Bat McGrath Flood Benefit Concert Set for June 7

Staff Writer
The Chronicle Express
Singer Songwriter Bat McGrath

Singer-songwriter Bat McGrath is adding his considerable talents to helping the Penn Yan area recover from the storm that devastated the area last month. Proceeds from the Rochester Music Hall of Fame musician’s June 7 concert at Keuka College’s Norton Chapel will be donated to the Penn Yan Flood Relief Fund.

McGrath, whose five-decade career has included work in folk, jazz and country music, lives in Nashville, Tenn. But in the early 1970s McGrath ran a well-known Rochester bar/coffeehouse where, after hours, he and partner Don Potter held jam sessions with the likes of Chuck Mangione, Stanley Watson and Tony Levine. Toward the end of the decade, McGrath was living in Branchport, playing gigs throughout the area and writing songs for his album From the Blue Eagle, released by Amherst Records in 1976.

McGrath moved to Nashville in the late 1980s, and helped write songs for such musical luminaries as Kenny Rogers and Wynonna as he continued to write, perform and record his own songs. He was a also a frequent visitor to the greater Rochester area, where his sons were raised. When McGrath heard about the storm that ripped through Branchport and Penn Yan in mid-May, he immediately offered his help.

"I first heard about the storm damage on Facebook - saw pictures of the exact places my wife and I had visited last year in Penn Yan. I saw the flooding on the news and wanted to help the recovery. I used to live in Branchport and the fine people of the Finger Lakes area have supported my music for decades.” says McGrath. “Nashville had experienced similar damage from flooding in 2010 and I watched the community come together to heal and rebuild. I want to be part of the same kind of effort for my friends in Penn Yan and Branchport."

With the help of friends at Rochester’s Channel 13 WHAM-TV and local support from Keuka College, the Yates County Chamber of Commerce, the Arts Center of Yates County and others, a benefit concert was quickly arranged. Tickets for the 7 p.m. concert are available at Wegman’s stores in the area for a suggested donation of $20 and may be available at the door.

Proceeds from the concert and a portion of McGrath’s CD sales will go to the Penn Yan Flood Relief Fund, a local account established by the Finger Lakes Times, The Chronicle-Express, Bank of the Finger Lakes and Lyons National Bank to help with local flood recovery efforts. The Fund, which to date has raised more than $22,000, will be administered locally.

McGrath’s wife, actress Trisha Cast who, for 15 years has played “Nina” on the daytime drama The Young and the Restless, will be on hand at the concert to sign autographs.