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Music is a part of most people’s lives, whether through playing an instrument, singing or simply putting on headphones and listening to some favorite songs. These hobbies may not always seem significant, but for many teenagers music is incredibly important and even helpful. Music can act as an oasis for some students; it can be a place to escape to in times of need or …

Actor Chris Pine once said: "The only thing you sometimes have control over is perspective. You don’t have control over your situation. But you have a choice about how you view it." I’d have to agree with him, thanks to some sweet kids I’ve met through Birthday Squad of Buffalo, a nonprofit organization that, since 2009, has been throwing birthday parties for impoverished…

In the coming weeks, thousands of students from all across Western New York will be auditioning in solo festivals hosted by the ECMEA, or Erie County Music Educators Association. Approximately 4,500 students in grades 4-12 will participate, with hopes of being placed in one of the 20 all-county elementary, junior high, or senior high ensembles. The 2,100 students selecte…

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"Pitch Perfect 3" opens on a yacht, where the newly reunited a capella group the Bellas are performing "Toxic" by Britney Spears. In the middle of their performance, Fat Amy, played by Rebel Wilson, breaks through the glass ceiling with a fire extinguisher and the Bellas jump into the water just in time as the yacht explodes behind them. Rewind three weeks and we meet up…

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The Bills are in the playoffs, but you already know that. An era – perhaps the darkest in Buffalo sports history – has finally ended. And like a war leaves behind a generation of disillusioned men and women, The Drought (a term that can so thankfully be used in the past tense) has left in its wake a generation of Buffalonians who don’t even know how to react to a Bills pos…

High school students often look for great opportunities to give back to their communities and to people who need help. This year, the Western and Central New York Chapter of the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society is giving local teenagers the opportunity they have been looking for. The local chapter of the LLS is starting a new program called "Students of the Year" to give …

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Buffalo has long been a city of immigrants. The vast diversity of our neighborhoods brings to mind the fact that being an immigrant must be quite frightening. And how much harder and scarier must it be to be a refugee fleeing a war-torn country for safety. Imagine what it must feel like to live in such fear. Stitch Buffalo is a not-for-profit organization whose mission …

WHAT IS NYSSSA? NYSSSA is a summer arts residential intensive program for students interested in ballet, choral studies, modern dance, visual arts, media arts, orchestral studies or theater. The curriculum includes individual and group instruction by college professors and/or working performers and artists. Students spend six to eight hours a day, six days a week, working …

The alarm rings at 6 a.m. and it makes me jump up. My emotions are all over the place. As I get ready, I think about the day ahead, and how for the next four weeks I will get to dance for six hours a day. Dance has been a part of my life since I was in the womb. This year I had the opportunity to attend the New York State Summer School for the Arts Modern Dance program fo…

This year, the New Year's Eve ball drop won’t be the only spectacle to take on Dec. 31 in downtown Buffalo. For the first time since 2010, and the second time ever, the Queen City will be at the center of the hockey world, as it hosts the 2018 IIHF World Junior Championship. Ten nations will arrive in Western New York for the tournament, which begins on Tuesday and conti…

At this point, you’ve probably hear Mariah Carey’s "All I Want for Christmas is You" enough times to last through next Christmas. It’s one of the most popular holiday songs of all time, and this isn’t by chance. What is it that makes this song, along with all the other greats, so full of holiday spirit? Simple psychology The smell of pine, the taste of peppermint, the l…

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Nathan White sits back in his chair, head down, grinning at his creation. The result of months worth of button pushing and mix checking had come to this: "Mirage." The 14-year-old music producer from Amherst says it’s been exactly a day and a year since its official release. In that time, White has been able to build a name for himself in the crowded, ultra-competitive wo…

In 2017, it is virtually impossible to avoid offending one of the 323 million people residing in the United States. Christmas is about as traditional as it gets. With the holiday season upon us, the common debate over the use of "Merry Christmas" is one example of how a simple phrase is picked apart and pinned as offensive. Those who oppose the use of "Merry Christmas" d…

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The day was April 20, 1999. The location: Columbine High School in Littleton, Colo. Students Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold opened fire inside the building, killing 15 people, including themselves. While this event wasn’t technically the first "school shooting," it is one of the most famous in United States history. Since then, other school shootings include Sandy Hook Ele…