Rock for Abilities Concert!

Flame, Lexington’s world-renowned rock band, will perform a concert for the community on March 16, 2018 at Lexington’s Gloversville facility, 127 East State Street, from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. The concert is open the public.

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Flame will present the concert as Lexington celebrates National Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month. Flame performs around the state and country and last year were the headliners of a concert celebrating abilities in Carpi, Italy, in northern Tuscany. The band performs more than 75 concerts a year, traveling on a specially designed motor coach that has racked up several hundred thousand miles and is due for replacement. Having produced six albums featuring their own music and cover pieces, the band of talented musicians is dedicated to sharing their music and helping people see that everyone has both abilities and disabilities. Celebrating abilities is what motivates the band and makes them sought after as performers.

Lexington celebrates National Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month to showcase not only Flame, but the success of many men, women and children with different abilities. Lexington is very proud of the accomplishments of the many individuals whose success in daily life, work, volunteerism, school and college work, and raising families shows how capable they truly are. Flame’s concert is part of this month-long celebration highlighting all that the men and women supported by Lexington do to give back to their community.

Tickets for the community concert cost $5 each and are available at Lexington’s Johnstown location, 465 N. Perry Street; Lexington’s Gloversville location, 127 E. State Street; Lexington’s Oppenheim location, 405 County Highway 114, St. Johnsville; the Fulton-Montgomery Regional Chamber of Commerce, 2 N. Main Street, Gloversville; and Mohawk Harvest Cooperative Market, 20 N. Main Street, Gloversville. Tickets will also be available at the door on the day of the event. Audience members are encouraged to bring a non-perishable food item to donate in exchange for the chance to win a door prize. All donated non-perishable food items will benefit local food pantries. Lexington participates in fundraising and food collection throughout the year to benefit a variety of community agencies. Proceeds from this concert will go to the fund to purchase a new Flame tour bus.

In addition to the concert, Lexington is sponsoring a poster contest to help raise public awareness for the importance of equality in our society. Students at Fulton County elementary, middle and high schools are welcome to submit art that celebrates equality and differing abilities. This year’s theme is “Together We Have No Limits.” Entries will be judged and top winners chosen from each age group. Winners will receive two free tickets to the Rock for Abilities Concert, where they will be publicly recognized, receive a gift basket and get the opportunity to meet the members of Flame. Top posters will be on display at the Paul Nigra Center for Creative Arts in the Flame recording studio until April 25. In addition, the school with most entries will win a free Flame concert. For information about the contest and how to enter, contact Lynette May at (518) 661-9932 or MayL@lexcenter.org. Entries are due by March 8.

FLAME TO DEBUT SIXTH ALBUM, “CHRISTMAS CLASSICS,” AT RELEASE PARTY

The band Flame will celebrate the release of their new album, “Christmas Classics,” on Thursday, December 7, with a CD Release Party. The party will take place 6-7:30 p.m. at the Paul Nigra Center for Creative Arts, 2736 State Highway 30, Gloversville. There is no cost for admission.

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At the party, Flame will perform songs from their new album. Attendees will be the first to have the chance to purchase “Christmas Classics” at a one-time special price of $10. There will also be snacks, raffles, autograph opportunities and more. 

Flame recorded “Christmas Classics” in April at SUNY Schenectady County Community College’s (SCCC) School of Music’s Vianna-Brignola Recording Studio. Hailey Lozier, at the time a Music Audio Technology major at SCCC and intern with the band, acted as lead engineer under the direction of Sten Isachsen, assistant professor in the SCCC School of Music. The album’s six-song track listing includes classics such as “All I Want for Christmas Is You,” “Run, Run Rudolph,” “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas,” “Santa Baby” and “Where Are You Christmas” as well as the original song “Wide Awake.”

This is Flame’s sixth album and second Christmas album. “Christmas Classics” and the rest of Flame’s discography are available for purchase at the Nigra Arts Center’s gift shop and online at www.flametheband.com. It is also available for purchase on iTunes, Amazon and CD Baby and for streaming on Spotify, Apple Music, Amazon and Napster.

Flame is a ten-piece band comprised entirely of musicians who happen to have disabilities. They formed in 2003 at a talent show put on by Lexington, a chapter of The Arc New York. Flame has a repertoire of more than 100 classic rock, pop, country and blues songs from the past 50 years as well as some original tracks. In the past 14 years, they have produced six albums and a single. They tour the northeastern United States in a custom bus and play more than 70 shows per year. Some of the biggest venues they have played include the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and the House of Blues in Cleveland, New York City’s Apollo Theater, Harvard Law School, the Greek Ministry of Education building in Athens, Greece, the 2009 Special Olympics World Winter Games in Boise, Idaho, and the 19th International Festival of Different Abilities in Carpi, Italy. Flame has received press from Good Morning America, People magazine, Metroland magazine and the Daily Mainichi News in Tokyo, Japan.  

For more information about Flame, please visit www.flametheband.com or contact Maria Nestle at (518) 661-9932, ext. 164 or nestlem@lexcenter.org.

FLAME TO PERFORM AT LIVE AID PUERTO RICO FUNDRAISER

Flame, a ten-piece band comprised entirely of musicians who happen to have disabilities, will join four other community bands to perform at a radiothon to benefit hurricane victims in Puerto Rico on Thursday, November 30. Flame formed in Gloversville in 2003 at a talent show put on by Lexington, a chapter of The Arc New York.

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This concert is part of the LIVE-AID: Fulmont for Puerto Rico Taste of the Mohawk Valley and Hurricane Relief Concert at Amsterdam High School, 140 Saratoga Avenue, Amsterdam, NY. Since the community has many direct connections to the areas of Puerto Rico affected by Hurricane Maria, this event is bringing together local businesses, organizations and acts to collect much-needed donations and supplies to assist the relief effort. The evening of food, fun, silent auctions, raffles and live music begins at 5 p.m. with Taste of the Mohawk Valley, a family-friendly event that showcases the food of the region. A variety of vendors will present samples of a wide variety of food favorites.

The Hurricane Relief Concert begins at 7 p.m. In addition to Flame, other artists to take the stage include Skeeter Creek, Bronte Roman, Louie and Lisa Velez, and MedRock. Together, they are all preparing an evening of music filled with heart, soul and everything they can give to help and heal.

Tickets to the event cost $15-$25 and may be purchased at www.liveaid.eventbrite.com

Flame has a repertoire of more than 100 classic rock, pop, country and blues songs from the past 50 years as well as some original tracks. In the past 14 years, they have produced six albums and a single. They tour the northeastern United States in a custom bus and play more than 70 shows per year. Some of the biggest venues they have played include the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and the House of Blues in Cleveland, New York City’s Apollo Theater, Harvard Law School, the Greek Ministry of Education building in Athens, Greece, the 2009 Special Olympics World Winter Games in Boise, Idaho, and the 19th International Festival of Different Abilities in Carpi, Italy. Flame has received press from Good Morning America, People magazine, Metroland magazine and the Daily Mainichi News in Tokyo, Japan. 

In Memory of Paul D. Zuckerwar

Paul D. Zuckerwar, conga player in Lexington’s rock band, Flame, died Monday, January 12, 2015, at Albany Medical Center after suffering a sudden medical event on Saturday, January 10. He was 54 and a resident of Mayfield, NY.

Paul was born May 23, 1960, in Gloversville, NY. In 1988, Paul began receiving services from Lexington - Fulton County Chapter, NYSARC, Inc., and it was at Lexington where he began his career as a musician. Prior to joining Flame, a rock band whose talented members all happen to have disabilities, Paul didn’t feel like he had a purpose. But all of that changed in 2003, when he became a member of the band and suddenly had a platform from which he could spread his message of hope and acceptance. “Paul was a talented musician. His warmth and smile made everyone feel welcomed and inspired. He was a wonderful role model and lived out his dreams to the fullest. Paul will truly be missed, and we are blessed to have learned so much from him,” said Lexington Executive Director Shaloni Winston.

Paul loved performing, traveling and meeting new people. He touched the lives of everyone he met and will be sorely missed by both those who knew him and those who knew his music. “Those of us who shared in Paul’s life shared his love and sense of humor. Paul’s unconditional love for those in his life was very real and without limit. He was very social and loved meeting new people when he traveled with Flame. He loved telling jokes and hanging with his friends. His band mates will remember Paul for being a practical joker and always giving good advice. He knew how to make people smile and laugh. Performing with Flame was one of the greatest joys in Paul’s life. He was very proud that he was able to inspire others and teach them to treat everyone with respect,” said Maria Nestle, who has worked with Flame for 11 years. About her friend, Michelle King, Flame’s lead singer, said, “Paul was like a big brother to all of us and a great friend. We will miss him.”

There will be a time of remembrance for Paul from noon until 1 p.m. on Friday, January 16, 2015, at the Walrath and Stewart Funeral Home located at 51 Freemont St. in Gloversville. A memorial service will begin at 1 p.m. and will be officiated by Pastor Patty Bush, Paul’s cousin. Flame will perform during the funeral to honor their dear friend. A private burial will follow directly after the funeral. Following the service, there will be a gathering of friends and family at The Center at Lexington, 465 N. Perry St., Johnstown.

Memorial contributions in Paul’s name may be made to The Lexington Foundation, 465 N. Perry St., Johnstown, NY 12095, for the development of the Paul Nigra Center for Creative Arts.

Announcing the Paul Nigra Center for Creative Arts

The Lexington Foundation is pleased to announce the development of two very unique and innovative programs: The Paul Nigra Center for Creative Arts and Transitions, an apprenticeship program designed to foster college and career success for students with learning differences.

The Lexington Foundation has signed a contract and intends to purchase the former Tetra Tech property and facilities located on 66 picturesque acres at the intersection of Route 30 and Route 30A in Mayfield. “Our new programs will be hosted in the property’s existing buildings which will be updated and renovated in order to accommodate the particular needs of the Paul Nigra Center and the Transitions program,” said Shaloni Winston, Executive Director of Lexington – Fulton County Chapter, NYSARC, Inc. “The Paul Nigra Center’s location is both beautiful and inviting and offers the best of what our region has to offer. We really wanted a Center that would not only attract those from outside our region, but would make our community proud.”

The Lexington Foundation has partnered with the Savannah College of Art and Design’s (SCAD) Collaborative Learning Center (CLC). Under the guidance of professors, twelve graduate students from SCAD’s interior design, graphic and media design, and arts administration programs have worked together to study the unique needs of The Paul Nigra Center for Creative Arts and the Transitions program, and then presented ideas about how to best design and adapt the existing space to suit those needs. The professors leading the project, Chance Farago, Professor of Arts Administration, and Meghan Woodcock, EDAC, Faculty, Interior Design, flew in from Savannah, Georgia to visit Lexington and learn about the services and support Lexington provides, meet staff and the individuals supported by Lexington, and visit the proposed property. 

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 SCAD Professors Chance Farago (far left) and Meghan Woodcock (far right) are greeted at Lexington by Patrick Foote, Flame Lead Singer Michelle King and Lexington Executive Director Shaloni Winston.

SCAD Professors Chance Farago (far left) and Meghan Woodcock (far right) are greeted at Lexington by Patrick Foote, Flame Lead Singer Michelle King and Lexington Executive Director Shaloni Winston.

Lexington Deputy Executive Director Dan Richardson, Executive Director Shaloni Winston and Lexington Foundation Executive Director Wally Hart present SCAD Executive Director of External Relations Danny Filson with a painting of the Adirondacks. The piece was painted by Victor Colon who studies in Lexington's Creative Expressions Program and the frame was custom made by Susy Easterly, a local artist and SCAD graduate.

Lexington Deputy Executive Director Dan Richardson, Executive Director Shaloni Winston and Lexington Foundation Executive Director Wally Hart present SCAD Executive Director of External Relations Danny Filson with a painting of the Adirondacks. The piece was painted by Victor Colon who studies in Lexington's Creative Expressions Program and the frame was custom made by Susy Easterly, a local artist and SCAD graduate.

“At SCAD, collaborative learning is a core element of the university’s mission to help prepare students for professional creative careers,” said Josh Lind, director of the CLC. “The opportunity to work with an organization like the Lexington Foundation on a real world, deadline-driven project provides invaluable experience to our students. In just the first few weeks of the quarter, the students have demonstrated significant enthusiasm for this project – especially given how meaningful the result will be for the individuals supported by Lexington.” SCAD’s Collaborative Learning Center’s current and past partners include companies like Adobe, Coca-Cola, Chick-fil-A, General Electric and Microsoft. Lexington is proud to collaborate with SCAD and join this esteemed list.

The Paul Nigra Center for Creative Arts was named for Lexington’s former Executive Director of 42 years, Paul Nigra.  It will be a beautiful, year-round arts center which will provide a rich assortment of art and hobby-related classes for emerging artists of all ages and interests including, but not limited to, culinary arts, performing arts, visual arts, quilting, woodcarving and yoga. It will also house premium art venues, host fun family events and provide educational opportunities for the entire community (both the general public and individuals supported by Lexington). The very best of Fulton County’s local talent will teach classes and give presentations at the Paul Nigra Center and noted artists from beyond the county’s borders will visit and share their expertise and talent. The Paul Nigra Center will also proudly offer employment opportunities for individuals with disabilities.

“Paul Nigra worked tirelessly to support people with disabilities and believed that every person could achieve success and fulfillment. We believe that both the Center for Creative Arts and Transitions program will allow Lexington to celebrate this vision and continue providing exceptional services and programs to the community and individuals with special needs,” added Winston. Nigra founded Lexington’s world-famous rock band, Flame, a group of musicians who refuse to let their disabilities be a barrier to success. The Paul Nigra Center will be a “home base” for Flame, continuing Nigra’s legacy of cultivating and celebrating the artistic endeavors of people of all ages and abilities.

The Paul Nigra Center for Creative Arts will be wholly owned and operated by The Lexington Foundation and will be funded by contributions, grants and fees for services. Lexington ARC funds will not be available for this project as they are dedicated to the care and support of the people Lexington supports. As The Lexington Foundation embarks on a capital campaign in order to pay for the purchase and renovations of the property, we have sought out community leaders and partners to serve on The Paul Nigra Center for Creative Arts Advisory Board, which will be chaired by local businessman and Johnstown resident Brian Hanaburgh. Design and renovations are expected to be completed for the opening scheduled for June 2015. For more details about the project, please contact Wally Hart, Executive Director of the Lexington Foundation, at (518) 736-3917 or hartw@lexcenter.org.

Check Out the Video NYSARC Put Together for Michelle!

NYSARC congratulates Michelle King, 2014 Self-Advocate of the Year, who was recently honored at NYSARC's 65th Annual Convention. Michelle is lead singer for the band Flame with Fulton County Chapter, NYSARC. The Self-Advocate Award is presented to an individual who has demonstrated leadership and personal growth and who has positively influenced the lives of others.

Michelle King and Rodney Frenyea Honored by NYSARC!

On Friday, October 17, 2014, NYSARC, Inc. honored two extraordinary people from Lexington as part of their Annual Convention. Michelle King was named NYSARC Inc.’s Self-Advocate of the Year and Rodney Frenyea was the Northeast Region’s recipient of NYSARC Inc.’s Thomas A. Maul Direct Support Professional Excellence Award.

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Michelle King, lead singer and guitarist of Lexington’s band, FLAME, has been receiving services from Lexington since 2003. Since she joined Lexington, she has amassed quite a list of accomplishments. She sang at Eunice Kennedy Shriver’s wake upon personal request from the Shriver family; starred in a documentary about Flame, the director of which was honored with the Loreen Arbus Scholarship at the 2014 College Television Emmy Awards; was profiled on the nationally-syndicated show, Good Morning America; performed in Greece and was recognized by the Greek Ministry of Education; was featured in People magazine’s “Heroes Among Us” profile, and has met with Senator Farley, Congressman Tonko and Mayor Bloomberg to advocate for the rights of persons with developmental disabilities. This all from a woman doctors once said would never talk. Since coming to Lexington and joining Flame, Michelle has used her fame as a platform to advocate for others and has inspired people all over the world with her message that “it’s not about disabilities, it’s about abilities.” At the awards ceremony, Lexington Executive Director Shaloni Winston said, “We’re so fortunate to celebrate Michelle King’s many successes, acknowledge her rightful place as an ambassador for developmental disabilities and to be at her side as she is recognized as NYSARC’s Self-Advocate of the Year.”

Rodney Frenyea has worked at Lexington in various support capacities for the past 20 years. Colleagues describe him as a strong leader who leads by example and a strong advocate for the people he supports. One colleague said, “He is a remarkable person who is adored by those who work with him and those supported by him. Rodney has such a gentle nature and is the calm in any storm. I have known Rodney for many years and he is the most creative and thoughtful person when it comes to helping make someone’s life better.” About his experience working at Lexington, Frenyea stated, “I started working at Lexington during college and I never left. I love my work supporting people and helping them to live the best lives they can.”

Victor Colon, President of Lexington's Self-Advocacy Committee was invited to provide introductory remarks at the dinner. He told his story of growing up and attending school in New York City, moving to Massachusetts and finally settling in Johnstown in April 2010 in order to attend programs at Lexington. He talked about his work in Lexington’s maintenance department, his important role in Lexington's Self-Advocacy Committee, how much he enjoys living independently in a supported apartment and the many friends he has made since he became a part of Lexington.

Congratulations to all on their much deserved recognition!

Lexington in Livability Magazine!

Lexington was recently featured in the latest issue of Fulton-Montgomery Livability magazine. To read the article, click here, or you can view the entire magazine by visiting the links below.