For Immediate Release
Contact: Kristin Tutino, (585) 258-0253

WXXI RECEIVES GRANT FROM NEW YORK STATE MUSIC FUND TO PRODUCE LOCAL MUSIC SERIES

Rochester, New York (February 23, 2006) – WXXI’s latest documentary highlights a real treasure in Upstate New York – the Erie Canal. The hour-long documentary travels from Palmyra to the Genesee River, stopping along the way to visit the people and places that make the canal an increasingly popular destination for visitors from around the world. Throughout the program canal expert and historian Thomas Grasso offers great insight into the making and the history of the canal while SUNY Brockport associate professor, accomplished musician and expert in Erie Canal songs Dr. William Hullfish provides the documentary’s soundtrack. 15 Miles on the Erie Canal premieres Tuesday, March 7 at 8 p.m. on WXXI-TV 21 (cable 11).

The Erie Canal was an engineering marvel in its time and remains so today. More than a feat of engineering, the Canal – which opened in 1825 – gave access to the rich lands and resources west of the Appalachians. The waterway brought wealth and a host of new influences to Rochester and the other towns it touched. Bonnie Hays, director of Historic Palmyra, can attest to that. She oversees the Palmyra Historical Museum, the Alling Coverlet Museum and the William Phelps General Store Museum – all products of the prosperity the waterway brought to the town. Hays, as well as Vicky Daly, Palmyra Mayor and Elder Norman Mayes, a missionary with the Hill Cumorah Church, are interviewed in the documentary.

Upon leaving Palmyra, the documentary travels by boat and oftentimes, on bicycle through the town of Macedon where the area is remote and starkly beautiful. That’s where Pete Wiles’ family began their lifelong work along the canal with a first class marina.
The next stop is Fairport where the production catches up with the Fairport Crew Team and checks out the boat house and docking facility. Viewers will then catch up with Ellen and Bill Fiero as they travel with a flotilla of C-Dories.

On the way to Pittsford, viewers will meet those who work on the canal by land and on the water. In Pittsford, viewers will get acquainted with Michael and Diana Miller, owners of Ports of Pittsford and the Seasons of Fairport, as well as Scott Likely, owner of Towpath Bike Shop. Sam Patch also makes its way on screen as Eric O’Neil, GM of Cornhill Navigation and Ted Curtis, Commodore of Cornhill Navigation talk about the packet boat and its sister boat Mary Jemison.

15 Miles on the Erie Canal’s last stop is at Lock 32, one of the area’s best kept secrets. Viewers will see New York’s only man-made white-water course, where kayakers practice in the rapid waves.

During the program breaks of 15 Miles on the Erie Canal WXXI will share with viewers Dr. Hullfish’s recording session for the documentary’s soundtrack. Hullfish, who is an Associate Professor for SUNY Brockport’s theater department and plays with the Golden Eagle String Band, was joined by musicians Eric Carlson, Bruce Brown, Dwight Garrow and Mike Mumford which was captured on video in WXXI’s radio studio.

###

WXXI is the essential, life-long educational media resource for the Greater Rochester area. WXXI puts the community first with programming that stimulates and expands thought, inspires the spirit, opens cultural horizons and promotes understanding of diverse community issues. Log on to wxxi.org for more information about our services and programs.

# # #

Press Release Index