Categories: Latest News.

February 12 & 13: Young Audiences at the 2011 Buffalo Winterfest & Powder Keg Festival

logoIn downtown Buffalo, we don’t fear winter – we revel in it! Join us for this historic winter celebration, now in its second year, as we present interactive family performances in the Kid’s Pavillion at HSBC Center. This is a free event and is open to the public.
Click here for more information about the Buffalo Winterfest and Powder Keg Festival.


Saturday, February 12 at 11 a.m.
Mama Earth’s Kitchen Band Show with Sue Rozler
Mama Earth sings about composting, gardening, hiking, bird-watching, fossil hunting, and recycling in this high-energy sing along performance! Families can put the music in their own hands by joining Mama Earth on stage as she spreads the message of respect towards all of Earth’s creatures.

Saturday, February 12 at 1 p.m.

Interactive Dance Party with Cindy Hanna
This fun-filled, interactive dance-along with dancer/choreographer Cindy Hanna includes movin’ and groovin’ to upbeat tempos. Hanna introduces steps anyone can do, and the audience can participate in every dance during the performance.

Sunday, February 13 at 11 a.m.
Echoes of Africa with Diaspora Drumming
African and Latin American cultures are indelibly linked through drumming, song, and dance! This lively performance follows musical paths from Western Africa to Cuba, Brazil, Puerto Rico and Mexico. Audience members participate in creating rhythms, singing, and dancing.

Sunday, February 13 at 1 p.m.
Experience Life, Dance Salsa with Sarah Hooper
The artist imparts her infectious enthusiasm for dance while correlating it to life skills. As she points out, dance teaches us self-awareness, social skills, confidence, leadership and cooperation- all while toning muscles and having tons of fun!

All Young Audiences performances will take place under a heated tent at  HSBC Plaza, One HSBC Center, in downtown Buffalo.

Categories: Latest News.

Young Audiences Expands Residency with Heritage Centers

Tom HoltWith support from The Children’s Guild Foundation, Young Audiences of Western New York has expanded its partnership with Heritage Centers After School Program to engage young people in creative arts programs again in 2011-2012.

The residency, titled A Rhythm Runs Through It, is a long-term arts integration program incorporating dance, music, and visual arts for young people with special needs that attend the Heritage Centers After School Program. Youth who participate in the program have moderate to severe development disabilities, many of which also face physical, mental, cognitive, or behavioral challenges.

Through the arts, the young people – mostly teens – develop confidence in art making, agility, and literacy skills.

View our most recent blog post and video on this program, at this link.  

“If Young Audiences did not provide these classes for us, our young people would never have such exposure to the arts and creative self-expression in their lifetime,” said Barbara Huebsch, Supervisor of Family and County Services for Heritage Centers After School Program. “Many children with learning disabilities are not ordinarily able to express themselves, yet, [when they come to our program] whether it is through dancing, drumming, or painting, they find that they are well capable of doing so.”

A Rhythm Runs Through It brings together some of the most inspiring and effective artists working with special needs populations in Buffalo. 

Created by Young Audiences WNY, A Rhythm Runs Through It is funded by The Children’s Guild Foundation. Individuals interested in learning more about this residency can contact Young Audiences WNY directly at 716.881.0917 or by email at

*Pictured Above: Tom Holt with student participants of A Rhythm Runs Through It

Categories: Latest News.

Student Artists Host Public Reception and Celebration

McKinleyOn Tuesday, December 21, Community Action Organization of Erie County, Inc. will present Hot Chocolate Showcase 2010, a public reception featuring photographs, videos, and performances by young artists of McKinley High School. The event will be hosted in the lower gallery of CEPA Gallery from 4:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m., and will be on display through January 21.

The reception will highlight the work of student participants of the 21st Century Program at McKinley, which provides an after school environment wherein students can receive academic tutoring, a hot meal, and participate in a variety of enriching arts experiences.

Available everyday after school, the 21st Century Program provides students with the opportunity to work with professional teaching artists from CEPA Gallery, Squeaky Wheel, and Young Audiences of Western New York. The yearlong program utilizes the arts to enhance students’ learning and life skills, providing the tools for them to become successful, contributing members of their communities.

“It’s exciting to see the enthusiasm students have for writing about their own lives,” said Sunnylee Mowery, Arts & Education Director for Young Audiences WNY. “They have gained tremendous confidence in elevating their work through performance.”

Throughout Young Audiences’ workshops students have worked with teaching artists Rodney Appleby, Annette Daniels-Taylor, and Alex Mead to develop their writing and performance skills. To prepare for the showcase students have been practicing microphone technique, addressing an audience, and using performance space creatively.

Admission to Hot Chocolate Showcase 2010 is free and the event is open to the public. CEPA Gallery is located at 617 Main Street in Buffalo, and the reception will take place in CEPA’s Underground Gallery. CEPA Gallery is open Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and on Saturdays from noon to 4 p.m. Parking is available on Washington Street.

This program has been made possible by the support of a 21st Century CLC grant awarded through the New York State Education Department.

*Pictured Above: Annette Daniels-Taylor with students of the McKinley 21st Century Program



Categories: Latest News.

Honors Music Café

Honors Music CafeOn December 9, the youth participants of Honors Music Café will host an open rehearsal at City Honors School from 2:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. The program, created and presented by Young Audiences of Western New York, engages and educates students in classical chamber music. Working with cellist Nancy Baun, participants are improving their skills performing in small ensembles.

Funded by the Hooper Family Foundation and Young Audiences, Inc., Honors Music Café was created to implement Young Audiences’ Signature Core Services teaching model. This new model emphasizes activities that allow students to experience, understand, create with an art form, and to connect with other curricula and learn life skills. The Honors Music Café model, now in its first year of implementation in collaboration with City Honors’ Music Department, will be serve as a model for 30 Young Audiences affiliates across the United States.

“Young Audiences is part of a network of the country’s leading arts education providers,” said Young Audiences WNY Executive Director Cynnie Gaasch. “For the Honors Music Café program, we have gone out of our way to partner with some of the region’s most outstanding institutions, teaching artists, and education providers to create a program that will help affiliates design similar arts residencies across the country.”

Students in the Honors Music Café after school program will participate in a number of field trips and public performances in addition to their weekly workshops. Field trips and performances will take place at Albright-Knox Art Gallery and Buffalo & Erie County Public Library.

The after school program includes student participants, grades 6 through 12, and is led by teaching artist and critically acclaimed Cellist Nancy Baun. A seasoned chamber musician, Baun has performed over 1,000 events throughout the United States, Europe, and Canada. In Buffalo, she performs with the Western New York Chamber Orchestra, the Roycroft Chamber Music Festival, and Young Audiences WNY.

More information about the Honors Music Café after school program is by calling the Young Audiences WNY office at 716.881.0917.

*Pictured Above: Acclaimed Cellist Nancy Baun with student participants of the Honors Music Cafe after school program at City Honors School


Categories: Latest News.

Chocolate is for Giving

CynnieWe were thrilled to partner with Choco-Logo Confectionary Design to host a successful – not to mention delicious – wine & chocolate pairing party and fundraiser on November 11.

After learning more about Young Audiences mission and the great work that our organization does throughout the eight counties of Western New York, Choco-Logo has selected Young Audiences WNY as one of five organizations that will benefit from the factory’s annual charity event Chocolate is For Giving.

From December 6 to 11, Choco-Logo will share 10% of its weekly in-store revenue with five arts/cultural organizations including Young Audiences.

Purchases must be made in-store. The Factory Shop is located Buffalo at 141 Broadway and is open 10 am to 5:30 pm Monday through Friday and from 11 am to 3 pm on Saturdays. Click here to learn more about Choco-Logo.

*Pictured above: Young Audiences WNY Executive Director Cynnie Gaasch poses for a photo with Choco-Logo Owner and Chocolatier Dan Johnson at the November 11 wine and chocolate pairing event.

Categories: Latest News. Does All the Work!

Sit back and relax. Our website has been designed to make finding (and booking) the perfect program simple.  Much like our assembly performances, workshops, and residencies, our online search tools are customizable to fit your needs.

Webguide2Search Programs
If you have specific criteria when booking a program, utilizing the “Search Our Catalog” link in the left-side menu allows you to define your search results. This feature gives you the opportunity to identify programs by:

  • content
  • grade level
  • art form
  • curriculum topic
  • key words

Browse Programs
We realize that sometimes you want to explore your options first. With this in mind, we’ve streamlined our online resources to help you browse our catalog by:

  • Program Type: The web buttons across the top of the website (labeled Assembly Performances, Residencies, etc.) include detailed descriptions about the types of programs that we offer and also suggest popular curriculum topics, programs, and related links. Additionally, each of the images on the home page (health & fitness, literacy, etc.) are active links that you can click on for more information.
  • Teaching Artist: View an alphabetical listing of our talented roster of professional teaching artists by clicking “Our Artists” in the left-hand menu.

Create and Print a Wish List
Next to each of our program listings you will see an “add to wish list” option. You can access your wish list by clicking the “View Wish List” icon on the right side of any program or search page. Print your wish list to share it with others or to review later. 

Booking a Program
We know that you have a busy schedule, so we have created an online booking form for your convenience. Please utilize this link (located in the left-hand menu as “Schedule a Program”) to begin the booking process or simply request more information.

Need help? Call our office (716.881.0917) and we can walk you through a search over the phone. Our office hours are 9 am to 5 pm Monday through Friday.


Categories: Latest News.

Discount on Smudge Fundaes Programming

couponBook a February Smudge Fundaes performance by November 12th and receive 20% off.

The Smudge Fundaes have performed at concerts, fairs and festivals across Canada and the U.S. for over 12 years. Their assemblies about bullying, reading, writing, environment, health and safety have been seen and heard by thousands of students in hundreds of elementary schools in Canada and the United States. They are critically acclaimed, thought-provoking and interactive. The Smudge Fundaes have five CDs that have garnered six international awards.

Click here to browse Smudge Fundaes programs or call our office at 716.881.0917 to book a program!


Categories: Latest News.

Working as an Artist in a Correctional Facility

Several Young Audiences teaching artists and staff members participated in a professional development session this afternoon hosted by Dale Davis, Executive Director of the New York State Literary Center and Ed Ignarri, Director of Rehabilitation for the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office in Rochester, New York.  The two have been partnering for six years on the Arts, Literacy, and The Classroom Community partnership serving youth in the Monroe Correctional Facility.  Both serve on the steering committee for the New York State Arts in Correctional Education Network (NYSACEN). Davis discussed successful models for working with incarcerated youth and shared the compelling video linked below.

The ALCC from Melanie Hibbert on Vimeo.

NYSLC’s Arts, Literacy, and The Classroom Community, a Video by Melanie Hibbert


Categories: Latest News.

Moving Forward: Enhancing Education Through the Arts

MeadAs you may have heard, recent funding cuts in Western New York imposed by the New York State Council on the Arts (NYSCA) have significantly affected many of the the cultural organizations providing Arts Education programs. The funding cuts suggested by County Executive, Chris Collins, will also impact these programs. Young Audiences of Western New York is among the five arts education organizations to receive no funding for Arts Education from NYSCA. In Collins’ proposed budget, we would lose Erie County funding for this year.  

Nonetheless, we are confidently moving forward with a number of exciting new partnerships and continuing many rewarding relationships.  

Our major partnerships with Holland and Holley Elementary Schools have been most adversely affected by the loss of NYSCA funding. We had also planned to grow our partnership with Lovejoy Discovery School #43 in Buffalo with NYSCA support. Fortunately, due to the commitment of these three schools, we are going to be able to continue these partnerships at a smaller scale.  Both the schools and Young Audiences are securing grants from other sources and devoting fundraising activities toward these partnerships. We are pleased to continue providing quality creative learning opportunities – although somewhat scaled back – to the students of these schools.

We will continue to provide assembly performances, workshops, residencies, and professional development events throughout the eight counties of Western New York. If you are interested in booking a program or would like to learn more about Young Audiences, we encourage you to contact our office directly at 716.881.091 or by email at

Click here to scroll through our blog and learn more about Young Audiences’ wide variety of programs and partnershps

Picture above: Gerald Mead at Holland Elementary


Categories: Latest News.

“Ruined” Extended by Popular Demand

RuinedUjima Company’s production of Ruined, featuring Young Audiences teaching artist Annette Daniels-Taylor, has been extended through this weekend by popular demand. Written by Lynn Nottage and directed by Lorna C. Hill, Ruined was inspired by interviews conducted by Nottage in Africa with Congo refugees. Encore performances will take place this Friday and Saturday at 8 pm and this Sunday at 6 pm.

A rain forest bar and brothel in the brutally war-torn Congo is the setting for this extraordinary new play. The establishment’s shrewd matriarch, Mama Nadi (Daniels-Taylor), keeps peace between customers from both sides of the civil war, as government soliders and rebel forces alike choose from her inventory of women, many already “ruined” by rape and torture when they were pressed into prostitution.

“On Saturday Ujima had its 32nd anniversary party and the board of directors and original company members were so overwhelmed by the performance and production quality that they felt that more people needed to hear this story about the women in the Congo,” said Daniels-Taylor. “We as a company felt that if we could offer another weekend for the regional area of Western New York to come out and see the production, that it would be doing a community service.”

Daniels-Taylor is a playwrite, poet, actor, teacher, singer and costumer. In 2009, Daniels-Taylor won the Artie’s Emanuel Fried Award for New Play, A Little Bit of Paradise, which premiered at Road Less Traveled Productions in 2008. She serves as the lead teaching artist for Young Audiences new interactive residency Underground Railroad in Western New York, and presents a wide variety of other educational workshops and performances.

Tickets are $25 for general admission, $20 for seniors, and $15 for students. Call the TheaterLoft box-office at716.883.0380 for reservations and information. More information is available online at Ujima Company’s TheaterLoft is located at 545 Elmwood Avenue in Buffalo.