Clifton Park’s Talia Denis performed National Anthem at Madison Square Garden

Clifton Park resident Talia Denis has a budding musical career that got even bigger this past weekend when she performed the National Anthem at the start of Sunday’s New York Rangers game.

Talia Denis performs at Madison Square Garden - ReBath of Albany

Talia Denis, from Clifton Park, performed the National Anthem at the Ranger’s game this past Sunday. Photo credit: official Talia Denis Instagram.

The teen  learned all the correct lyrics and rehearsed the difficult melody in preparation for her performance at 5 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 19 at Madison Square Garden to kick off the Rangers vs. San Jose Sharks game. The game was televised, giving many of her hometown fans the opportunity to see her.

Talia Denis, 13 has been composing, singing, and recording since she put out her first demonstration single at age eight. That effort led to her recording her first real record in 2011 with New York City producers Zak Soulman and Michael Visceglia. From that effort her talent began to get recognized by a wider audience and the increased recognition led directly to the offer to perform before Sunday’s Rangers’ game.

“It all came about as the result of Talia’s growing popularity,” said her father and manager Stan Denis. “We were contacted late last week by Madison Square Garden. They asked if Talia would sing for both the Rangers and the Knicks. I think the offer has a lot to do with her approaching a million views on You Tube. It’s the momentum.”

The performance before the Knicks game has yet to be finalized.

Stan Denis said his daughter will perform the song live, a cappella, wearing a Rangers jersey. The performance will be compensated and the entire family also will enjoy food, beverages, and tickets to the game.

“They’re expecting 25,000 people at the game plus the TV audience,” Stan Denis said. “It’s a big deal. Rangers fans are real fanatics. It’ll definitely be the largest audience that has ever seen Talia perform.”

Denis said he and his daughter checked out the song’s official lyrics and he had Talia sing it for him several times before he accepted the offer.

“She’s been asked to sing the National Anthem many times in the past and we’ve always refused,” he said. “But you can’t turn this down. Madison Square Garden is the Holy Grail. It’s a world renowned venue.”

Denis said the offer proves to him that Talia’s musical skills are seen as having value by others and also lets he and his wife Kimberly know that the work they’ve done in recent years with their daughter’s musical talent is working.

“Singing the National Anthem is not something Talia normally does,” Denis said. “She’s a pop rock singer. The offer shows me she’s on the national map. Singing the National Anthem at Madison Square Garden is an honor most people will never get. When they ask you, you have to say yes.”

Denis said his daughter understands there will be a big echo in the hall and that there will be a vocal delay. She is already preparing and looking forward to the afternoon rehearsal. And she is learning all the words.

“I didn’t want her to be one of those foolish Americans who didn’t know the words,” Stan Denis said. “This is big. It’ll be on TV. You know someone out there will hear it if you miss a word or make a mistake and I didn’t want that to happen.”

In 2014 Talia Denis released her latest full length album, “So Alive”.

Information for this post came from The Saratogian.

DIY Friday: Halloween Mummy Candles

Halloween is just weeks away and I’m sure many of your kids are very excited to dress up and go trick or treating. Many of you may be looking for fun Halloween crafts to do with your kids to satisfy their Halloween excitement.

I found this video on how to make this adorable mummy candle on Youtube and I thought what an easy project to do with young children.

For this project you will need:

  • Mason jars or canning jars
  • An old white pillow case
  • a hot glue gun
  • some googly eyes
  • scissors

First you will want to glue your googly eyes right to the jar using your hot glue gun. Then cut your pillow case into strips. They don’t have to be perfect because you are going to overlap them. Put a little glue on the jar and begin wrapping the fabric around the jar. You will want to add some glue in a few other spots to make sure it sticks.

Tip: Don’t wrap the fabric too thick because you want the candle light to shine through.

Check out the helpful step-by-step video here:

Hope you enjoy this craft and have a Happy Halloween!



Celebrating 75 Years of Marriage for Guilderland’s Couple

Joseph and Sarah Hrachian have been married for 75 years, and they have the mighty old pipe organ at the former St. Peter Armenian Apostolic Church on Fifth Avenue in Troy to thank for bringing them together.

You could say it was a match made in heaven, or at least the celestial upper register of ecclesiastical music.

Guilderland Couple Celebrate 75 years of marriage - ReBath of Albany Blog

98-year-old Joseph Hrachian and his wife, Sarah, 94, who recently celebrated their 75th wedding anniversary, sit on their couch in their home on Thursday, Sept. 25, 2014 in Guilderland, N.Y. (Lori Van Buren / Times Union) Photo: Lori Van Buren

In 1935, Adrena Hrachian, Joseph’s older sister, was the organist at the church and 15-year-old Sarah Kenosian was her assistant who turned the sheet music pages during Sunday services.

“My sister told me there was this pretty young girl working with her, but I said she was too young,” recalled Joseph Hrachian, 98.

His sister countered: “But she’s growing up, she’s beautiful, and she’s from a good family.”

Hrachian finally relented and went to meet Sarah. “My sister was right,” he recalled. “She was beautiful and utterly wonderful. I was hooked.”

And was it love at first sight for the future bride?

“I liked him because he had a car,” recalled Sarah Hrachian, 94. “Anyone who had a car in Watervliet in those days was special.”

They got married on Sept. 3, 1939. He was 23 and she was 19. Theirs was a chaste four-year courtship. He bought her a gold cross necklace for her 17th birthday.

“But our first child was born nine months and 20 minutes after the wedding,” he said with a roar of laughter.

These days, she’s hard of hearing and he has to shout across the room and often repeat his punch lines for her. He does not seem to mind.

On the couch, posing for a photographer, he needed no prodding to caress her hands and give her a loving kiss on the lips.

Times were tough in 1939 for both families — working-class Armenian immigrants who fled persecution from the Turks and settled in Watervliet — and they held a double wedding with Hrachian’s sister, Vergin, to reduce costs. The groom’s mother made all the food for the reception, including the Armenian delicacies and desserts.

But when the wedding flowers arrived and the florist demanded pay for the $25 bill before he would release the arrangements, nobody had the cash.

“I was so sad when I saw him taking the flowers away,” Sarah recalled. Just then, the best man, Ernie Kershaw, stepped forward, pulled out his wallet and paid the florist without saying a word or making the family feel ashamed.

“Ernie was a wonderful guy and my friend for life,” Hrachian said.

The Hrachians sat together in their Guilderland home recently and reflected on the remarkable longevity of their union that has produced three children, five grandchildren and eight great-grandchildren and a tight-knit family that still centers around their church, St. Peter’s, which moved from Troy to Watervliet. Joseph Hrachian, whose given first name is Suren, was a longtime trustee of the church and assisted its construction.

The couple graduated from Watervliet High School, he in 1934 and she in 1938.

He is a gregarious fellow possessed of a sharp wit and deadpan humor. He owned dry cleaning businesses: Master Cleaners in Albany and Guilderland and later Executive Cleaners at Stuyvesant Plaza. His wife raised their kids and worked part time on bookkeeping for the business.

Both are in relatively good health and are still in their home, with daily visits from their children. They are considering moving into an assisted-living center early next year because their large yard is a challenge to maintain and his doctor advised him to stop chopping firewood a few years ago.

“We look great and nothing hurts,” he said. He added that his stylish cravat is less a fashion statement and more to keep the chill off a stiff neck.

“Oh, c’mon, that’s a little much,” said his wife, who uses a walker and has been diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease.

She is the great leveler to his emotions, which he wears on his dress-shirt sleeve.

He gave a speech for the 100 or so guests at their 75th wedding anniversary party on a recent Sunday, which was held at their church. His basement is filled with an archives of his speeches, which he gave at every birthday and special family function.

“He missed his calling. He should have been a minister with all his sermons,” joked their daughter, Lucille. “In all seriousness, they’ve been wonderful parents.”

“They’ve been so supportive to everyone in the family,” said their daughter, Barbara. “They held us all up and they’ve been the hub. Everyone gathers at their house for every big event.”

For more than 50 years, their mother made a large family supper each Sunday with spaghetti and meatballs and the sweet, sugary scent of katah, an Armenian coffee cake.

“After 50 years I quit and I never made spaghetti and meatballs again,” she said with a satisfied shrug.

Hrachian noted that the couple was married on the same day that Britain and France declared war on Germany in response to Hitler’s invasion of Poland.

“Our marriage was a glorious battle ever since, which she usually won,” the groom said with a laugh.

Much like life itself, his stories are full of asides and detours and digressions, anything but linear.

“I could talk and talk and talk,” he said. And one is inclined to believe him.

This story was originally published in The Times Union.

Stop by the Henry St. Harvest Festival Sept. 21

Head over to Henry Street for the 5th Annual Henry Street Harvest Festival! Celebrate autumn with local businesses, vendors, festive food, live entertainment, and activities for kids!

Henry Street will be closed from Lake Avenue to CarolHenry St. Harvesst Festival 2014 -  ReBath of Albanyine Street. Entertainment includes live music, a dance performance, seasonal snacks, pumpkin decorating, face painting, a dunking booth, and a live broadcast from 101.3 The Jockey.

Henry Street Harvest Festival is one of Saratoga Springs’ most fun family events, and each year brings bigger crowds! Last year more than 1,000 people came out and supported this event. This year will be even bigger!

The 2014 Henry Street Harvest Festival also features a special memorial tribute for Mana Behan, a beloved community member, yogi, and healer, organized by One Roof Holistic Health Center.

For More Information Call: 518-450-1273
Information for this post came from:

Cancer patient, fiancé prepare to wed in Schenectady

Jahaysia Graham gets some help from her mother, LaToy Sheffield, ...

Jahaysia Graham gets some help from her mother, LaToy Sheffield, as she tries on wedding dresses Saturday at Bridal Gallery by Yvonne in Latham. Graham’s 4-year-old sister, Niyari Crippen, also joined them on the outing.

When Jathyis LaJuett got down on his knee to propose to Jahaysia Graham a few weeks ago, the thoughts racing through his mind were likely the same any guy would have at a moment like that.

“I didn’t know how she would react or what the answer was going to be or how her mom or anybody would feel,” the 20-year-old explained.

But he had something much more troubling to consider: Jahaysia is battling cancer and is under hospice care.

The two met about four years ago, when Jahaysia’s family moved across the street from Jathyis’ mother in Schenectady. Jathyis said he thought Jahaysia was wonderful from day one.

“She’s the sweetest, most beautiful [girl],” he said. “She’s very generous, loving, caring, everything you could think about. She is, in my eyes, perfect, too. I look past the sickness. You know, it’s not really about that.”

A little over a week ago, he popped the question.

“It wasn’t really nowhere special,” he lamented. “It was at home.”

But Jahaysia didn’t seem to mind. She was very surprised and emotional, he recalled.

Her answer was “Yes.”

Jahaysia, who’s 19, was diagnosed with osteosarcoma in January 2013. Her mother, LaToy Sheffield, said the disease has made her middle child weak and short of breath. Fluid is building up in her daughter’s abdomen and must be drained.

The good news is, Jahaysia is in love, and there is a wedding in the works. Sheffield is trying hard to focus on that.

Aware of how serious Jahaysia’s illness is, the newly engaged couple decided to plan their wedding quickly. It will be held Friday.

When The Community Hospice staff got wind of their plans, they offered to help organize the event and support it with money from the organization’s Wish Fund. Fueled by donations from the community, the fund is tapped to help people achieve their goals and dreams while under hospice care.

The Community Hospice put up a Facebook post about the upcoming wedding Saturday night, complete with pictures of Jahaysia trying on wedding gowns. The post went viral.

“I’d say our average post gets maybe 80, a couple hundred ‘likes.’ That’s our norm,” said Laurie Mante, executive director of The Community Hospice.

Within 13 hours, the post about the wedding had already received about 150,000 likes and donation offers were flooding in from all over the country. As of Tuesday afternoon, the post had racked up more than 346,000 likes and had been shared close to 12,000 times.

“We were overwhelmed at how much people were just willing to jump in and be part of it. We had people offering to bake cakes who were in Colorado,” Mante said.

A woman who owns a children’s boutique in New Jersey is sending a flower girl dress. Someone in Arizona is shipping a guest book and ring bearer’s pillow. A donor in Florida is making personalized wedding favors. Local businesses have stepped up to contribute attire, food, rings, flowers, entertainment, tents, chairs and more.

Jathyis said the outpouring of support has blown his mind. Initially, the couple had envisioned a small wedding with maybe 40 or 50 guests.

“But once we put it on Facebook, everybody wanted to come and see and is excited. A lot of people will be there,” he said.

Jathyis said he’s excited, too, but mostly for his bride-to-be.

“She’s getting everything that she’s wanted, and she’s happy,” he said.

Sheffield said she’s very pleased with the young man her daughter has chosen to marry.

“Just to be the age that he is and come into my daughter’s life and just want to be a part of enjoying every moment, every day, every minute with her, rather than to be, you know, going off and doing what other 20-year-olds do at this time and age, I just really appreciate him,” she said. “He’s with her 24-7. I feel like he almost postponed his life to be there for her, and he doesn’t even take a second thought. He doesn’t even bat an eye at it.

“I’ve been with the both of them when she’s in the hospital. He just constantly rubs her and asks her if she’s OK and kisses her on the cheek and calls her beautiful. It’s amazing.”

This story was originally published for The Daily Gazette.

DIY Friday: Build Your Own Tree Bench

DIY Friday Tips from ReBath of Albany - Tree Bench

How to build your own wrap around tree bench.

The hot, humid days of summer are winding down so it’s the perfect time of year for a backyard project that will last for years to come.

See the big tree in your backyard? Is there anything exciting about the way you use it in your decorating? Sure, you can plant some flowers around it or maybe you have an old tree swing from when the kids were little. Why not give that tree a new purpose?

Build a wrap around tree bench so you can sit under it comfortably and read a book or chat with the neighbors.

This video we found has a great tutorial, with easy to follow instructions. You will need a few tools for this project: miter saw, straight edge, 1/4″ spacers, drill, level, can of sealer nuts and washers.

Before heading to the store, take a look at the video to see what you need. Then come back and watch it a few more times to make sure you know exactly what the plan is. This project may take a little bit of know-how, but it’s not too expensive. The one in the video cost only $125.

Donor makes second major gift to The Hyde, in Glens Falls

At The Hyde Collection, in Glens Falls, the donors keep on giving.

Earlier this year, the museum received 128 photographs by 14 significant photographers donated by former presidential adviser George Stephanopoulos.

New to The Hyde Collection in Glens Falls - ReBath of Albany

Jules Chéret, French (1836-1932), Les Tziganes (The Gypsies), ca. 1888, color lithograph, 13 3/16 x 9 in., Gift to the Sparling Family Collection, 2014.2.17

Last week, Director Charles Guerin announced the second major gift of the year, 94 items in an extensive collection of nineteenth-century French etchings, lithographs, engravings, woodcuts, and books, donated by Tobin Sparling, a Texas law school professor who graduated from South Glens Falls High School.

“What’s particularly cool about this is that Tobin is a professional, so he has been able to collect a thorough spread that covers the 19th century of French print-making. It’s really a coherent, complete collection,” Guerin said. “In terms of putting together an exhibition, a lot of the work is already done for us.”

Guerin said there will be an exhibition of some of the Sparling collection will be shown in the Hoopes Gallery from mid-January to Mid-March. An exhibition of some of the Stephanopolous photographs will follow in the Hoopes Gallery from Mid-March to Mid-May.

The last several years have included major steps forward for The Hyde, which recently turned 50. It got national attention for its Georgia O’Keeffe exhibition, “Modern Nature: Georgia O’Keeffe and Lake George.” A recently completed Ansel Adams exhibition has been noted nationally, and in 2015 the museum will host a major show of Rembrandt’s works.

“It’s a very dynamic place, and that’s what really appeals to me,” Sparling said. “It’s a very different place from when I was a child. It was very insulated and insular. I am really impressed with what it has become. I appreciate the works they have, and I like that it also has a real outreach to the community, through its children’s programs and its programs for the elderly and others.”

This is Sparling’s second major donation to The Hyde.

In 2008, Sparling donated 30 Old Master prints surveying the major printmaking styles and techniques in Northern and Southern Europe from the fifteenth to the eighteenth centuries.

Those prints were featured in the exhibition Old Master Prints from the Sparling Family Collection in 2009.

Two years ago, Sparling lent 23 nineteenth-century prints to the exhibition Toulouse-Lautrec & Company: Prints from the Belle Époque. Many of those works are included in the most recent gift.

“It is a pleasure to donate to The Hyde, which not only evokes wonderful childhood memories, but also goes from strength to strength and gets better and better,” Sparling said in a statement. “I hope this gift will encourage others to support what I believe is one of the crown jewels of upstate New York.”

A resident of Houston and a graduate of Dartmouth College, and Columbia University, Sparling also holds graduate degrees in library science and art history. Sparling is a professor of Law at South Texas College of Law, specializing in legal research and writing

He made the donation in memory of his parents Leon H. and Marie Buttlar Sparling.

The gift includes works by Pierre Bonnard, Félix Bracquemond, Jules Chéret, Eugene Delacroix, Maurice Denis, Henri Evenepoel, Jean-Louis Forain, Théodore Géricault, Henri-Gabriel Ibels, Alphonse Mucha, Paul Serusier, Théophile-Alexandre Steinlen, Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, and Félix Vallotton, among others.

Prior to getting his law degree, he worked in the rare books departments of the Yale Center for British Art and at the print collection of the New York Public Library.

That was where his interest in French prints developed.

But, as Guerin points out, he has kept his connection to his home region.

“He recognizes how important The Hyde is to this community,” Guerin said. “He’s in Houston, and there are probably a half-dozen places he could have donated to.”

With Curator Erin Coe having left the museum to finish her PhD., Guerin will coordinate both the Sparling and Stephanopolous.

“We want to get them up quickly,” he said. “We don’t like to get art and have it sit in the dark in a storage room.”

This story was originally published on Post Star.

Altamont Tub to Shower Conversion Beautiful

Altamont bathroom before - ReBath of Albany

The Altamont bathroom before ReBath of Albany’s install.

The installation team was in Altamont this past Tuesday, remodeling a bathroom for a woman who needed to get rid of her tub. After struggling to climb in and out the past few years, she finally decided to get a walk-in shower.

Judy stopped by our showroom one day and met with a member of our courteous staff. She had many questions such as, who would be doing the installation, could we help her finance the job and how quickly could we install it.

We answered all of her questions in the showroom and set her up for a free estimate.

Later that week, Frank visited her home and measured her bathroom for a walk-in shower. She was so happy to finally have the project underway.

This past week, our installers arrived at 7 a.m. and set right to work. Judy tried to offer them some lunch, but they just kept working!

Altamont shower after - ReBath of Albany

Altamont shower after ReBath of Albany’s install.

By 2:30 p.m. one of the installers put on the finishing touches and the other went over the warranty information with her. She was ecstatic that the entire process was so simple. All she had to do was pick out the colors and ReBath of Albany did the rest.

Great job guys! We love adding to the number of happy customers we have!


93-year-old Greenfield WW II vet, Musician Shares a Rich Life

Jim Smith Sr., of Greenfield, sometimes has difficulty smiling when reflecting back on his life.

Greenfield Resident, vet, musician shares life story - ReBath of Albany

Jim Smith, a 93-year-old World War II Marine veteran, country singer and longtime area resident of Greenfield, enjoys a life of “fun, laughter and tears” with his ever-changing musical family. Mike McMahon photos – The Saratogian

It’s understandable for the 93-year-old U.S. Marine who fought in some of World War II’s bloodiest battles – Guadalcanal, Bougainville, Guam and Iwo Jima, which produced the iconic figure of Marines raising the American flag atop Mount Suribachi.

Yet the longtime Greenfield resident has put smiles on the faces of countless others as a well-liked country and western musician whose career included television appearances and performances with some of the country’s most famous bands.

“I knew Roy Rogers and I sang with Sons of the Pioneers,” Smith said. “I met them one night at the old Rialto Theater in Glens Falls. As a result of that I sang at the Triple C Chuckwagon Ranch in Tucson, Arizona.”

A Passaic, N.J., native, Smith began visiting Saratoga County with his family as a child and moved to Greenfield for good in the mid-1930s, during the Great Depression. Despite their suburban roots, the Smiths were country folks at heart and had a deep love for country music, with each member of the family playing guitar, fiddle and banjo.

During a Sunday morning horseback riding trip, his innocent fun-loving world was changed forever.

“My uncle, Leo Smith, had a 1938 Chevy coupe with a Motorola radio hanging from the dash,” Smith said. “That’s how I found out Pearl Harbor had been attacked. We rode home in complete silence.”

A few weeks later, he was one of the young men standing in a long line outside a U.S. Marine recruiting station, and within a year’s time he was off to the South Pacific. His worst ordeal came toward the war’s end, at Iwo Jima where his company saw action from Feb. 23 to March 16, 1945.

“We lost more than 7,000 men there,” Smith said. “All I can see is those guys coming off those Higgins Boats and walking into a hail of lead. When I think about that I don’t have anything to smile about.”

In his memoir, “Jim Smith’s American Stories,” he recalls his homecoming, taking a Greyhound bus from New York to Saratoga Springs where he arrived in the pre-dawn hours of a June day in 1945.

“As we pulled into Saratoga the streets were deserted,” Smith wrote. “The bus driver stopped on the corner of Lake Avenue and Broadway. We shook hands before I got off the bus and he said, ‘Thanks for being a Marine.’ “

The final leg of his journey was a cab ride back to Greenfield Center where Smith began the process of starting his life over. He and his wife Rose (Bruchac) were married the next year at St. Joseph’s Church in Greenfield.

Music played a large role in Smith’s return to normalcy.

His first band was called the Three S’s – featuring Smith, his brother Tom, and their good friend Tom Sullivan. The group performed throughout the area and gained recognition with auditions on radio stations from well-known WGY, in Schenectady, to tiny WIRE in Lake Luzerne. In the post-war years, dude ranches became extremely popular throughout the North Country. Realizing they needed a more Western-sounding name, in 1949 the band changed its name to The Frontiermen.

Their highlight was a trip to New York City to audition for the Arthur Godfrey Talent Show, on CBS Television. To their disappointment, another performer won the contest for the right to be on the show.

“The years that followed were full of fun, laughter and tears with my ever-changing musical family,” Smith said.

Recently, he took part in a “Ranches, Rodeos and Wranglers” weekend held at Painted Pony Ranch, in Luzerne, an event organized to preserve the history and culture of North Country dude ranches.

Smith doesn’t perform much any more, but he’s still an avid storyteller. In 2001, nearly 60 years after joining the Marines, he finally earned his high school diploma during Saratoga Springs graduation ceremonies.

The history test came easy to him.

“I ended up with a 92 on the exam,” Smith said, smiling. “I had lived a lot of the questions.”

This story originally appeared in the Saratogian.

Shower Rehab in Westerlo Complete

Our A+ crew, worked on a shower replacement in Westerlo yesterday.

The homeowners, Annette and her daughter Stephanie wanted to redo a worn out fiberglass shower unit. They visited their local Home Depot and saw the ReBath of Albany display. After falling in love with the product and the color, they met with our estimator George.

George visited their home on a Friday afternoon and told them all about the ReBath process for remodeling bathrooms. They were happy to hear that we never cover over old problems, but fix them instead, by gutting the shower area to the studs. They were also happy to have someone check the plumbing.

Westerlo shower replacement - ReBath of Albany

Westerlo shower replacement, completed in one day using acrylic materials, by ReBath of Albany.

Annette and Stephanie chose the color that they saw in the Home Depot, Sonoran Granite. They chose a biscuit base, two matching shelves, a chrome faucet and a hand-held shower.

A few weeks after their meeting with George, the production manager called to schedule their install. Later that week, Shawn and Chris arrived promptly at 7 a.m. and explained everything they would be working on. Then, they got right to work.

By 2:30 p.m. Chris let the homeowners know that the job was all done and they could check it out.

Stephanie and Annette were very happy with the finished product. The new color brightened up their bathroom and the whole thing looked gorgeous. They are very happy they chose ReBath of Albany for this project.