RDA holds Shark Tank style competition

Created: January 14, 2020 10:28 PM

(ABC 6 News) -- Guitarist Ben Gateno wants to bring a piece of history back to Rochester.

"It's a concert that I'm presenting, I have recorded an album of solo guitar music from the 1920s," Gateno said.


And it's a passion he wants to share with everyone in the community.

"I don't want to charge for tickets, I don't want to charge for food or anything, because I want it to be accessible to anyone in Rochester," Gateno said.

But he also hopes it draws the attention of curious minds.

"It's just really fun to bring that type of music to people who otherwise maybe wouldn't go to those events," Gateno said.

Ben was among nine competitors who took part in a shark tank style competition hosted by the Rochester Downtown Alliance. Each competitor had five minutes to convince judges that their event deserved more funding than the other. 

"I admire the people who are getting up to pitch and taking that chance for their event," said judge William Forsman. "It just shows how much they care about their event and care about increasing that vibrancy for Rochester."

Forsman, co-owner of Cafe Steam and a board chair member for RDA, said he looks at how the event increases downtown vibrancy and sustainability. As a business owner, he said additional funds can give a boost to start-up events. 

But no matter what happens, people like Gateno just hopes these events can inspire people in some way.

"I enjoy playing for people and I hope that people enjoy listening to music," Gateno said. "For someone to hear a concert like that and then want to go listen to the actual artists and listen to the actual recordings and keep those traditions alive, that's the goal."

Judges distributed up to $10,000 among participants. They awarded Friends of the Rochester Farmers Market and Agency Swell $3,000 each -- the most amount of funding.

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