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Cortney Chyme Slays at The Smith

In what is quickly becoming an anticipated annual event, local performer Cortney Chyme, along with a gathering of other local singers, and musicians, tore up the stage Sunday evening at Shea’s Smith Theater to the delight of their energetic, and enthusiastic audience. Building on the excitement of last year’s “Buffalove Revue” show, Cortney assembled an impressive cast, including some of Buffalo’s most noted musicians for this year’s show that she named her Celebration Showcase.

“We have a lot to celebrate in Buffalo right now, and the growth of the music and arts community is just one of those wonderful things,” Chyme stated in conversations prior to the event, “I want this show to really demonstrate the quality of talent we have here, and of course, the talent that we’re still developing as a community.”

The talent development she was referring to was demonstrated at the beginning of her second act, when she invited seven members of the award winning youth Vocal Performance Team from Matt’s Music for a rousing choral rendition of “I Will Follow Him” in the style of the movie Sister Act. The chorus showed quickly why they have won vocal competitions, including national, and international competitions, and have been featured at Carnegie Hall.

With a change from last year, Chyme’s set list included more theatrical, and Broadway music than the mostly rock, and pop selections from last year. As a former stage actor during her school years, Chyme punctuated the first act with an incredible demonstration of her vocal range by singing, and acting through “Glitter And Be Gay” from the Operetta Candide, a song she performed on stage in college at SUNY Brockport.

“We moved to an amazing theater, securing Shea’s Smith for this year’s show, so I felt it would be fitting to not just sing, but have more stage performance elements,” Chyme explained regarding her show selections.

Included in the show was an acrobatic performance on a trapeze, while singing the “Diamonds Are A Girl’s Best Friend / Material Girl” mashup from Moulin Rouge to open the second act, as well as drawing from her inner-Glinda as she powered through “Popular” from the hit Broadway show, Wicked.

The show opened fast with the jazz hit, “I’ve Got Rhythm,” in which Chyme was joined on stage by her long-time dance colleagues Kaitlin Principe, and Jenelle Guarnieri to perform a Broadway style tap-dance number, and accentuated by Mark Marinaccio’s seven-piece jazz accompaniment. Rarely on-stage alone, Chyme gave way to singer/songwriter Danielle Fortier for an emotional performance of her original piece called “Horizon,” and then returned to the theatrics with her first duet of the night with vocalist Zach Carr in a well acted version of “Baby, You’ve Got What It Takes.”

I believe anyone who experienced this show would agree, Chyme, and Carr definitely have what it takes.

After another performance piece duet with Carr in the second half, featuring the love-song “Elephant Love Medley,” also from Moulin Rouge, where Chyme, and Carr deftly acted out their musical debate, Carr received a standing ovation for a breathtaking delivery of “Feeling Good” by Michael Buble.

Show attendee, and local Opera performer Andrea Todaro later remarked, “Cortney truly blew the roof off Shea’s Smith Theater this evening with her trifecta of talents. Her vocal prowess, and versatility is a marvel as are her playfulness, crowd-pleasing confidence, and seamless elegance.”

That playfulness, and elegance could be seen, and felt throughout the evening. Bouncing from trapeze, to outfit changes, and from dancing, to acting, Chyme stunned the crowd, while keeping the energy, and performances rolling through the nearly two-hour show.

Opening the show, Zach Carr was joined by his cousin Jonah Krull – the acoustic duo known throughout Buffalo as Zach & Jonah, warmed up the crowd with an acoustic performance that truly set the energy for the evening in motion.

Chyme closed the show through high energy numbers, “Show Me How You Burlesque,” by Christina Aguilera, and “Last Dance,” by Donna Summer, book-ending a heartfelt dedication of “Somewhere Over The Rainbow,” for her grandparents who were also in attendance.

After the show, guests were treated to a free after-party hosted by Hearth + Press on Main Street, to celebrate Cortney’s 30th birthday.

ICYMI: upcoming events featuring some “Showcase” artists:

  • July 16th, 4:00PM – Templeton Landing Patio, Cortney Chyme will be singing with the Steve Balesteri Uptown Sound
  • August 20th, 4:00PM – Templeton Landing Patio, Cortney Chyme will be singing with the Steve Balesteri Uptown Sound
  • July 6th, 5:00PM – Gateway Harbor, North Tonawanda – Zach & Jonah
  • July 15th, 2:00PM – Western Door Bar & Grille at the Buffalo Creek Casino – Zach & Jonah
  • July 14th, 5:00PM – Ellicottville Stroll the Streets – Matt’s Music Vocal Performance Team
  • August 26th, 5:00PM – Northwest Jazz Festival, Lewiston – Mark Marinaccio and Friends Band

Follow the artists on Facebook and Sound Cloud: Zach & JonahMark Marinaccio and Friends Band, and Cortney Chyme

Danielle Fortier:

Written by Paul Fanara

Paul Fanara

Paul Fanara is a photographer, writer, and artist living in Buffalo, New York. He founded Living In The Buff Studio as his photography label in 2007, after being an active photographer for over 20 years. Now, in his tenth year of professional photography, he has expanded his talents, and interests to include film-making, and acting. Paul is currently the event photographer for the Community in Buffalo, is an active journalist in Buffalo, and published monthly in Act Dance Model Sing Magazine, based in Los Angeles. Currently, he has joined local film makers with the 48-Hour Film Project, and now writes, directs, and acts with the Buffalo Filming Group, "Welcome to Lovejoy." Find him on-line at

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