Ben Proctor is a musical pilgrim living in Rochester, New York. He works as a performer, teacher of guitar and rock history for Fairport Central School District, instructor and ensemble director at the Kanack School of Music, and private teacher of guitar, voice, banjo, dobro, and mandolin. His current project is acclaimed bluegrass/Americana band The Crooked North. He has many annoying habits, like constantly playing instruments and singing children's melodies in odd meters. Ben likes to write songs and believes that teaching music is a high art.

Mr. Proctor graduated from the Eastman School of Music in 2009, receiving a Master's degree in Music Education and New York State teacher certification in music. He completed his Bachelor's degree in Ethnomusicology at SUNY Geneseo in 2005 with highest honors. As an idependent musician, Ben has performed in concert halls such as the Tribeca Performing Arts Center and Kilbourne Hall, international bluegrass and jazz festivals, and legendary rock venues such as CBGBs. As an educator, he has published teaching tools, given seminars, and been a guest teaching artist. He dreams of one day having a really cool nickname and a family band with everyone in corny matching outfits. The family band is underway, although the two youngest children are still not strong enough to support the weight of most bluegrass instruments. But that does not prevent them from trying.

Ben grew up in a Connecticut swamp where he dreamt of becoming a famous jazz musician. He played with jazz, blues, gospel, rock, and klezmer groups for a few years in Connecticut (including the Afro-Semitic Experience) before moving to New York City, where he postponed finishing college for the third time. With a lot of time on his hands and needing to support his annoying habits, he built websites, acted in off-Broadway theater, and performed with country, blues, and rock and roll bands. After years of musical soul-searching, he found his passion singing and playing American traditional music. He brought this passion to Western New York to finish college and begin his career as a musician, music teacher, and advocate for participation in social music traditions. His long-term goal is to inspire everyone to learn a musical instrument that they can play in kitchens and on porches with their friends and families.

Group photo.jpg


BIODANCE is a contemporary repertory company based in Rochester, NY, directed by Missy Pfohl Smith, who also directs the Institute for the Performing Arts and the Program of Dance and Movement at University of Rochester. The work of BIODANCE has toured internationally and has been called “Gorgeous…astonishing…exceptional” and “a brilliantly crafted world of beauty, melody and calmness.” The company collaborates with multi-disciplinary artists and performs the work of recognized choreographers including Smith, Heidi Latsky, Bill Evans, Randy James, Ivy Baldwin, D. Chase Angier and more. Exploring social, political and environmental issues through its works, BIODANCE has created various site-specific works including two shows, crafted for a 4 story planetarium in collaboration with a media artist, dancers, musicians, vocalists and a visual artist. BIODANCE interacts with its community members in a variety of ways through performances, benefit concerts, limited mobility dance classes for senior citizens, interactive lecture-demonstrations and more! The company is dedicated to dance education and sharing the many facets of contemporary dance and collaborative arts with a wide audience through traditional and alternative performance venues.



Emily Pinkerton's driving force as a songwriter and ethnomusicologist is to explore the musical and social ties that bind the Americas. For two decades, she has traveled between the U.S. and Chile, playing fiddle, banjo, guitar, charango and guitarrón.

In her solo work, Pinkerton writes songs that blend Appalachian and Andean traditions. She draws on studies with legendary musicians Alfonso Rubio, Chosto Ulloa, Patricia Chavarria and others, including extensive fieldwork with rural poet-singers of central Chile. Performance highlights include concerst at Sala América in Santiago, Chile, the Panama Jazz Festival and collaboration with Venezuelan violinist Eddy Marcano.

In 2012, Emily founded old-time trio, The Early Mays, who are known for watertight vocal harmonies and stirring arrangements. The Mays performed on NPR's Mountain Stage last year, in addition to reaching the top of the National Folk-DJ Charts with their latest release "Chase the Sun." In 2016 they wond the Neo-Traditional Band Competition at The Appalachian String Band Music Festival in Clifftop, West Virginia, not far from the home county of the Hammons Family, whoe music was the first inspiration for Emily's latest solo project, Rounder Songs, released in November on New Amsterdam Records.

Rounder Songs is a song cycle for voice, clawhammer banjo and chamber ensemble that brings together 21st century post-minimalist classical music and North American old-time. The work is inspired by field recordings and folk tales from Kentucky and West Virginia that tell the stories of several "rounders": rural drifters including a gambler, a murderer, and a mill laborer who strikes a deal with the devil. Rounder Songs was conceived and created by Emily and composer Patrick Burke to focus on the common ground between their musical worlds--hypnotic, pulsing rhythms, subtle melody variation over time, and perhaps most of all, the vivid evocation of certain moods. The work features old-time and classical genres on a level playing field, rather that subsuming one within the other.


Filippo Tagliati

Filippo Tagliati was born in Bologna, Italy. After earning his BA in Humanities from Universita’ di Bologna in 2001 with a concentration in Semiotics and Art History, in 2004 he moved to the USA and in 2007 he received his MFA in Photography from Arizona State University. Currently Tagliati lives and works in Grand Rapids, Michigan, USA where he is an Associate Professor in the Visual Arts Department at the Grand Rapids Community College.

Tagliati’s projects are situated at the intersection of photography, video and site-specific installation. He is interested in making connections between history, public space, the urban landscape and seeks to create different distinct perceptions and understandings of them. The use of different media and technologies allows him to both create work unique to the space in which the art is being presented and challenge the relationships between these media.

Tagliati photographic and video projects have been exhibited and screened widely in the US and internationally and his work is included in the Musee Rodin, Paris, France, in several private collections, in the Public Art Collection of the City of Tempe, and both the Northlight Gallery and The Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts, at Arizona State University.


George Eastman Museum

The George Eastman Museum is located in Rochester, New York, on the estate of George Eastman, the pioneer of popular photography and motion picture film. Founded in 1947 as an independent nonprofit institution, it is the world’s oldest photography museum and one of the oldest film archives. The museum holds unparalleled collections—encompassing several million objects—in the fields of photography, cinema, and photographic and cinematographic technology, and photographically illustrated books. The institution is also a longtime leader in film preservation and photographic conservation.

I am an artist, writer, and projections designer based in Brooklyn, NY and Rochester, NY.

Artistically, I most often work in the mediums of video and drawing, the former in a post-conceptual narrative fashion, and the latter as a way of isolating objects in order to expose their socio-politcal meanings. Themes such as consciousness, science, religion, love, and the virtual run through my work; most recently, my work focuses on modernist idealism, the nuclear family, and the intersection of democracy and global capitalism. In my projection design for live theater and music, I eschew the use of video as scenery and strive to make it part of the dramaturgy. My work has been exhibited internationally.

In 2009, I was awarded a fellowship from the School of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute to pursue a Ph.D. in Electronic Art, which I completed in 2013. I also have an MFA in Film/Video from Bard College, and a BA in Film Studies and Cultural Studies from the University of Minnesota—Twin Cities. My research interests have included narrative video art, narrativity in storytelling and representation, the intersection of documentary and fiction practices, and the empirical subject. I am an Assistant Professor of Fine Art in the School of Photographic Arts and Sciences at Rochester Institute of Technology, where I teach concepts, theories, and practices of video, photography, and related media.



Katie received her Master’s degree in Classical String Performance from the Irish World Music Centre, University of Limerick, Ireland; and her Bachelor of Music degree in Performance from Ithaca College.

In 2004, Katie graduated from the the Alexander Alliance School in Philadelphia (now the Philadelphia School for Alexander Technique), a three-year intensive training program with Bruce Fertman and Martha Hansen Fertman. In November 2013, Katie completed the training requirements to become a member of AmSAT (American Society for the Alexander Technique), studying with Kathy Miranda at ATS (Alexander Technique of Syracuse).

Since moving to Rochester in 2003, Katie has had a full studio of cello students. Since 2004, Katie has taught Alexander Technique lessons and workshops privately as well as at the Eastman School of Music, the Eastman Summer Trombone Institute, the New Directions Cello Festival, the University of Buffalo, Nazareth College, Rochester Institute of Technology, the Hochstein School of Music and Dance, the Kingfisher Theater, Rochester Bass Retreat, the University of Rochester inspireDANCE Festival, and the Suzuki Guitar retreat at Silver Bay. She teaches the AT portion of the Embodied Resources through Somatic Practices class on the University of Rochester River Campus. In addition, Katie teaches an Alexander Technique class at the Eastman School of Music, as well as her popular week-long course in the summer (see below for details).

Katie is delighted to work with anyone interested in Alexander Technique. She has a special interest in teaching Alexander Technique to children, and is very inspired by the work of the Alexander Technique teachers Sue Merry and Sue Holladay.



Soprano Kearstin Piper Brown just made her San Francisco Opera debut covering the role of Dame Shirley in the world premiere of John Adams’s Girls of the Golden West. Recently, Ms. Brown performed with Rochester Oratorio Society in the Vaughan-Williams Dona Nobis Pacem and Emancipation Oratorio. She also toured Israel as Bess in Gershwin’s masterpiece, Porgy and Bess. This season Ms. Brown will returned as a guest artist with the Chaliapin Festival at the Kazan Opera Theater in Russia and in the spring, she will also begin work singing the lead role in the new opera, Promised Land: An Adirondack Folk Opera. Next season brings Ms. Brown back to the West Coast for Barber’s Knoxville: Summer of 1915 with the San Jose Chamber Orchestra and a return to San Francisco Opera to sing the Clara in Jake Heggie’s, It’s a Wonderful Life. She will also sing her role debut as Pamina in The Magic Flute with Opera in Williamsburg and make appearances in the KeyBank Rochester Fringe Festival.

Ms. Brown also made her debut with the Atlanta Symphony Orchestraunder conductor Robert Spano in the role of the High Priestess in Aïda, and was also invited to sing concerts under the auspices of the Lebanon Symphony and Chorus, Cincinnati Opera and the Finger Lakes Opera Company. In previous seasons she was heard as Violetta with Utah Lyric Opera, Musetta with Dayton Opera, Micaëla with Arbor Opera Theater, and Clara in Porgy and Bess at the Teatro di San Carlo. She performed Euridice in Gluck's Orpheus with Opera Memphis, and she portrayed the role of Mrs. McDowell in the world premiere of Rise for Freedom: The John P. Parker Story by composer Adolphus Hailstork with Cincinnati Opera. She also sang with the Center for Contemporary Opera in New York as Epiphany Proudfoot in the world premiere of Mark Scearse's Falling Angel. Ms. Brown also made her successful return to Utah Festival Opera as Bess in Porgy and Bess and Sarah in Ragtime.

Ms. Brown has performed the role of Bess worldwide with Opera Kazan, Skylight Music Theatre, Dayton Opera, Virginia Opera, Utah Festival Opera and the Belarusian State Philharmonic Orchestra, Minsk. In addition, the European Porgy and Bess tour of New York Harlem Productions brought her Bess to such prestigious venues as the Hamburgische Staatsoper, the Semperoper Dresden, the Deutsche Oper am Rhein, and the Komische Oper Berlin. Another touring production of the Gershwin classic was with Cape Town Opera, where she went on tour to the Edinburgh Festival, the Royal Festival Hall London, and the Israeli Opera.

Ms. Brown starred in a gala concert Our SongsThe Music of African American Composers at the Bruno Walter Auditorium at Lincoln Center with Opera Ebony, and the year before she was heard at Jazz at Lincoln Centerunder the auspices of the Licia Albanese-Puccini Foundation. The versatile soprano has also sung with the American Spiritual Ensemble, toured with the 3 Mo’ Divas (sister group of the 3 Mo’ Tenors), and scored an early success as Sarah in the Light Opera Works Chicago regional premiere of Ragtime, earning her a “Best Actress in a Musical” nomination from the Black Theater Alliance in Chicago. She recently made her triumphant returned to the role in with the Utah Festival Opera. In addition, she has appeared in theater productions in the Washington DC area with the Studio Theater, Roundhouse Theatre, Arena Stage, and the Kennedy Center Theatre for Young Audiences.

Highlights of Ms. Brown’s performances as a concert soloist include an appearance at the Palais Augarten in Vienna, a gala of American music with the Moscow City Symphony Orchestra, Handel's Messiah with the Lebanon Symphony, a concert with the Rochester Early Music Festival, the Festival Classique’s Opera Under the Stars concert with the Residentie Orkest in The Hague and the Edison Awards Gala 2010 with the Amsterdam Sinfonietta, both of which were televised LIVE in the Netherlands, as well as concerts with the Pasadena Symphony and Pops, the Cedar Rapids Chorale and Symphony, and the Hines-Lee Opera Ensemble at the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts.

Ms. Brown was a young artist at the International Institute of Vocal Arts in Italy, the Opera Colorado and the Utah Festival Opera, as well as an Artist-in-Residence with Dayton Opera, Opera Memphis, and Cincinnati Opera. She has been a prize-winner in several international competitions, including the Montserrat Caballé International Competition, the William Matheus Sullivan Foundation, the Gerda Lissner Foundation Vocal Competition, and the Licia Albanese-Pucinni Foundation International Vocal Competition.

A native of Alexandria, Virginia, Ms. Brown is a graduate of both Spelman College and Northwestern University.



Kitty Jospé is a linguist and a poet who has moderated a popular weekly reading poetry appreciation session since 2008. She holds an MA in French Literature, 1984; an MFA, 2009, in creative writing/poetry; and has been a docent at the MAG since 1998 where in additions to tours, she has given talks linking musical elements of spoken language to visual patterns. She is an active collaborator with artists, dancers, musicians, and enjoys performing poetry. Her poems appear in such publications as Nimrod and Grasslimbs. She has published four books of poetry: Cadences, 2010; Mosaicq (Finishing Line Press semi-finalist), 2012; Gathering Lines, 2013; and Golden Smoke, 2015 (Foothills).



Marla Schweppe is a professor in the School of Design at the Rochester Institute of Technology. Early in her career she designed for theatre, television and movies in New York City and other theatres around the country. She traveled through four continents and over 30 countries designing for Jennifer Muller and the Works, a contemporary dance company. She did her graduate work in computer graphics and animation and has been teaching computer graphics and animation for 30 years at Ohio State University, the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, Northwestern University and RIT. Her creative work includes the incorporation digital graphics in both live and virtual performances.



Mary Mowers (soprano) is a professional vocalist with a wide range of styles. She is a cantor, soloist, and section leader for Saint Anne Church, and is involved in several chamber choirs in the Rochester area. Mary attended Mansfield University of PA studying classical singing, and the School for Music Vocations in Iowa, studying jazz singing, arranging, and piano with Grammy nominated vocal arranger Phil Mattson. She has been involved in several recording projects as a soloist and choirster including VoicesIowa's Count Your Blessings, Madrigalia's For Better or For Worse and On This Day Earth Shall Ring, and on local composer Cary Ratcliff's opera recording, Eleni.


Memorial Art Gallery

A visit to the Memorial Art Gallery is a journey through more than 5,000 years of art history. From the relics of antiquity to works in the vanguard of contemporary movements, MAG offers a panorama of the world’s art. Our 14-acre campus is a spectacular public art space that is a popular destination for Rochesterians and out-of-town visitors alike.

MAG’s permanent collection of more than 12,000 objects has been called the best balanced in the state outside of metropolitan New York City. In addition to its collection, the museum offers a year-round schedule of temporary exhibitions, lectures, concerts, tours and family activities.

MAG’s Mission Statement

MAG enhances people’s lives by cultivating relationships and building community through the direct experience of art and creativity.



Mona Seghatoleslami is the host and producer on WXXI Classical 91.5 FM weekdays from 2 p.m. to 7 p.m. She also hosts the lunchtime concert series Live From Hochstein Wednesdays at 12:10 p.m., interviews musicians, produces special programs, and works on any project she can find that helps connect people and music in our community through WXXI.

Mona is originally from New Jersey; she ventured out to the Midwest for college, where studied viola at Illinois State University in Normal, Illinois. She got her start in radio at WFIU in Bloomington, Indiana while in grad school studying musicology and library science at Indiana University. She also spent a few years as a radio announcer and producer in West (by God) Virginia, where she also wrote for the Charleston Gazette and taught American music at West Virginia State University.

When she’s not on the radio, you can find Mona attending concerts and movies, playing viola in community orchestras, occasionally strumming the ukulele, riding her bike everywhere, and reading as much as she can – especially The New Yorker and sci-fi novels. She also books the bands for one of the coolest live music venues in Rochester – The Little Theatre Café.



At Sinful Sweets we live a deliciously charmed, fairytale life. We’ve found a way to marry leather with lace, the light with the dark, and found a way to make sin a delightfully sweet thing.

When we looked for inspiration for our utterly unique cake line we searched high and low until we finally found our glass slipper, the Seven Deadly Sins. We looked to the heart of every sin and found the beauty within. Every cake and cupcake has been painstakingly crafted to bring a unique, fun spin on the things we’re told to turn away from. We believe that a little sin, or even a lot of sin, is never a bad thing. Give in to Temptation, or even indulge in a Nightmare, each cake and cupcake will have you Lusting for more. If a simple cake just isn’t enough to satisfy your sweet tooth then we’re ready to take on your challenge. We want to bring your own personal fairytale to life with our custom-made cakes. From Dante’s Inferno to the Garden of Eden we’ll bring your passion to fruition with a pinch of posh and a dash of wickedness.

Not only do we create indulgent novelty cakes, we also specialize in lavishly gourmet wedding cakes.

While our cakes are sinful we keep our ingredients virtuous. Each confection crafted from scratch with the freshest of ingredients.In Western New York we’ve found our home bringing sin to the people of Rochester, NY and beyond. Find elation within our sinful delights and listen to our siren call.

Visit us at our new location at the corner of Park Ave and Alexander, or give us a call at 585-483-0349 and unleash your dark side.

Photo of SfS.jpg


Strings for Success is an innovative, free and inclusive school-based violin instruction program of The Center for Youth serving children in the Rochester City School District.


Studio 34 is a teaching facility and store. We carry glass in all it’s forms, metals , tools, books, findings, and more. Studio 34 Creative Arts Center and Gallery is located in the Neighborhood of the Arts, an internationally recognized cultural district in Rochester, New York. The studio offers a great class experience, fun environment, and opportunities for adventure and new learning experiences. The George Eastman Museum is around the corner !

Our public access studios are available to qualified artists. Private and our newly designed co-share space includes tools, torches, kilns, bench grinders , sanders and equipment. For information on bench and torch rental, or co-share model contact the studio.

We are a cooperatively managed creatively blessed blend of 28 local faculty. Visiting faculty from around the globe regularly offer master classes.


The Op Shop is a vintage clothing co-op located in Rochester's East End area, 2nd floor at 89 Charlotte Street, with Ugly Duck Coffee and The Factory Hairdressing on the premises.

Our collective passions lie in the joint mission of sharing and selling our vintage clothing to the local community. We curate pop-ups and book vendors on a month-by-month basis so that our fresh, revolving inventory acts as an incentive to squash the thought of vintage shops as stale and dusty old things!

We are always looking for new collaborators of all kinds. We want to work with you and help you grow your business.



The Rita Collective is a chamber group from Rochester, NY that plays original and world music with a jazz slant. Performances by the Rita Collective include original compositions written for the group’s unusual instrumentation - bass clarinet, marimba, acoustic bass, and percussion - melodies from the Middle-East or Africa, re-invented jazz tunes from one of the masters like Miles, and re-imagined pop tunes from Rage Against the Machine or the Beatles. The unifying thread for this group is the improvisatory approach to the music, and the deft playfulness of the musicians that create it.

The group has a sound and feeling rarely found in the jazz world. The bass clarinet is at times hauntingly lyrical and at other times deeply sinister, a fascinating compliment to the beautiful woody tones of the marimba. Acoustic bass supports the melodies with a strength and warmth that rounds out the group, and an altered drum kit reaches beyond the traditional color pallet of drum set to infuse the music with a diverse world beat. Together, these wooden instruments resonate with a warmth and clarity that connects the listener to the music.


W. Michelle Harris is a media artist and a professor at Rochester Institute of Technology. Her work (solo and collaborative) has been shown at such diverse venues as the ACM SIGGRAPH, World Maker Faire, and the reActor International Conference on Digital Live Art, as well as regional venues such as the Baobab Cultural Center, Community Folk Art Center, Schwienfurth Memorial, and Four Walls. She has done visuals for performances in collaboration with choreographer Juanita Suarez (ImageMovementSound festivals and the Be Here Now ensemble), Sound ExChange orchestra, and BIODANCE (Rochester Fringe ‘17, ’16, ’15, '13 Festivals). She received her BS in Computer Engineering from Carnegie Mellon University, and a MPS in Interactive Telecommunications from New York University's Tisch School of the Arts (where she had the honor of interning with Troika Ranch).