Notes From the Aisle Seat


Join us every other Wednesday for a new episode of Notes From the Aisle Seat, the Opera House’s podcast on the arts in northern Chautauqua County!  Your host is SUNY Distinguished Teaching Professor and Chair Emeritus of Theatre and Dance at SUNY Fredonia Tom Loughlin. 

Each episode explores the rich landscape of the visual and performing arts that exists in northern Chautauqua County, from the many art galleries and exhibition spaces to performing arts organizations to the individual artists and performers that call this area home.

Notes From the Aisle Seat is available almost anywhere you listen to podcasts, including Apple Podcast, Google Podcast, Stitcher, Spotify, and now Amazon Prime Music, as well as on the Opera House YouTube channel, or here.

Current Episode
Episode 3.2

This episode features interviews with Gail Pugh Dash, who will present the lecture “Gleanings from the Ellis Rowley Home in Laona” at the Opera House on Oct. 12, singer/songwriter Doug DeJoe, who will be in concert on Oct. 13, and Dr. Jonathan Katz, co-curator of the exhibit Not Gay at SUNY Fredonia’s Marion Art Gallery.

Past Episodes + -

This episode features a preview of the fall 2023 season at the Opera House with Executive Director Rick Davis, an interview with Jacob Swanson and Alison D’Amato of the Decho Ensemble, and a conversation with Broadway star Eden Espinosa.

This episode features interviews with Brian Hoffman from Remembering Red – A Red Skelton Tribute, and theatre critic Dr. Anthony Chase about the National Theatre productions of Othello and Good.

This episode features interviews with Brian Hoffman from Remembering Red – A Red Skelton Tribute, and theatre critic Dr. Anthony Chase about the National Theatre productions of Othello and Good.

This edition of the podcast features interviews with Dan Ihasz, Professor Emeritus of Voice at SUNY Fredonia School of Music, on Mozart’s Die Zauberflöte; Adam Cooley, painter and sculptor, on the art scene in Japan in advance of the Art and Architecture On Screen presentation of Tokyo Stories; and Paul “The Movie Guy” Preston on the upcoming Cinema Series films Somewhere in Queens and Book Club: The Next Chapter.. all events are at the Opera House.

This edition of the podcast is an “All Bach and Beyond” episode and features interviews with Maestro Grant Cooper, oboist Cheryl Bishkoff, and emerging artist and clarinetist Jonathan Decker.

This edition of the podcast features Dr. Robert Strauss discussing Live at the Met’s Don Giovanni, D.R. Barker Museum’s Board President Jeff Adams talking about the Chautauqua History Lecture Series presentation of Brotherhood of the New Life, and Rick Mascaro discussing the Juicebox Organic One-Act Festival at the Lakeshore Center for the Arts in Westfield.

This edition of the podcast features SUNY Fredonia Distinguished Professor Emeritus Alberto Rey discussing the Art and Architecture On Screen presentation of Vermeer – The Greatest Exhibition, SUNY Fredonia’s Dr. Robert Strauss talking about the Buffalo Gay Men’s Chorus concert at the Opera House on May 13, and Rockefeller Art Center’s Jefferson Westwood with guest artist Jordan Weatherstone Pitts discussing the annual Commencement Eve Pops Concert, this year celebrating the music of Andrew Lloyd Webber.

This edition of the podcast features Derek Johnson, guitarist for Monroe Crossing, who will be performing at the Opera House; SUNY Fredonia Prof. Emeritus Daniel Ihasz previewing the Live at the Met presentation of Champion; and Prof. Ted Sharon discussing his upcoming production of Romeo and Juliet for the Department of Theatre and Dance at SUNY Fredonia.

This 90-minute special edition episode is dedicated entirely to the Concert for Dick and Carmen Gilman.  It features interviews with most of the performers who will part of this special tribute concert to the founders of the Opera House Folk in Fredonia Music Series.  They include Peggy Lynn, Dan Duggan, Chris Koldewey, Joy Bennett, and Dan Berggren.  Janet Gilman, who is the daughter of Carmen and Dick, also shares some of her memories growing up in the Gilman household.

This edition of the podcast features SUNY Fredonia Distinguished Prof. Emeritus Alberto Rey discussing the work of Mary Cassatt, the subject of Mary Cassatt – Painting the Modern Woman, and Prof. Emeritus Daniel Ihasz talking about the opera Falstaff, the next Live at the Met series opera, both at the Opera House; and Jong Sang Rheu from Main Street Studios talking about his upcoming performance in Happily: The Musical.

This edition of the podcast features Jonathan Weston, of Panama Rocks, discussing his lecture The History, Ecology and Geology of Panama Rocks on March 16; Matthew and Nathan Corrigan, of Tough Old Bird, talking about their upcoming concert with That One Crocodile on March 24; and SUNY Fredonia’s Dan Lendzian offering insight into National Theatre Live’s The Crucible on March 11. All events are at the Opera House.

This edition of the podcast features Aaron Lipp talking about his concert with bandmates Chris English and Ric Robertson at the Opera House on Fri., Feb. 24; Artist Amy Kahng discussing her curated exhibit Mis/Communication: Language and Power in Contemporary Art coming to the Marion Art Gallery on Feb. 28; and Dr. Nestor Bravo Goldsmith offering insights into the art of mime as he talks about the upcoming production of Eenie Meenie Miney Mime! produced by the Department of Theatre and Dance at SUNY Fredonia.

This edition of the podcast features  Dr. Jim Ivey discussing The Seagull, screening at the Opera House on Sat., Feb. 11, at 1pm; James Welch and Lisa Layman discussing the upcoming Western NY Chamber Orchestra International Artists Concerto Concert at Rockefeller Arts Center; and Mr. “Movie Guy” Paul Preston discussing two more Opera House Cinema Series offerings – Tom Hanks in A Man Called Otto, and Brendan Fraser in The Whale.

This edition of the podcast features Dr. Jim Ivey discussing the Jack Absolute Flies Again screening at the Opera House on Sat., Feb. 4; Dr. Chen Yi, Sorel Visiting Artist at SUNY Fredonia’s School of Music, discussing her work as a composer; and Rick Mascaro, Executive Director of the Lake Shore Center for the Arts in Westfield, discussing his upcoming production of Love Letters as well as other aspects of the center.

This edition of the podcast features Dr. Robert Strauss from the Voice Faculty at SUNY Fredonia discussing the Live at the Met screening of Fedora by Umberto Giordano on Sat., Jan. 14, at the Opera House; Peter Tucker, SUNY Fredonia Associate Professor of Sculpture, talks about the upcoming Faculty Exhibit beginning Jan. 24; and Paul Preston from The Movie Guys website and a SUNY Fredonia alum, previews the three films being screened in the Opera House Cinema Series. in January

This edition of the Opera House podcast features host Tom Loughlin reading some of his favorite solstice stories for this season of the year. We hope you’ll enjoy this audio gift from Tom and the Opera House as thanks for your support throughout 2022.

John Michael Coppola of The Four C-Notes talks about the group’s Franki Valli holiday show at SUNY Fredonia’s Rockefeller Arts Center, Dr. Nick Weiser discusses the Fredonia Jazz Flextet and the Fredonia Jazz Society concerts on Dec. 8; and Gavin Card and Elle Nunzio talk about Main Street Studio’s production of The Mince Pie of Doom.

Dan Lendzian and Czerton Lim discuss the upcoming SUNY Fredonia Department of Theatre and Dance production of Radium Girls; and Julie Newell talks about the December 10 Live at the Met premiere of The Hours, which features three iconic sopranos.

Wendy Woodbury Straight talks about the filmed presentation Underground Chautauqua: Three Freedom Trails on Thur., Nov. 10, at the Opera House; Dr. Robert Strauss, Dr. Jessica Hillman-McCord, and Patrick Connolly discuss the upcoming Hillman Opera Summer and Smoke at SUNY Fredonia; and Comedian Pete Correale talks about his appearance at the Opera House on Fri., Nov. 11.

Cellist Jolyon Pegis and Violinist Maria Schleuning talk about their performance at the Opera House this week, An Evening of Cello and Violin; Musicologist and Beatles Expert Scott Freiman discusses his upcoming appearance at the Opera House, Deconstructing Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band; and Mike Randall talks about 50 years portraying America’s “original stand-up comedian,” Mark Twain.

Daniel Ihasz, SUNY Fredonia Professor Emeritus of Voice, discusses the first Live at the Met presentation of Medea; Distinguished Professor of Art Emeritus Alberto Rey, talks about his love of Venice and its inspiration to artists; and members of the cast and design team, as well as Musical Director/Conductor Dr. Paula Holcomb, talk about the upcoming production of Into The Woods at SUNY Fredonia.

Tom Fitzgerald, of the Canadian fiddling, step-dancing family band, The Fitzgeralds, discusses the band’s performance at the Opera House on Oct. 7; Chautauqua County Historian Michelle Henry talks about the next Chautauqua County History Lecture on the County Poor Farm; and Jefferson Westwood, Director of the Michael C. Rockefeller Arts Center at SUNY Fredonia, discusses this year’s events.

Rick Davis, Opera House Executive Director discusses the fall season of events; Emilio Palame discusses his feature-length film The Knights of Swing, which will be playing at the Opera House on Sept. 23; and Cindy Yochym and Noah Diamond talk about this year’s Freedonia Marxonia, to be held on Thursday and Friday, Sept. 29 and 30.

Ben Baker, a local musician now living in Rochester, who has released a new album, Many States, discusses the process of creating that album. David and Ann Rose talk about their September 9th concert at the Opera House. And, Marcia Merrins, President of the North Shore Arts Alliance, and Lisa Eppolito, a local potter, give us the lowdown on the upcoming Labor Day weekend edition of the Art Trail Hub Crawl.

Distinguished Professor Emeritus Alberto Rey discusses the upcoming Art and Architecture presentation of Pissaro: Father of Impressionism. at the Opera House.  Paul Preston, of The Movie Guys, a website devoted to all things movies and Hollywood,  talks about two of the upcoming films in the Opera House Cinema Series: Downton Abbey: A New Era, and The Phantom of the Open.

Visual artist Sara Baker Michalak discusses her latest work, how her preferred medium has changed over the years and an upcoming exhibition.  Christina Rausa, regional actor and President of the Board of Lakeshore Center for the Arts, talks about Lakeshore’s coming production of Becky’s New Car, which she is directing.

Collin Parker-Szekely, 15 years old and the featured piano soloist for the Saturday Bach and Beyond concert, talks about his coming performance. Also, Lifetime Achievement Grammy winner Tom Paxton, who will appear at the Opera House in concert with the Don Juans on Saturday, June 18, discusses his storied career.

Marcia Merrins, president of the North Shore Arts Alliance, shares the excitement over the upcoming Arts Trail Hub Crawl going on May 28th and 29th from 10am-5pm; Maestro Grant Cooper discusses the return of the Bach and Beyond Festival, celebrating its 25th offering June 10-12.

Jefferson Westwood, Director of SUNY Fredonia’s Rockefeller Arts Center, talks about this year’s Commencement Eve Pops concert; Director Tina Rausa and actress Jenn Davis discuss the Lake Shore Center for the Arts’ production of Becky’s New Car; Dr. Robert Strauss talks about Live at the Met’s Lucia di Lammermoor at the Opera House; and Heather Pierson of the Heather Pierson Acoustic Trio talks about her eclectic and colorful musical stylings.

Dan Ihasz of the School of Music at SUNY Fredonia discusses Live at the Met’s production of Turandot May 7 at the Opera House (00:44); Host Tom Loughlin walks the 54 1891 Run for the Opera House and chats with other walkers and runners along the way (19:58); and SUNY Fredonia Alumna and rising artist Nia Drummond talks about her coming concert that is the inaugural performance in the Helen Tinch Williams Recital Series (43:21).

Rick Davis, Opera House Executive Director, talks about the coming 1891 Run for the Opera House (01:10); cast members from The Hunchback of Notre Dame at Main Street Studios discuss their experience in mounting the unique musical production (19:40); and Ted Vigil talks about how he came to create a tribute show honoring the late John Denver (41:30).

Vinnie Brandi, drummer for Takin’ it to the Streets: The Doobie Brothers Tribute Show, discusses the group’s Apr. 8 concert at the Opera House (01:13); SUNY Distinguished Professor Alberto Rey talks about the use of color by three artists in Easter in Art: The Greatest Story Ever Painted, part of the Art & Architecture Series at the Opera House (17:03); and guest director Yao Khalil talks about the Department (38:18).

John Massier, curator at the Hallwells Contemporary Arts Center in Buffalo, discusses his curated exhibit “New Shapes From Old Tropes,” now on display at the Marion Art Gallery at SUNY Fredonia (01:16); SUNY Fredonia Assistant Professor Phil Hastings talks about his recent $10,000 artist award from the New York State Council on the Arts and the project it funds (21:21); and Paul Preston, of the Movie Guys, discusses the next films in the Opera House Cinema Series (39:41).

The Ekstasis Duo of Dr. Eliran Avni and Natasha Farny talk about Ekstasis 2.0, a series of afternoon recitals presented by their students at the Opera House (02:30); Distinguished Teaching Professor Julie Newell talks about the next two Live at the Met operas (13:17); and Sue Tillotson and Jim Cunningham of the Celtic duo Waterhorse talk about their upcoming concert at the Opera House (27:58).

SUNY Fredonia Professor Dr. Vernon Huff and Guest Artists Dr. Andrew Megill talk about the Fredonia Choral Festival (01:14); Daniel Lendzian gives a preview of Mr. Burns: A Post Electric Play  at the Rockefeller Arts Center (17:18); and Dr. Nick Weiser discusses jazz studies at SUNY Fredonia and the upcoming Fredonia Jazz Orchestra concert (37:54).

Professor Todd Proffitt, Chair of Theatre and Dance at SUNY Fredonia, gives a preview of the coming season offerings (01:35); Dr. Sarah Hamilton, Anna Mattix and Dr. Geralyn Giovannetti, of the Can-Am Trio, discuss their recent $20,000 grant and coming concerts in WNY (14:09); and vocal illusionist Lynn Trefzger and a special guest start talk about their upcoming show at Marvel Theatre on the SUNY Fredonia campus (33:35).

Audrey Kay Dowling from the Portage Hill Gallery talks about her recent NYS Council on the Arts award and the 40th anniversary of her gallery; Distinguished Teaching Professor Alberto Rey discusses impressionism in advance of the upcoming Art & Architecture On Screen Series offering; and Hyla Stellhorn talks about her current installation at the Octagon Gallery in the Patterson Library in Westfield.

Paul Preston of The Movie Guys talks about the January movies at the Opera House; Julie Newell discusses the 2022 Live at the Met offerings.

Ed Croft talks about his craft and his trio’s A Charlie Brown Christmas concert at the Opera House; two of The 5 Browns talk about the sibling performing group and their holiday concert at SUNY Fredonia’s Rockefeller Arts Center; Mike Randall discusses his Charles Dickens portrayal at St. John’s UCC Church; and Ted Sharon and Ben Sheedy talk about the vision for Main Street Studios and the coming performances of A Christmas Carol.

Marcia Merrins speaks about the North Shore Arts Alliance; Jack Bausch and Michael Morrissey discuss their roles in SUNY Fredonia’s The Normal Heart; and Kevin Ganzekaufer talks about his original work The Happy Prince and Other Tales at Main Street Studios.

Angelika Summerton on ballet, the Bolshoi’s Spartacus and the Fredonia Dance Ensemble; Dr. Robert Strauss and Daniel Lendzian on the Hillman Opera’s production of Il Matrimonio Segreto; and Jim Boltz and Dr. Dick Gilman, who reminisce on the occasion of the 27th anniversary of the Opera House reopening.

Maestro Glen Cortese about Western New York Chamber Orchestra’s Halloween Spook-tacular concert; Hyla Sue Stellhorn about the current exhibition at the Marion Art Gallery; Matthew B. Cullen and Julia Marie Black on the creation of Common Ground Theatre Company and its first production, Everything Feels Like the End of the World.

SUNY Fredonia’s Dr. Jessica Hillman-McCord and Broadway veteran Jen Cody on the college’s production of The Wild Party; Prof. Alberto Rey on the Opera House Art & Architecture Series’ Raphael Revealed; Greg Cahill of bluegrass band The Special Consensus.

SUNY Fredonia’s Jefferson Westwood on the Rockefeller Arts Center’s coming season; Dr. Robert Strauss on Live at the Met; Cynthia Yochym on Freedonia Marxonia 2021.

Rick Davis on the Opera House Capital Improvements made during COVID; Ekstasis Duo’s Eliran Avni and Natasha Farny.