2022 SILVER LAKE EXPERIENCE PRESENTER INFORMATION
SHARON MCGRADY RENFRO
“From papergirl in the 50’s, to College of Forestry in the 60’s, to researching Dutch Elm Disease at Cornell in the 70’s, to Montana in the 80’s where pulling lumber off a chain, skiing mountains, carousing with my Smokejumper buddies, bartending, and surveying forests occupied my time ‘til I met my husband and added roofer, insulator, painter, gopher and house designer to my resume, while experiencing scuba diving, hot air ballooning, and horse packing into the Bob Marshall Wilderness. Somewhere in there I experimented with quilting and it took. I still love and live in my Montana mountains, but I’ll always be that little girl from small town McGraw, New York.”
Barbara is a nationally known author and speaker. She teaches at the district, conference and national level on many aspects of aging well and living well. Barbara co-teaches “Celebrating Aging” at the Colgate Rochester Crozer Divinity School and has served two quadrennium as the North East Jurisdictional Representative to the Discipleship Ministry on the Committee of Aging and Older Adult Ministry. Barbara has a BS in Education, an MS in Creative Studies, and a Certificate in Gerontology.
Todd Shuskey has been a life science teacher at Perry High School for the past 21 years. He teaches Living Environment Biology, Aquatic Science, and several college-level courses through the GCC ACE Program. With a background in marine science, during Todd's time at Perry High School he has been involved with numerous research projects on Conesus Lake working with professors from SUNY Brockport and SUNY Geneseo. The basis of science is observing a phenomenon, then trying to make sense of it. This talk will include 2-3 of Mr. Shuskey’s students.
BONNIE AND FRANK BRIGHT
Both presenters are retired from the University at Buffalo. Bonnie was a former academic advisor in the College of Arts and Sciences, and Frank is an Emeritus SUNY Distinguished Professor of Chemistry. The pair have traveled together many times and gravitate toward adventures and trips which allow them to see the sights and explore more of the non-touristy areas.
Sharon grew up in the Perry area and remembers swimming in Silver Lake and attending Asbury (Camp) as a teenager. She is a 30 year resident of Silver Lake Institute. Sharon has had a lifelong interest in history and architecture. She recently retired from the Landmark Society of Western New York.
REVEREND MYRA BROWN
Rev. Myra Brown is the lead Pastor at Spiritus Christi Church of Rochester, NY, in ministry for 25 years. She holds a B.A. in Religion and social justice and a Masters in Theology from Colgate Rochester Crozer Divinity School. She is the third African American Roman Catholic Woman Priest in the U.S. Rev. Brown is an anti-racism educator and activist, working nationally and locally in Rochester. She is founder and organizer of a coalition of partners in Rochester called SPARC (Spiritus Christi Anti- Racism Coalition). Myra leads SPARC and is often very involved in local issues regarding structural racism.
At the end of the day, Rev. Brown is a woman who simply loves God and desires to follow God's leading in her life for the building up of the Body of Christ and service to humanity by her work in an inclusive and mission-driven church. Myra says, “There is nothing too hard for God if we just believe, trust and relinquish control to God.”
“I have had many years painting experience in both watercolor and oils, loving them both. I have taught watercolor classes at the Art Store in Rochester, the Village Hall and BF Bungalow in Wyoming, NY and my art studio in Perry, NY. I'm a member of the Niagara Frontier Watercolor Society and have participated in many of their shows and attended numerous workshops featuring nationally known artists. I have also shown at the Corn Hill and Clothesline Art Festivals in Rochester. I love everything about painting and find great satisfaction in introducing or reintroducing this to others!”
PERRY GARDEN CLUB
The Perry Garden Club was founded in 1950. The objectives of the club are to stimulate the love of gardening, encourage home and community beautification, promote better horticultural practices, and to encourage all forms of conservation. Their club flower is the Field Daisy (Chrysanthemum Leucanthemum). They currently have 43 active members and are always accepting new members. They are members of the National Garden Clubs Inc., The Federated Garden Clubs of NYS, Inc, and the Seventh District Federated Garden Clubs of NYS - Section I. A very active club, they participate in several spring plantings around the community and contribute a $500 scholarship to a graduating senior going into an environmental or agricultural field.
Mara has been painting in various mediums all her life and especially enjoys watercolors which she has begun to focus on more professionally in the last four
years. Along with watercolor painting, she also enjoys fiber arts, particularly knit and crochet. She enjoyed fiber art so much she opened Dancing Goat Yarn Shop in Warsaw in 2010 and closed after 5 years of operation so she could once again pursue a career in painting for the theater and entertainment industry. She worked as a Scenic Artist at The Fulton Opera House in Lancaster, PA for three years before freelancing at various theaters in Maine, New York, and other locations. She is currently the Charge Scenic Artist and Paint Dept. Lead for Atomic Design located in Lititz, Pennsylvania. She has painted scenery for The Academy Awards, The Tony Awards, The Grammy Awards, Wrestlemania, and more including various rock and roll tours.
John graduated from SUNY Fredonia with a BFA in Technical Theater Production and Design in 2004. After graduating he took a position with IATSE Local One at the Metropolitan Opera House in NYC. He started at the Met as a stage electrician and climbed his way up to the position of Lead Lighting Programmer, working with many of Broadway's prominent lighting designers over his 16 year career with them. After leaving NYC, he headed to Lititz, PA and found himself drawn to an even more exciting path in the world of live entertainment – pyrotechnics! He spent three years prior to the pandemic programming and shooting special effects, flames, and pyrotechnics for many large scale concerts, live events, and even a couple movies! Recently, John joined Atomic Design, managing the Modular Systems division, creating small to mid-sized scenic productions.
MIKE RANDALL'S 50TH ANNIVERSARY “MARK TWAIN LIVE! TOUR
In 2022 Mike Randall will celebrate his 50th year of performing MARK TWAIN LIVE! His first show was in May 1972 at Rosary Hill College (now Daemen College) in Buffalo, NY. Mike Randall began impersonating America's greatest author at the age of seventeen! Two years later he was winning rave reviews at "The Buffalo Showboat.” At age 20 he had given a command performance at the State Department in Washington, D.C., and one year later he brought his rendition of the "Celebrated Humorist" off-broadway to New York City's only dinner theater, "The Little Hippodrome.” Five decades and more than two thousand performances later, Mike Randall continues to enjoy his close encounter with Mark Twain. Mike Randall is the only Mark Twain impersonator to be formally acknowledged by the Daughters of The American Revolution for his authenticity! Mike Randall has brought "Mark Twain Live!" to dinner theaters, regional theaters, opera houses, schools, colleges, churches, private clubs, corporations, associations, museums, libraries, and historical societies around the country, delivering a "breathtaking performance of remarkable subtlety and depth.” "Mark Twain Live!" was endorsed by the Mark Twain Museum of Buffalo. Mike Randall was the official "Mark Twain" of The Annual Huck Finn Jubilee in Victorville, California for a decade and the Annual Mark Twain Birthday Bash & Symposium in Buffalo, NY. Mike Randall is a meteorologist and award-winning feature reporter and has been with WKBW-TV since August 1983. He was inducted into the Buffalo Broadcasting Hall of Fame in September 2017.
Jacqueline Swaby (Jackie) is the Executive Director and gallery curator of the Arts Council for Wyoming County (ACWC) located in Perry, NY. She has served in this capacity since 2008 and, for almost 20 years prior, was the director of the Cordelia A. Greene Library located in Castile, NY. Originally from Kingston, Jamaica, she was trained as an art and social studies high school teacher. During her time at the Westwood all-girls high school, she formed the first folk music group which won several competitions at the regional and national levels on the Island. Jackie now administers the only art services organization in Wyoming county, which includes two professional art galleries and 12 satellite galleries around the county. She also coordinates the music and dance programs presented by the ACWC, and administers the youth scholarship programs.
In her role as an arts administrator, Jackie believes it is critical to foster and help create opportunities that promote cultural diversity. She has been supporting that work in rural Western New York since she moved to the area in 1988 and has participated in or presented art exhibitions, classical and multicultural concerts for all ages. She has also conducted drum circles and workshops for multi-aged groups and introduced liturgical dance and drumming in a few traditional church settings. She views her contributions as essential to fostering the understanding of ethnic and cultural diversity.
Jackie has been the recipient of several awards including: The L. Marion Moshier/Asa Wynkoo Award for Distinguished Librarianship, New York Library Association;
Outstanding Adult Career Service to Youth, Wyoming County Youth Board; first
recipient of the Pioneer Award for dedicated service to the Cordelia A. Greene Library and the Pioneer Library System. Jackie has conducted several panel discussions and served as a grants panelist for the New York State Council on the Arts.
Linda Franke is an educator and quality improvement specialist, but her passion is preserving the stories and crafts of our families for future generations. She graduated from Roberts Wesleyan College with a Bachelor's degree in education, a teaching major in Psychology and a minor in Religion and Philosophy. She has taught early childhood students on up to high school, worked summers teaching basic reading and math skills to prisoners, spent some time working as a teacher of the deaf, wrote curriculum for public schools and for Letchworth State Park education programs, and then fell into practice facilitation and medical qualitative research. She currently works as an adjunct professor at Millard Fillmore College at University at Buffalo and as a practice facilitator through Accountable Health Partners. She also feeds her passion as an instructor through the Arts Council for Wyoming County and around Western New York, speaking and teaching classes in different fiber arts including shuttle tatting, needle tatting, hairpin lace, Irish crocheted lace, and more. Linda lives with her family in Wyoming County.
TINA TURNER, CHUCK DUSEL, GLYNNE SCHULTZ
Tina, Chuck and Glynne are all seasonal residents of the Silver Lake Institute. Chuck has been coming to his original cottage since he was a baby and has many stories of times past. Tina and Glynne are neighbors at the institute and have forged a wonderful friendship over the years. Together, they will take you on a tour of the historic boathouses and lakefront gardens of the Silver Lake Institute.
Born in Castile, New York, Laurinda was a lifelong resident of Wyoming County until 2003 when she and her husband, David moved to the high desert of Arizona.
She earned a paralegal certificate from Southern Career Institute in 1991 and is a 2001 graduate of Houghton College, NY with a BS in Management. Much of her career was spent as a paralegal at a Warsaw, NY law firm and in administration at Houghton College. Laurinda served the community as a trustee for the C.A. Greene Library in Castile for over a decade. Most of her tenure was spent as the Secretary/Treasurer. She was active in the Project Read program and fundraising activities for the library.
Laurinda retired from the Palominas School District in 2015, which allows her to write full-time and pursue research on the fascinating history of Wyoming County. She loves spending time with her two daughters and five grandsons, hiking the Huachuca Mountains with her husband, and gardening.
She is the author of the Gracie Andersen mystery series which is set in Wyoming County, along with several other titles including, an account of the 1886 sensational murder of a Castile, NY man. She is the co-author of the memoir, Too Close to Home: The Samantha Zalidavar Case, as well. Laurinda is the recipient of multiple Poets and Writers grants and Washed Up, the fourth Gracie Andersen mystery, was a semifinalist in the 2016 Kindle Book awards in the mystery category.
Laurinda is a member of Sisters in Crime, a national organization for women mystery writers, and the Tucson, Arizona chapter of Sisters in Crime. She currently writes a historical blog, Along the Genesee which focuses on the people and events connected to the Genesee Valley region and is a contributor to the Historical Wyoming magazine.
REBECCA GILBERT AND FRIENDS
Rochester and Buffalo musical luminaries Rebecca Gilbert (flute), Nick Weiser (piano), Michael Griffin (bass) and John Bacon(drums) guarantee an evening of music that will make your heart sing, swing and dance! The program includes “Three Lakes for Flute and Piano” by Daniel Dorff, “Suite for Flute and Jazz Trio” by Claude Bolling, “Sonata Latino for Flute and Jazz Trio'' by Mick Mower, and more. The group’s lighthearted and joyful music will make your summer night one to remember.
Lisa and her husband have been cottage owners here at Silver Lake Institute for the past 15 years, feeling blessed to live here at the Institute all summer long. Lisa is very passionate about community supported events and even more grateful that her husband of 35 years just smiles and nods his head as she runs out the door again to tend to another “crazy idea'' she had in her head to be facilitated in their Silver Lake Community or back at home in Pavilion, NY. Silver Lake is a magical place, and Lisa is excited to share her love for fairies and angels with all of those who sign up for The Experience.
Hans is a graduate of the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences at Cornell where he majored in banking and enjoyed courses in agriculture and horticulture. He has been a farm and commercial loan officer for the last 35 years and has been with Steuben Trust Company in Warsaw over the last 12 years. His lifelong hobbies include farming, birding, and gardening among several other things. He and his wife Leslie have 3 children all in college who also thoroughly enjoy the outdoors. Hans and Leslie operate a bird feeding shop and retail greenhouse at their home and enjoy doing plenty of their own birding and gardening. They are active in the Wyoming County Master Gardener program and do some landscaping on the side. They enjoy sharing their love of nature and gardening with numerous other groups. Hans has been a nature columnist for several local newspapers over the last 30 years and enjoys leading bird, nature, and garden walks.
REVEREND TOM KRAFT
Tom Kraft has been a United Methodist Pastor for 37 years. During that time, he has wrestled with the struggles over hard questions and difficult relationships with hundreds of people in sermons, Bible studies and counseling. One of the hardest struggles is helping people understand when forgiveness is appropriately offered, and when it isn’t, and how to heal from brokenness caused by others. Tom and his wife, Reverend Jackie Ann Rose Kraft, have owned a cottage at Silver Lake for 36 years which is now their residence.
DR. PATRICK MCGRADY
Patrick J. McGrady is the Charles V. Hallman Senior Curator at Penn State’s Palmer Museum of Art. He is responsible for the museum’s European collections and specializes in works on paper with a particular concentration on European and American prints. He has organized more than eighty exhibitions, ranging in content from 15th-century woodcuts to 21st-century paintings and including monographic presentations of artists such as Edouard Manet, Honoré Daumier, Lyonel Feininger, George Gershwin, Will Barnet, and Betye Saar. McGrady oversees the Palmer Museum’s print study room and directs its Print and Drawing Study Club. He currently is working on a digital prolegomena to Wassily Kandinsky’s 1911 book Concerning the Spiritual in Art.
Inspired by old family quilts and needlework, Karen has had a lifelong passion for quilt making. She has specialized in learning and teaching hand applique, hand quilting, pattern design and development, as well as quilt construction techniques which are evident in her own award-winning quilts.
As a military spouse, she has been a part of many different quilt guilds, acting as president, organizing quilt shows, raffles and charity projects. Karen and her husband Neal currently live on their farm in Genesee Falls where they keep her horses, tend a large organic garden and produce around a thousand bales of hay annually.
“In 1981 I was introduced to the potter's wheel by chance in high school. Pottery wasn't part of the art curriculum, but the art teacher was throwing [pots] in her off time. I happened to walk into the art room and was fascinated by the process. The following day I asked if I could give it a try. I was instantly hooked and spent every minute I could throwing on the wheel. By the time I graduated, I found myself teaching the class as our new art teacher knew nothing about pottery.
After high school, I married my high school sweetheart and we started our family. Together we raised four beautiful, talented girls. Also after high school, my dad and I put our heads together and came up with plans for a wheel. He was a talented welder and was able to build it for me. I used that wheel for the next twenty years before buying a commercially made one.
I have always worked full-time (pottery was just a hobby), first, for fifteen years, as an outside sales rep selling auto parts. I specialized in agricultural and heavy-duty truck parts. My second job lasted twenty years. I started off as a bus driver for a non profit organization serving the mentally and physically challenged population in our area. I became the transportation manager for several years, but stepped back to bus driving as I found that job to be much more rewarding. The busing ended when COVID hit and I lost my job. I looked at this as an opportunity to go after my dream of becoming a potter full-time. Although I have had offers to instruct, at this point I have decided to put my work in galleries and juried art shows. I also really enjoy setting up at local farm markets on occasion.”
From "Plant Lady to the Stars" in NYC, to Genesee Country Village & Museum where she began the Garden Interpretation program, to Longwood Gardens in PA, Emily Conable returned to NYS to take over as Head Gardener at Genesee Country Village in Mumford NY. A freelance speaker, cutflower grower and designer, Emily still gardens at Genesee Country Village, grows cuts at Linwood Gardens in Pavilion NY and here at Silver Lake.
DENNIS WIMER, PH.D.
Dennis is a retired secondary teacher in language arts, Latin, Greek, and the humanities in Henrico County Public Schools, Richmond, VA. He has continued his love of educating others by being an adjunct professor in the following schools and disciplines:
The School of Education at Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond, VA
In the classics department at University of Richmond, Richmond, VA
In the humanities discipline at HACC, Central Pennsylvania Community College, Lancaster and Lebanon, PA
Adjunct Humanities Professor; HACC, Central Pennsylvania Community College,
Lancaster and Lebanon Campuses
Bob grew up in the Silver Lake Institute so he has a very long history of stories of this
historic area. He is considered the SLI Historian and takes great pride in both his
personal photo collection and overseeing the Institute’s vast black and white photo
collection. If anyone has a question about the history of the Silver Lake Institute, Bob
will probably have the answer or know how to find the answer.
GENESEE VALLEY MOUNTAIN DULCIMER CLUB
Sue Hengelsberg (leader), JoAnne Brocklehurst, Sue Long, Carolyn Pollock, Judy Bushbell, Diane Johnson, Beth Wester
The Genesee Valley Mountain Dulcimer Club (GVMDC) was formed as a result of an instructional workshop in 2006, sponsored by the Nunda Historical Society (NHS), and later supported by a Community Arts Grant obtained by the NHS through Genesee Valley Council on the Arts. Over the years there have been about 50 members, gathering twice a month to learn new tunes and techniques on the mountain dulcimer (MD). Our selections are mostly folk tunes, since the MD is a folk instrument originating in the Appalachian Mountains. Sometimes the group plays concerts for churches, senior homes, schools, historical events, etc. During the pandemic, some members met on Zoom, which kept us meeting together, but we couldn’t play together and hear each other due to sound lag. We resumed in-person meetings this past spring. All are welcome to the meetings at the NHS, 24 Portage St., Nunda, NY 14517, on the 2nd and 4th Mondays.
Renee-Noelle Felice has been portraying historical figures, including Lucretia Mott, "Mother of the Women's Rights Movement," for over twenty years, appearing at the Women’s Rights Historical Park at Seneca Falls, and in libraries, schools, churches, and a variety of other venues. Ms. Felice brings the stories of Nineteenth-and Twentieth-Century women to life in the interest of connecting Twenty-First-Century audiences with those who paved the way to the opportunities we now enjoy.
HOLLY CATHERINE RANKE
“God richly blessed me with an artful life. It began as a little girl when my grandma placed a needle and thread in my hand. I remember sheer happiness sewing with her, and nearly 60 years later that feeling returns whenever I stitch. Although I love creating in all media, it’s the needle arts that have captured my heart. While my career in fashion and home decoration filled a craving to create, I’m now embracing the unhurried nature of my “golden years,” surrounded by woods at my cabin studio. With a project in my lap, bare feet in the grass, and birdsongs in the air, I feel a primeval connection and lose all concept of time…that “peace that passes all understanding,” as the Bible so eloquently describes in Philippians 4:7. As an advocate for sustainable lifestyle and maker of “slo fashion” and accessories, I enjoy using vintage and reclaimed textiles, found objects, and natural fabric dyeing methods – techniques more mindful of kindness towards Mother Earth.
This summer my little granddaughters are designing their first dresses and will help Grandma in making them. Life has come full circle and I’m so thankful to my grandma for teaching me a simple skill that I have carried throughout my life. I am looking forward to teaching you at the Silver Lake Experience a simple skill that you may use to create something that suits your own personal style.”
Sean Sporleder has recently joined the ranks of the faculty at Perry High School as a technology teacher, taking the reins from his predecessor and former teacher Mark Mancari. Sean enjoys incorporating both new and traditional technologies and providing them to students in order to solve problems and show them real world applications. He has a vast knowledge in anything mechanical or technology related and loves to share it with others.
NATHAN M. RICHARDSON
Nathan M. Richardson is a published author, performance poet and Frederick Douglass Historian. His poetry collections include "Likeness of Being,” “Twenty- one Imaginary T-shirts" and “The 7 Last Poems of an Unarmed Citizen.” His work has been widely re-published in anthologies, magazines and newspapers such as The Channel Marker, The Cupola, Coastal Virginia Magazine and The Washington Post. He is now in the 7th year of The Frederick Douglass Speaking Tour, a living history performance in which he captures completely the physical and spiritual essence of the former slave, writer, orator and abolitionist Frederick Douglass. This living history series has produced film credits with the National Park Service, Alabama Public Television and RTE - Irish Public Service Television. You can find more about Nathan Richardson and his work at www.scpublishing.com
After working many years in the south, Barbara, as a 40 year Emergency Room Nurse and her husband Jim as a Pharmaceutical Rep, returned to WNY for their retirement years. As snowbirds, they now split their time between Warsaw, NY and Estero, FL. They have 3 children and 2 grandchildren, all who live out of state so travel to visit is ongoing.
They purchased their main residence, The Elms, in December, 2013 in Warsaw, NY. They have spent their time restoring their historic home to the original period. The house was built in 1884 and was part of the Post Civil War Underground Railroad Movement.
In addition to belonging to the Silver Lake Experience Committee, Barbara is a Master Gardener in Wyoming County and belongs to The Historical Society in Warsaw, NY. She loves to quilt and often teaches quilting to different groups in the area. Both Barbara and her husband are avid sailors and own a 36 foot sailboat on Seneca Lake where they love to spend their summer months.
Marcia Sully, a resident of Eden, NY, is a true lover and expert of all things “hosta.” She is currently President of the Great Lakes Region of the American Hosta Society and Recording Secretary of the National American Hosta Society. Her home landscape, The Hidden Gardens of Eden, is a hosta lover’s dream with an amazing variety of hostas. Marcia has been instrumental in the development and implementation of the “Hosta College,” which offers large and small classes, sales, auctions, and activities. Come listen and learn about her true passion: Hostas.
Chet Fery is the founder of Bread Time Stories and More. Often called “The Bread Man,” he began his hobby of baking and giving away bread over 15 years ago. He promotes doing random acts of kindness. He believes the world can be changed one loaf of bread at a time, one act of kindness at a time. Chet estimates he has given away over 100,000 loaves of bread, created over 50 recipes and generated over 100 inspirational “Bread Time Stories” which he shares with audiences across the region. A former teacher, counselor and school administrator, Chet now devotes most of his time to this effort.
RPO MARIMBA BAND
Described as “one of the Rochester area’s unique and notable treasures” (SUNY Brockport The Stylus), the RPO Marimba Band was established in 1979, is comprised of members of the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra's current Percussion Section, and continues a three-quarter-century of tradition that was established in the 1950's by the Eastman School of Music's “Marimba Masters”. Specializing in music written and arranged for melodic percussion instruments, the RPO Marimba Band performs their own arrangements of Latin, Pop, and Jazz tunes, and utilize a wide array of percussion instruments such as Marimbas, Vibraphone, Glockenspiel, Steel Drum, and Drum Set. Since their formation they have performed in venues throughout Western New York including the Eastman Theatre, WROC-TV, WXXI-FM, Rochester City Hall, Monroe County Office Building, RIT’s Ingle Auditorium, SUNY Brockport, Ontario Beach Park, Perinton Amphitheatre, Camp Good Days & Special Times, Honeoye Lake Gazebo, RPO Concerts in the Park series, and many other outdoor festivals.
RABBI ADAM SCHELDT
Rabbi Adam Scheldt, originally born and raised on a family farm in central Illinois, has ever been a curious seeker and lifelong learner. He holds a Bachelor’s degree from Knox College and two Master’s degrees from the Hebrew Union College where he was also ordained. Rabbi Scheldt has lived on three continents before finally settling in Buffalo, NY where he is the Director of Spiritual Care at Hospice and Palliative Care Buffalo. In his spare time, Rabbi Scheldt is an avid reader, writer, a master gardener and trains as a figure skater.
Magelene Moore-Holley is a native of Kingstree, SC. She is the 13th of 15 children born to Emma and Amos Moore. She received a Bachelor of Arts in Cultural Studies from Empire State College in 2004 and a Master of Divinity from Northeastern Seminary in 2008. She is a member of AKOMA, the African-American Women’s Gospel Choir and AKWAABA, the Heritage Associates, whose members attempt to bring to life the accomplishments and struggles of the women and men on whose shoulders we now stand.
Magelene completed a one-year contract with AmeriCorps of Rochester where she worked within the City school system with the expectation of discovering ways in which she could contribute to the growth and strength of our youth. She also has a passion for the liberation of girls and women from systemic global discrimination both in the community at large and in the church.
She is a wife and mother of two adult children. She enjoys reading, teaching, acting, and singing. Magelene is a member of Memorial AME Zion Church in the city of Rochester.
In 1966, at the age of 12, Valerie O’Hara began working for her parents part-time after school and during the summers. After graduation from Rochester Institute of Technology in 1976, she began working full time, designing and creating one of a kind, custom commissions, as well as repairing and restoring stained glass windows. Valerie has been the owner, director and designer since 1987, when she purchased the studio from her parents. Selected commissions that the studio has completed over the past 109 years can be found on the company website: www.pikestainedglassstudios.com
Ting Bellamy is a Hong Kong-born paper artist currently based in Perry, NY. She specializes in creating hand-cut paper art, using a swivel knife as a pen to create intricate patterns and forms that are inspired by the beauty in nature. She also enjoys making various paper crafts, including origami, paper earrings, and paper shadow boxes. After graduating from Houghton College in 2019 with degrees in Art and Business, she worked as the administrative assistant at the Arts Council of Wyoming County while practicing and creating art. She participated at the Letchworth Arts and Craft Ahow, exhibited work at local exhibitions and offered classes on origami art to the local community. At present she is the customer service manager at the Silverlaken Estate & Glampground.
Rosemary Shader is the Executive Director for Community Action for Wyoming County, the primary Safety Net organization in the region fighting the causes of poverty. Community Action for Wyoming County programs serve over 9,000 individuals each year. Rosemary is an active member of the New York State Community Action Association, National Community Action Partnership, and NYS Rural Housing Coalition. Through the years Rosemary has also served with a number of other community-based support organizations such as board member and marketing committee chair for GLOW Workforce Development, Wyoming County United Way loaned executive, Peers Helping Peers board member and New York State Center for Agricultural Medicine and Health. Shader holds an Associates in Communication from Genesee Community College and BS in Communication from SUNY Brockport.
About Community Action:
Community Action for Wyoming County is a 501c3 not-for-profit organization fighting the causes of poverty and helping individuals and families to be self-sufficient. The agency provides a variety of services and advocacy for lower income and struggling residents in the county. Programs and services include Adult and Youth Employment and Training, Affordable and Homeless Housing, Rental Assistance, and Community Action Angels volunteer programs providing food, clothing and shelter, medical needs, home goods, family & childhood development and emergency mobilization. For more information visit www.wccainc.org or call 585-237-2600.
Eric is a native of the region, and for the last six years has had the honor and privilege of being the Director of Tourism & Marketing for Wyoming County. His fascination with lanterns – as with many stories – starts with COVID, an over-abundance of free time, and Eric in his dining room wielding a blowtorch. What began as a couple lanterns on the supper table, has morphed into a full-fledged lantern laboratory with 60 foot electric nodes, wise-cracking Transylvanian sidekicks and the inspiration to bring 100-year-old pieces of hand-crafted art back to life. As they say in the lab: We refurbish rusty junk and set it on fire.
Maggie Barnes is an award-winning writer who has appeared more than 50 times in Mountain Home Magazine based in Wellsboro, Pennsylvania. A collection of her essays was published in 2019 under the title of “The Glory Hill Diaries.”
Maggie writes about the challenges of relocating to the Southern Tier, buying an old house and learning her new community. The stories are relatable to anyone who has started over. And they are funny! Readers comment that her style is like that “of a friend telling you a good story. You laugh with her, cry with her and cheer her on!”
She has won five Keystone Press Awards, a statewide honor in Pennsylvania, and four awards from the International Regional Magazine Association, which includes publications in the United States and Canada.
A native of Buffalo, Maggie holds a degree in Communications and has worked her entire career in the field of healthcare.
Writing is Maggie’s passion, while she works in healthcare marketing and explores the Finger Lakes with her husband, Robert.
JON AND ALENA WINTERS
Jon and Alena are Certified Integrative Nutrition Health Coaches, Yoga teachers and Fitness Professionals. Their passion for helping people feel their best focuses not only on food, but on physical activity, healthy relationships, spirituality, and Mindfulness. This approach to wellness allows people to create balance and live a healthier and happier life!
Lisa Seewaldt, a Buffalo native, is the owner of Warsaw's popular Artisan Villa. Within the Artisan Villa, Lisa and her husband Dan operate Ash-Lin's Elegant Rose Florist & Tuxedo Shop and Carriage Rides with Dan.
DR. TOM SELLAR
Tom Sellar, a writer, dramaturg, and curator, is Editor of Yale University’s international journal Theater and Professor in the Practice of Dramaturgy and Dramatic Criticism at Yale University (David Geffen School of Drama at Yale). His reporting and criticism have appeared in publications including Artforum, BOMB, The Guardian, and the New York Times. He formerly served as chief theater critic and Obie award judge for The Village Voice, covering theater and performance art in New York City and nationally. As a curator, he has created programs for festivals and organizations, including the Prelude Festival, American Realness, and the Institute for Arts and Civic Dialogue. A resident of Brooklyn and Annandale-on-Hudson, NY, he received his Master of Fine Arts and Doctor of Fine Arts from Yale University.
For 30 years John realized his childhood dream of working as a TV sports anchor. John anchored sports in Rochester from 1989 to 2016–extensively covering the Buffalo Bills. Additionally, John provided “corporate coverage” to dozens of stations across America, covering 19 Super Bowl’s, among countless other events. Discovering a new passion, John left sports in 2016 to pursue a digital career—all the while remaining at WROC-TV in Rochester in a part-time role, anchoring the daily 4pm broadcast there. John has grown his digital presence with a number of viral sensations via his Facebook Live broadcasts. His John Kucko Digital Facebook page grew from nothing in 2016 to over 230,000 followers today. John resides in Penfield, NY with his lovely wife Charla. They have two daughters—Natalie, a TV reporter in Rochester and Caroline, a student at Duquesne University who interns with the Pittsburgh Steelers there.
Lauren Hurlburt has been a Perry resident as well as a French teacher at Letchworth Central School for 35 years. During this time she has organized and guided many trips to France for both students and adults, Lauren's itineraries take her travelers from the beaches of Normandy to the quiet passages of Paris, encouraging a local, more personal perspective.
PAUL GUSMANN AND KEN WALLACE
Paul has been a member of Wyoming County Bicentennial Singers (WCBS) and other theater companies in Western New York. He is an avid fan of horror movies and created several murder mysteries for WCBS Dinner Theater. He researched and created the characterization of William Pryor Letchworth, which he has presented many times at Letchworth State Park and other locations. He is also an artist and set designer for many productions.
Ken Wallace is a lifetime resident from Castile, New York. He is now retired; after working 39 years as a Water Treatment Plant Operator for the Village of Warsaw, NY, he spends much of his time now exploring and reading about Letchworth State Park. He is also known for the Art of Flintknapping. This is a process that was used by Native Americans and all early cultures of the world. Flintknapping is performed by using natural materials such as stone, bone and leather to create arrowheads, knife blades, and other stone tools out of flint/chert. He began learning this skill in 1985 and is the founder of the Stonetool Craftsman show held each summer in Letchworth State Park. There is a wonderful display and video in the museum in the Park that shows how he creates stone tools. Ken began visiting Letchworth State Park in the late 1950’s with his parents and has a family connection to Mr. Letchworth as his Grandfather Charles Wallace lived behind the Trout Pond as a young man and worked for Mr. Letchworth at his Glen Iris Estate and his dairy farm. He has studied the history of the Park his whole life and loves to share this knowledge with others willing to listen.
Sue earned her B.A. in French from St. Lawrence University and her M.A. in French Language and Literature from Ohio University. She taught middle school and high school French for 35 years, retiring from the Williamsville Central School District. She organized yearly educational travel for her students to France and Quebec. Sue bought her Victorian cottage in the Silver Lake Institute in 2013. She has two sons and three granddaughters who also love coming to beautiful Silver Lake. Sue enjoys quilting, sewing, knitting, reading, playing the bells in the Carillon Choir at church, and–of course–spending time with her grandchildren.
Don Thomas is a composer, musician, producer, and engineer. He plays his music in the same manner as he greets his listeners with a kind smile and a soft spoken demeanor. His playing is gentle, clean and exquisitely mesmerizing. The purity of his writing is sure to come straight from the heart of a musician’s soul.
After receiving degrees in landscape architecture and architecture from Cornell and UVA, Rick taught architecture for twelve years at Hobart & William Smith Colleges in Geneva. He has since spoken nationally, most recently at the University of Virginia, University of Massachusetts and in New Hampshire on the subjects of Downtown Revitalization, Community Entrepreneurism, and on his ‘Frontier Architect’ practice methodology.
Over the 20+ years since co-founding In. Site: Architecture, Rick has built it into a 10-person “Design and Downtowns” firm. The Downtowns Studio especially has received national attention and Rick plays a direct role working with municipalities across New York State to create revitalization strategies, advocacy coalitions along with the condition assessments, design tools, feasibility studies, visuals, cash flow analyses and guidelines to develop, support and grow each neighborhood’s vision and execution.
In 2007, Rick developed an anti-blight tool called “Main Street, LLC” – a model for a community-wide development group that urges people to “put their money where their house is.” This concept has been proven in Rick’s home community of Perry, which has completed over 40,000 sf of transformative renovations including for mixed-use downtown buildings, single-family houses, and even a brewery. Rick has since helped communities throughout the Northeast to evaluate their downtown’s potential and help see it through.
He has co-founded sister businesses to buy and rehab buildings in his home community of Perry, NY. There he has helped launch regional events including a Farmers’ Market and a Chalk Art Festival, and the community advocacy group known as Perry Main Street Association. His 9+ years as mayor has deepened his understanding of state and municipal regulations, tools, funding sources and strategies to support a vibrant, resilient revitalization.
Claudia Hoyser is an American country music singer, songwriter and social influencer. She has recently supported Miranda Lambert, Blake Shelton, Brantley Gilbert, Ryan Bingham, Chris Young, Brad Paisley, Jessie James Decker, and Mitchell Tenpenny. 2022 is bringing on shows with Willie Nelson, ZZ Top, Zach Bryan, Chase Rice and Justin Moore.
Claudia built a loyal following on social media with her Hoyser Country Monday video series garnering over 120 million views on Facebook alone! Hoyser's team is celebrating four consecutive chart singles and a recent debut album release, "Red Light's Turning Green." Not to mention, her growing Hoyser Country coffee and whiskey line that has hit shelves in over 400 retail outlets!
You can "get social" with Claudia by going to her website: www.claudiahoyser.com