department store or elevator the last few weeks. Jim Halbert enjoys the way it helps him wrap up another year filled with song, and figures it’s one of the reasons he’s still going strong at age 91. “I just got my driver’s license renewed,” Halpert said before a recent r…

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Sometimes it's all about the packaging. Even the most familiar items become special at Christmastime when they are covered in colorful paper and tied with beautiful bows. And that doesn't apply only to gifts from the store. This year's annual John Morris Russell's Holiday Pops with the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra, which debuted in a Dec. 19 morning concert and repeat…

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A slew of musician biographies and autobiographies saw release in the latter half of 2019, closing out a year that, earlier, found Buffalo’s own Ani DiFranco releasing one of the most astonishingly forthright entries in the history of the genre. While many of them boasted at least a bit of the tawdry, tell-all style that seems to be a prerequisite of getting such a book…

Buffalo

A group of Buffalo public school district parents and teachers is suing the district – claiming that it is undermining students' education by not providing them with the arts and music courses it is required to by New York State law. Under a 2001 state law, the parents and teachers said, all students in the district are legally required to have the opportunity to comple…

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Marcus King Band, 7 p.m. Dec. 19, Town Ballroom (681 Main St.), $25. Southern rock artist Marcus King will his pull his "El Dorado" tour into the Town Ballroom for a sold-out performance. The young mentor of Warren Haynes (Allman Brothers Band, Gov't Mule) is currently on his highest profile tour yet as he crosses the country to perform selections off his new record …

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Plan on parking before you get to Main Street in East Aurora the evening of Dec. 21, because the entire stretch between Olean and Riley streets will be taken over by the village's 47th annual Carolcade from 7 to 8 p.m. Before and after, check out all the shops, not just the must-see Vidler's, and enjoy the caroling (song sheets provided) plus hot cocoa, doughnuts and Sa…

Food and Drink

The 10 days before Christmas are always a whirlwind. Frantic shopping, holiday plans to keep straight and work to wrap up, all in the backdrop of Buffalo Bills fever this year. Clinching a playoff spot might make the next two weeks less stressful, but that calm is temporary. It's an exciting time to be a Buffalonian. Here is what's ahead for the event calendar spanning …

Bills

Macklemore might have low-key thrown his allegiance behind the Buffalo Bills on Sunday. The Seattle rapper posted a throwback Instagram photo on Saturday of him in a Bills jersey when he was a kid. The post reads:?"Christmas morning 1991. I loved the Buffalo Bills and was gifted a Bruce Smith jersey from my Gramma." The post didn't show any endorsement of the Bills, …

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Maestros tend to be pretty polished in the patter they share with the audience while the musicians catch their breath between musical numbers, but I can honestly believe JoAnn Falletta when she says the "Classical Christmas" is one of her favorite concerts of the year. As the final notes of the opening fanfare of "Joy to the World" rang out at Friday morning's Coffee Co…

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“I don’t care/I know you’re gonna hate this song.” These are the first words you hear on the Who’s first studio recording in 13 years, the band’s 12th overall, some 11 seconds into opener “All This Music Must Fade.” As it turns out, these combative lyrics offer a window into an album that should not, if we are given to acknowledging the weight of entropy and the work…

Festivals

Neighborhoods, especially in developing cities, have life cycles. Difficult periods are often punctuated by moments of rebirth, with enduring progress followed by healthy stability before the cycle repeats. These phases are inexact, at times idealistic and narrative-driven, but the seasons are evident in Buffalo neighborhoods. Broadway-Fillmore, part of history-rich Pol…

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Fun, humor and thought provocation were all delivered with a blend of exuberance and polished artistry at?Tuesday night’s Buffalo Chamber Music Society concert by the Ulysses Quartet. It was a well-chosen, albeit quirky, program that meshed masterpieces by Franz Joseph Haydn and Maurice Ravel, alongside a programming rarity (Pavel Haas’ second quartet) and a more recent…

Obituaries

May 17, 1953 – Dec. 6, 2019 Mike Nowakowski played with prominent polka bands for 50 years, but he enjoyed even greater success with his record company. Sunshine Records, which he co-founded in 1984 with his friend John Boranski, grew to become one of the nation’s largest distributors of polka music. Of more than 150 albums released on the label, 16 were nominated fo…

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Mikaela Davis and Southern Star, 7 p.m. Dec. 12, 9th Ward @ Babeville (341 Delaware Ave.), $12. Rising Rochester-born musician Mikaela Davis will return to Buffalo with her band Southern Star for a performance in Babeville's basement space. The young singer's profile has continued to rise following the release of her breakthrough effort "Delivery" during the summer o…