Arts & Entertainment

FonniFest Invites Community Members to Share Their Music

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Fontilla Simmons Credits: African American Center for Cultural Development
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Fontilla Simmons was a loyal fan of the New York Yankees Credits: African American Center for Cultural Development
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ALLEGANY, NY--  FonniFest  continues to bring musicians in the Greater Olean area community together to honor the late blues singer Fontilla Timmons. 

The fourth annual event will be Sunday from 1 to 5 p.m. at the American Legion Post on Route 417.

“She was the most loved person I’ve ever known,” event co-chair Paul Psathas said.

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Timmons passed away in 2014, and FonniFest was established to celebrate her life and the musicians she played with over the years, event co-chair Della Moore said.

Timmons dedicated her life to the community, working with EMTs, the Red Cross and many other organizations, the co-chairs noted.

“And the woman could SING,” Moore emphasized.  “And play piano.”

“She was an absolute master of her craft, and she was also an absolutely wonderful human being,” Psathas agreed.

Moore and Psathas hope to play some of Timmons’s music at the event.

Psathas said the festival's open jam calls to  people of all ages and at all levels of musical ability. It brings together the “heart and soul of the musical community -- not as competitors but as friends and admirers of Ms. Timmons.”

“Everyone is welcome! Bring your instruments, and just be respectful of everybody’s talent level and everybody’s time on the bandstand,” Psathas said. 

Moore added, “That’s how Fontilla was and how she would have wanted it: open and available to everybody.” 

Attendees are encouraged to bring friends and family members as well as a dish to pass.

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