December 2017 Newsletter

The Sportsmen’s Americana Music Foundation wishes you peace, love, happiness and good health during this holiday season. Thank you so much for your love and support.

Please stop by our store for your holiday shopping. Along with our merchandise, we’re selling memberships to the Foundation. They make a great gift! The store will be open this evening, 12/12/17.

Peace and Love,

Angela Hastings, Director of Membership

Ticket Giveaway Opportunities For Our Active Members

Three shows this month are being offered by our partners:

December 28th Big Martha: A tribute to the Allman Brothers Band, Sportsmen’s Tavern

Big Martha

January 8, 2018 Elvis’ Birthday Bash with the Lustre Kings, Sportsmen’s Tavern

Lustre Kings

January 13, 2018 Rumpke Mountain Boys, Buffalo Ironworks

Rumpke Mountain Boys

Email Bob McLennan by Friday, December 22nd at 11 PM to enter your name in one of the drawings to win a pair of tickets.


Buffalo’s “The Last Waltz”
A SAM Foundation Production

Last Waltz LiveOn Friday night November 17th, Asbury Hall at Babeville, Ani DiFranco’s restored church at Delaware and Tupper, was magically turned into Winterland in San Francisco in 1976.  Nearly a year ago I started meeting with Doug Yeomans with the idea we could pull off an unprecedented show of a lifetime right here in Buffalo.  We watched the movie over and over, read books for research, got a couple ideas from others and started putting our thoughts into action.  The SAM Foundation voted to proceed with the event, we lined up the date at Babeville, Tom Makar offered his theatre experience and over the summer we started conducting auditions.

Many WNY artists stopped in to share their talent and a lot of difficult decisions had to be made.  Eventually we put the cast together and rehearsals got underway.  Over a week before the show we realized we had a sellout, and the final rehearsals right in the Babeville space were very exciting. The Band and the Special Guests prepared their costumes, adapted the mannerisms of the musicians they were portraying and perfected their performances.  The Sound and Lighting professionals were at the top of their game.  Anna Kapechuck and the Babeville staff were extremely helpful, Jason Hall from the SAM Foundation was finalizing the plans to film the event and our photographers were ready to go.

Last Waltz LiveThe night of the show was everything I hoped it could be.  The venue was perfect, the crowd was incredibly supportive and enthusiastic and as the show began, you could feel the excitement and anticipation in the air.  And this cast of Buffalo and WNY artists and musicians put on an extraordinary and electrifying performance that I would put up against anybody else, anywhere, anytime.  I cannot thank them enough for making this dream come true.  I could go on and on about each individual, the details and nuances of their inspiring performances, but I’ll just say for now that I was completely thrilled and overwhelmed by what happened at Buffalo’s “The Last Waltz” and the performances of every single musician.

If you were lucky enough to be there, you know that this cast listed below put on a show that you’ll remember for the rest of your life.  In the near future, many photos will be placed on the SAM Foundation website and we’ll update you on the filming when we can.

Robert McLennan
SAM Foundation

Last Waltz Cast

The Band:

Doug Yeomans:  Robbie Robertson
Pete Holquin:  Levon Helm
Jim Whitford:  Rick Danko
Ron Davis:  Garth Hudson
Jim Ehinger:  Richard Manuel

Special Guests:

Buck Quigley: Ronnie Hawkins
Tom Makar: Michael McClure
Dan Delano: Dr. John
Jerry Hall: Neil Young
Sharon Bailey: Mavis Staples
Rod Nickson: Pops Staples
Joyce Wilson Nixon: Cleotha Staples
Erin Benning: Yvonne Staples
Michael McGuire: Neil Diamond
Leah Zicari: Joni Mitchell
Ted Cacciatore: Paul Butterfield
Eric Crittenden: Muddy Waters
Frank Grizanti: Eric Clapton
Joelle Labert: Emmylou Harris
Mark Norris: Van Morrison
Kevin Cox: Lawrence Ferlinghetti
Bill Smith: Bob Dylan
Phil Knoerzer: Narrator
Matt Harris: Sax
Joe Parisi: Trumpet
Al Jaenecki: Trombone
Harry Fackelman: Sax
Brothers Blue: Charlie Coughlin, Matt Sperber, Ben Haravitch as Rick, Robbie and Richard

Doug Yeomans: Musical Director
Robert McLennan: SAM Foundation
Anna Kapechuk: Babeville
Tom Makar: Stage Manager, Theatrical Advisor
Dennis Fura: Sound
Ken Maggs: Lighting
Peter Sloane: Photography
Jeff Schaller: Black and White Photography
Jason Hall: Video Production

Produced by: Doug Yeomans and Robert McLennan

Musicians of Buffalo M.O.B show at the Tralf

December 8th, 2017


This past Friday, musician extraordinaire Bobby Lebel put on a Christmas show at the Tralf with proceeds going to our SAM Foundation.

GUESTS INCLUDED: Talas v2, Carina and the Six String Preacher, Phil Sims 19 Piece MOB jazz orchestra, Bobby Lebel Orchestra, Mick Hayes, RIshon Odel Northington, Donna Kerr, Lucy Bell and more. And of course Santa Claus!

Thanks so much Bobby! The program was fantastic from the music to the tributes to the videos – just everything. The enthusiasm and spirit was pouring out of the musicians and the audience.

New Talas

The New Talas

American Repertory Theater of Western New York

330 Amherst Street

HellcabART is one of our discount sponsors for our members and this is a reminder that they offer $10 tickets (1/2 off) to SAMF active members. Their upcoming show, “Hellcab” by Will Kern runs from November 30th to December 16th. I have to warn you, they sell out every show so get your tickets early.

Next up for ART is “Jesus Christ Superstar”. This show runs from March 8th to March 31st.

A Thank You Message from Ana Vafai

Director of Orchestras at the Buffalo Academy for Visual and Performing Arts in Buffalo, NY:

I’d like to Thank the Sportsmen’s Americana Music Foundation for their incredibly generous and outstanding donation to the strings department at BAVPA. It brings joy to me that Buffalo has such support and boundless appreciation for the arts, for education and a passionate sense of community which keeps growing. The foundation has shown these values by contributing $500 to the orchestra at Arts Academy to help supply new strings, books, music and other classroom essentials for the students. A huge Thank You and infinite appreciation goes out to the S.A.M.F. Please look forward to the strings concert we will be giving at the Sportsman’s to show our gratitude for their gift in the upcoming month of February.


Ana Vafai and The Buffalo Academy for Visual and Performing Arts faculty, students and parents

Sportsmen’s AMF Education Update

SAMF is wrapping up educational programs for fall 2017.

Your Foundation was very pleased to have been able to launch a record, four educational programs for the fall season 2017. Doug Yeomans was teaching songs and building diddley bows with the students attending the after school program at the Boys and Girls Club of Holland NY; Katie Clark and Mark Panfil have the kids gettin’ very tuneful at the Valley Community Center and Alan Whitney and Tim Pitcher have been rockin’ out with the boys and girls attending the Building Brighter futures after school program at PS#198, The International Preparatory School. And last but certainly not least, Jim Brucato has been getting a group of adults who will always be kids at heart, up to speed on classic acoustic blues, finger picking-very cool!

The Rock ‘n Roll workshop was scheduled to hold its final session for the season on Monday, December 11th. Katie’s Americana Music Appreciation program will be concluding Tuesday, December 19th at 6:00pm with a recital for friends, family and staff at the Valley Community Center at 93 Leddy St. near the new Solar City plant. You are all very welcome to stop in for what’s sure to be a lovely performance with pizza and ice cream to follow!

SAMF Education

Fifty students attended the programs just this fall, and for the year that number is well over a hundred. For 2018 The Foundation is looking to keep the educational activities going and growing especially in the underserved communities. If you know of anyone who would be interested in helping with our programs please contact the Foundation through our website.

Don Nelson
Vice President, SAMF


A review of Stephane Wremble by Kevin Cox

Hier soir sur le boulevard, le guitariste incomparable Stephane Wrembel rempli la nuit avec l’esprit tzigane, musings classique et la musique qui traversait la culture Français. Son début solo hypnotiser….
Oops! I traveled to Paris in my mind while reading my notes re:Stephane Wremble and his band at la taverne Sportsmens November 10th. (Excuse the murderous translation)!

Once again, the legendary venue brought world class-world music to a group of Buffalo music lovers. A form of Americana perhaps, let’s call it Gypsicana or Francicana, but above all it was sublime mastery of the guitar, the guitars, the bass, the dynamics of musical cohesion, of effortless communication between the playing masters.

Stephane WrembleStefane, or “Steve” as he asked me to call him, walked out on stage, sat down with his guitar alone. (This was the beginning of a night long comical word play about American and French languages). He made some easy humor, saying “Boofalo”, then “Buflo”, then “beautiful lake “ as he begins IMPROV #1, a haunting, beautiful sweeping plunging solo, soft at times, then powerful, simple and incredibly complex; so very clean. There was rare silence in the Sportsmens room. We were adjusting our educated ears for something special, different in form if not skill. You immediately felt the gypsy guitar presence of Django Reinhardt.

As a young boy in Fontainebleau, France, the 4 year old Wremble began playing piano, winning prizes before taking up the guitar at age 16 to play rock and roll. While attending The American School of Modern Music, Stefane went to a Django Rheinhardt festival in Samois, France and was inspired to study arranging, jazz, and contemporary classical music. After graduating he received a scholarship to the Berklee College of Music. He has released several albums and is one of the premier Classical (Gypsy) guitarists and composers in the world. His music caught the ear of Woody Allen, as he was featured on the soundtrack for “Vicky Christina Barcelona” and composed the theme “Bistro Fada” for Allen’s film “Midnight in Paris”.

IMPROV #2 is a dreamy, complex cloud of music. Master Wremble is showing off because he can. Guitarist Thor Jensen joins for IMPROV #3, adding another layer of excellence. The musical conversation between these two masters is a beautiful whirlwind. Comfortable and easy; they dance together like old lovers. Then Ari Fulman master bass player joins the magnificence 3 songs later and the trio and audience begins to stir, there are ‘whoops’ and’ hollars’ and ‘whistle’s’ and as the song ends the applause is loud, some begin to stand. Drummer Nick Anderson joins the party, shuttling a gypsy beat with mallets and brushes. One of my beautiful companions Jackie says: “He is layering the stage like his guitar play”. A cool, wise insight into this tight interwoven performance. You can almost see the colorful strands coming of each instrument; twisting together, separating, flying, filling la taverne Sportsmens with music from a gypsy campfire.

Jackie’s remark (seconded by the ever lovely Sandy) is particularly apt as Master Wremble talks about the “The Little Prince”, the beautiful fantasy book by French author Antoine de Saint -Exupery. He says, “We must come back to the light, a child dreams his songs”. Wremble wraps classical music, literature and French culture into his conversation. The next composition is from Django Reinhardt and it takes flight off into the night. There are marvelous passionate solos from both guitarists. The bass player is incredible, stunning actually! The musicians all have a look of joy, sometimes closing their eyes as their fingers seduce the intruments. The night is filled with a raw eroticism, the gypsy soul gets under your skin and makes you want to dance. The band grows into a frenzy, almost out of control, the building appears to be rocking. The sheer joy on the faces of the musicians is mirrored in the smiling faces of the audience. This swinging jazz music lights up memories, reminds one of romance and love. I think of Chopin, classical beauty, but also the guitar genius of a John McLaughlin or Al Dimeola. Wremble flashes a peace sign, the crowd stands and roars and the show is over. The lovely, intense music lingers for a long, long time.

Como salgo en la noche me imagino a la Torre Eiffel subiendo por el río Niágara…

Yes, there it is: The Eiffel Tower rising along the Niagara River.


If you are an Active member and do not have a SAMF membership card, please email me at If you are unsure if you’re an Active member, please don’t hesitate to ask.

NOTE: To receive discounts, you must show your membership card. To enter to win tickets, you must be an Active member. And as always, please don’t hesitate to contact me at the email address above.


The discounts we’ve arranged at this time are:

  • Sportsmen’s Tavern – The first Tuesday of every month, all members who show their card at the door will get free admission to The Twang Gang.
  • Buffalo Ironworks – 10% off all food items
  • Allentown Music – 10% off all regular items
  • Smolen/Bonghi CPA – 10% off all tax preparation and accounting services
  • Korona Jewelry – 2 discounts
    • Watch batteries installed for $5 instead of $7.
    • 25% off the regular price of anything in stock.
  • Ellicott Small Animal Hospital 30% off regular exam
  • Flying Bison Brewery – 10% off
  • Buffalo History Museum – buy one regular admission and get one free.
  • American Reperatory Theater – $10 tickets (1/2 price)
  • Red Thread Theater – $15 ticket (regularly $25)
  • MusicalFare Theater – $5 off General Admiss. online. Enter SPORTSMEN in coupon code. Limit 4
  • Byrd House Restaurant – 10% off food
  • Arts at the Bakery – 10% off admission
  • Buffalo Distilling – 10% off food and drinks
  • Kissing Bridge Discount Pass – look for emails from SAMF for discounts throughout the year.

Author ch0yx

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