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RPO Gives First Floating Concert on Erie Canal

Rochester, NY, April 5, 2006 – Arts, economic development and tourism will converge to kick off Symphony Showhouse 2006, when the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra performs aboard a 120-by-30-foot New York State canal barge during Fairport Canal Days on Sunday, June 4 at 3 p.m. The festival draws approximately 200,000 people annually, and the free concert – directed by Principal Pops Conductor Jeff Tyzik – will be viewable from both sides of the canal as well as from the village’s lift bridge.

“I’m looking forward to this unique and historic event,” says Mr. Tyzik. “Everyone at the RPO is excited about Symphony on the Erie.”

Internationally renowned painter Eric Waugh will capture the one-of-a-kind concert on a large-scale canvas. Mr. Waugh is the Guinness Book of World Records holder for the largest painting on canvas by a single artist, and frequently paints live to music in front of audiences. Some of the musical artists which he has painted live include Tony Bennett, the Doobie Brothers, and Nelly Furtado.

“I love getting out of the studio and painting live, so when I heard about the opportunity to paint on a barge on the Erie Canal, I was ‘on board’ immediately,” jokes the Montreal artist. “With the beautiful surroundings, enthusiastic spectators and the talented Rochester orchestra, I’m anticipating a ‘symphony of inspiration’ as I paint!”

Both the RPO’s Symphony on the Erie and Eric Waugh’s participation are being underwritten by First Niagara Financial Group. “The synergy created by all of these elements coming together is very exciting,” says the bank’s regional president, Pat Burke. “It reminds us that this community has so much to offer.”

This first-ever event will highlight the RPO’s fourth Symphony Showhouse, which will take place in Fairport as well. The historic 1876 Deland House (also known as the Green Lantern Inn) at One East Church Street is the site of this year’s biannual fundraiser. Thirty of the area’s leading designers and artists will decorate the landmark house, which will be open for tours and special events from Friday, June 2 through Sunday, June 25. Eric Waugh’s completed painting of the RPO’s historic Symphony on the Erie will be auctioned off as part of the fundraiser, and poster reproductions will be available for sale. The all-volunteer Symphony Showhouse 2006 Committee plans to raise more than $109,000 for the RPO’s music education programs during the four-week event.