How do you make it to Carnegie Hall? Go to the Rochester Academy of Music & Arts!

How do you make it to Carnegie Hall? Go to the Rochester Academy of Music & Arts!

Photo provided by Brigid Harrigan 8/14/16


Photo provided by Brigid


Photo: Stephanie, Rochester Academy of Music and Arts fan

Yesterday when cycling on the canal path near Brighton Town Park, I wandered across a couple of hundred people playing music, badminton, volleyball and even throwing coconuts up in the air. The Rochester Academy of Music & Arts in Brighton was having its annual family picnic.


from Letting dogs and humans step to the music which they hear at the Dog Rock Concert for Nuts for Muts

You first met the Academy when Shadi reported on its Third Annual Dogs Rock Concert in Letting dogs and humans step to the music which they hear at the Dog Rock Concert for Nuts for Muts.


Brigid with student

Inside and outside the lodge, students from age four to adult performed at the event, while their friends and family enjoyed an array of classic picnic foods. Several hundred local residents were in attendance.

set up

Setting up the coconut toss. Photo provided by Brigid

As explained by Assistant Director Brigid Harrigan, not content to simply have a fun day in the park, the Academy also used the event as an outlet for creativity.

Documentarian filmmaker Sean Donnelly was present to film students for an upcoming music video. The video coincides with the release of “Big Coconut,” a song written by Academy owner Brannon Hungness. “Big Coconut,” a rousing anthem for positivity, is set to be released September 19th as a charity single to benefit Earthworks. During the filming, the kids — feeling like celebrities — excitedly tossed dried coconuts into the air.

bubble boys

These bubble blowing boys joined the fun from the nearby Islamic Center

And the exciting news is that “Big Coconut” will make its live debut September 24 when students and teachers perform it onstage at Carnegie Hall. 45 of the Academy’s 450 students will be making the trip to Manhattan to perform on the world-famous stage. All through practice, practice, practice at Rochester Academy of Music & Arts.

There is always something new at Brighton Town Park.


The difference between guys and girls in coed softball at Brighton Town Park

About The Author

Welcome to Talker of the Town! My name is David Kramer. I have a Ph.D in English and teach at Keuka College. I am a former and still active Fellow at the Nazareth College Center for Public History and a Storyteller in Residence at the SmallMatters Institute. Over the years, I have taught at Monroe Community College, the Rochester Institute of Technology and St. John Fisher College. I have published numerous Guest Essays, Letters, Book Reviews and Opinion pieces in The New York Times, Rochester Democrat and Chronicle, the Buffalo News, the Rochester Patriot, the Providence Journal, the Providence Business News, the Brown Alumni Magazine, the New London Day, the Boston Herald, the Messenger Post Newspapers, the Wedge, the Empty Closet, the CITY, Lake Affect Magazine and Brighton Connections. My poetry appears in The Criterion: An International Journal in English and Rundenalia and my academic writing in War, Literature and the Arts and Twentieth Century Literary Criticism. Starting in February 2013, I wrote for three Democratic and Chronicle  blogs, "Make City Schools Better," "Unite Rochester," and the "Editorial Board." When my tenure at the D & C  ended, I wanted to continue conversations first begun there. And start new ones.  So we created this new space, Talker of the Town, where all are invited to join. I don’t like to say these posts are “mine.” Very few of them are the sole product of my sometimes overheated imagination. Instead, I call them partnerships and collaborations. Or as they say in education, “peer group work.” Talker of the Town might better be Talkers of the Town. The blog won’t thrive without your leads, text, pictures, ideas, facebook shares, tweets, comments and criticisms.


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