Singing to stop cancer

"This is what?" Young remembers asking.

Riddell told him that she was going to quit her job as a guidance counselor at Clayton A. Bouton High School in Voorheesville and open an Emack and Bolio's franchise. She did just that last summer, when the Albany area's first Emack and Bolio's debuted on Delaware Avenue near St. James Church. The Guilderland location opened in June.

Young said the couple promotes "a coffeehouse-type atmosphere," offering free wi-fi, "little espresso drinks," pastries and hand-dipped chocolates. Music is also a key part of the scene, with regular performances and open mic nights.

The Emack and Bolio chain has a deep connection with music, as founder Bob Rook started out as a rock and roll lawyer. But Young noted that only about a half-dozen of the 50 or so Emack and Bolio shops offer live music. He wanted to be one of those shops because he started playing guitar a few years ago "and thought it would be cool to combine those things."

One of the regular performers at Emack and Bolio's is acoustic folk duo 2Late, made up of Vicki Gayle and Mike Short. Their performance at the cancer fundraiser is among several recent charity gigs; they also recently took part in "Shop For A Cause Day" at Colonie Center and a "coffeehouse" at Gayle's church, St. Boniface in Guilderland, with proceeds benefiting the ministries of the St. Boniface Women's Group.

What's funny is that there wasn't a whole lot of goodwill between Gayle and Short when they first met. As Gayle recalls, "I didn't like him. Didn't like him at all."

Short, it seems, was substituting as the organist at St. Boniface and was a little critical of a song. That rubbed Gayle the wrong way.

The story might have ended there, but not long afterward, Gayle attended a concert at Short's church, and she and her husband were seated with Short and his wife.

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