Life is a Cabaret for St. James, Community Action fundraiser
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Life is a Cabaret for St. James, Community Action fundraiser

Feb 8, 2012

 Hors d’oeuvres, scrumptious desserts, a talented trio of musicians and a basket raffle are on tap for the second annual Cabaret, organizers say.

Local performers Jon Seiger, a trumpet player revered for his spot-on resemblance to Louis Armstrong, and former Broadway actress Bev Miner will perform a series of variety acts from 7 to 10 p.m. Saturday at St. James Church, 405 East Main St. It’s a benefit for the church’s Restoration Fund and for Community Action of Orleans & Genesee.

“We decided to do something a little different this year. It’s just going to be a fun, comfortable evening,” Community Action Emergency Services Coordinator Lisa Wittmeyer said. “I think the comedy is going to be fun. They are entertaining. I hope people will sing along.”

The pair’s entertainment will be interspersed with Batavia High School senior Melzie Case on piano. Her line-up so far includes Billy Joel’s “Nocturne,” “River Flows in You” and “To a Wild Rose.”

Miner, who lives in Stafford and performs regularly with Seiger, promised a “floor show” with the works. The duo will sing, play instruments — he plays keyboards and trumpet and she’s a drummer — tell jokes and even dance. Miner also plans to incorporate her childhood days of taking lessons on Waikiki Beach and do an authentic hula.

“If they want straight music they can turn on the radio,” she said.

Not short on experience, Miner spoke of her early life, growing up as an Air Force “brat” and living in Hawaii, England and Colorado, to name a few. She sang and danced on Broadway years ago when she met Frankie Nan, a popular tenor sax player from Rochester. That relationship brought her to Western New York and, after Nan died, she eventually met and married the late Ken Miner and moved to Stafford.

Now she keeps busy performing with Seiger, a former piano man for Tony Bennett, at area nursing homes, night clubs and just recently booked Lakeside Memorial Hospital to entertain patients. There are stories to tell in between the music, along with perhaps a bit of schtick. 

“I put Vaseline on my hair and my mind keeps slipping,” she said. Ba-dum-dum.

Meanwhile, the event will include grazing stations with bruschetta, mini crustless quiche and pigs in a blanket, plus, due to popular demand, the return of St. James member Chip McGuire’s “famous” rosey deviled eggs. A new feature this year is a hot dipping bar with Reuben, chicken wing and artichoke dips.

For the sweet tooth, there will be a chocolate fountain accompanied by fruit, pound cake and Oreo cookies; tiramisu and cheese cakes and chocolate puddles, which are cupcakes filled with a decadent ganache. There will be a mix of items made in the St. James kitchen and donated from community vendors. All of this will be complemented by Pavilion Girls Service League serving hors d’oeuvres, tables full of gift baskets up for bid and wine, served until 9 p.m.

Some of the auction items include a three-month membership to YMCA, a gift certificate of wine and chocolate tasting at Leonard Oakes Estate Winery, a Schwinn bicycle and a Mardi Gras basket with “typical New Orleans teats” such as a handmade table runner, party plates, jambalaya mix, and a colorfully frosted king cake featuring a traditional plastic baby Jesus inside.

Tickets are $20 each for this “21 and over” event and advance sales are encouraged. They may be purchased at Community Action, 5073 Clinton Street Rd. or Genesee ACE Employment, 220 East Main St. For more information, call (585) 343-7798 or (585) 343-9162.


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