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Young musicians bring new venue to downtown Batavia

Updated: December 24, 2012 7:05AM

BATAVIA — A stark white office space in downtown Batavia has been turned into an intimate performance venue. And the venue put together by three young Batavia musicians — with a stage, sound reinforcement and lighting — is sure to liven up the local music scene.

“Growing up in Batavia there weren’t many opportunities for us to perform locally,” Justin Peters said.

Peters, 19, his older brother Jason, 24, and their friend Nate Stephens, played together in bands in high school and now are pursuing their passion as adults. They have worked over the past year renovating 600 square feet of office space at 236 Webster St. for bands to perform.

On Saturday, The Office Batavia will debut at 6:30 p.m., with five bands performing for a $10 cover charge. This weekend’s performers will be solo acoustic guitarist Collin McGee and the bands Single Channel Stereo, As One, Hungry Mountain and Danger Boy.

Peters said their step-mother, Christina Nyborg, owner of the accounting firm Nyborg & Co. and past president of the Batavia Chamber of Commerce, originally let them use the main level space of her office building for rehearsals and recording sessions.

“We always used to refer to it as practicing at the office,” Peters said.

Peters, who is studying classical percussion at the University of Illinois, said they had envisioned turning the space into something more, but it was an idea for the future.

“We thought it would happen way down the road,” he said.

His brother Jason Peters has a degree in music performance from Northern Illinois University and is currently studying for a master’s degree in musicology at NIU. Stephens is studying audio production at the Art Institute of Schaumburg and will be engineering the sound board and recording some of the live performances.

“Performing is a huge part of being a musician, especially if you are playing in a young band,” Peters said.

“It’s a coming of age thing. You start playing in your parents’ basement or garage and your only audience are your parents and the neighbors. Getting out there and performing in front of your peers gives you a huge perspective.”

Peters said they expect the music will be the primary focus for the audiences because no alcoholic beverages will be served.

Already they’ve created a buzz on Facebook, and bands have contacted them interested in performing in the space.

The venue has the ambiance of an intimate box theater. The vaulted ceiling and walls are painted in indigo blue, and the dome windows are covered with sound reinforcement drapery.

The office space is an addition to a 1920 home that once was the parsonage for the church next door.

Last summer, the city awarded a $10,314 grant for improvements on the building, including an alarm system, two new exit doors and electric work, controls and stage lighting. The total project was $20,629.

Peters said they will schedule future shows when their school schedules permit.

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