CHAUTAUQUA - Each year in the beginning of June, the Chautauqua Institution comes alive with sights and sounds of almost 800 music students from around Chautauqua County who assemble for the Chautauqua County Music Teachers' Association's annual Spring All-County Concert. This year's event will be held in the Amphitheater on Saturday at 7:30 p.m., and will feature the county's best student musicians from the twenty school districts located in Chautauqua County, in any one of several music ensembles. Featured in this festival are the Elementary, Junior High, and Senior High All-County Choruses, and the Junior and Senior High All-County Bands.
Each student is selected first by their school's music teacher and from there the list is pared down by the CCMTA chairpeople, who select the students (in some cases by audition, teacher recommendation, or through a score received by playing a solo for a New York State-certified music adjudicator) who will make the final roster for each group.
This year's Elementary Chorus of over 200 fifth and sixth graders will open the concert, under the direction of Daniel L. Bromsted. Bromsted is a retired Elementary Choral Director from the Silver Creek Central School. A graduate of the School of Music at SUNY Fredonia, Mr. Bromsted is a member of the New York State School Music Association, the National Association for Music Educators, and the American Choral Directors Association, and is a frequent clinician, guest conductor, and adjudicator of voice and choruses throughout New York State. His elementary choruses consistently performed at the highest level at NYSSMA Spring Choral Evaluations, achieving Gold and Gold with Distinction honors at Treble Chorus Levels I, II and III for many years.
The Chautauqua County Music Teachers’ Association’s annual Spring All-County?Concert will be held in the Amphitheater at Chautauqua Institution on Saturday at 7:30 p.m.
Following the Elementary chorus will be the All-County Junior High Chorus led by Rochelle Goldberg. Goldberg, a 20-year veteran music educator from the Union-Endicott Central School District, received her masters in music in conducting at Binghamton University where she studied with Dr. Bruce Borton and conducted the Binghamton University Women's Choir. She earned her bachelor of science in both Music Education and Elementary Education at Oswego State University, where she studied piano with Dr. Jerry Exline and participated in the Solid State Jazz Ensemble, under the direction of Stan Gosek. Her career began in the Syracuse City School District teaching elementary music and from there she continued to flourish as an educator, gaining valuable teaching experience at the secondary and collegiate levels. Presently she teaches chorus, piano and guitar at Jennie F. Snapp Middle School.
The AllCounty Junior High Band will be conducted by East High School Band Director Phil Aguglia. He has traveled throughout the northeast with his student performing groups, and as a guest conductor and clinician. In 2008, Aguglia traveled with 120 student performers to New Orleans to help rebuild the city and to perform throughout the area in an effort to uplift displaced Louisiana residents in the wake of Hurricane Katrina.
After the Junior High Band's performance, Dr. Vernon Huff will conduct the All-County Senior High Chorus. He earned a Doctor of Musical Arts in choral conducting with a secondary cognate in music education from Arizona State University. His dissertation was a study of the papers of William Levi Dawson (1899-1990): African American arranger, composer, and choir director of the famed Tuskegee Institute Choir. Dr. Huff has presented several conference sessions on Dawson's music as well as assessment techniques in the secondary choral classroom. In 2007, he earned National Board Certification as a teacher of choral music, early adolescence through young adulthood. Huff currently serves on the faculty at SUNY Fredonia School of Music.
The last performing group will be the All-County Senior High Band, directed this year by Shawn D. Vondran, Assistant Director of Bands and Assistant Professor of Music Performance at Ball State University. His responsibilities at Ball State include conducting the Symphony Band, directing the "Pride of Mid-America" Marching Band, and teaching courses in instrumental conducting and repertoire. Prior to his appointment at Ball State, Dr. Vondran served as the Associate Director of Bands at Western Illinois University and Youngstown State University, respectively. He began his professional teaching career at Mentor High School in Ohio, where his concert, jazz, and marching bands consistently received superior ratings and accolades for their outstanding performances during his four-year tenure.
Since the 1960s, the concert's moving finale has been Wilhousky's arrangement of "The Battle Hymn of the Republic," performed by a combination of the junior and senior high bands and choruses. This year the finale will be directed by guest conductor Stephen Bush, retired music teacher from the Southwestern Central School District.
The concert itself lasts under two hours, but the time and preparation that go into the festival far exceed that moment in time on stage.
Students begin rehearsing their music as soon as they receive it from their chairperson, sometime in early spring.
On the day of the concert, these dedicated student musicians begin arriving on the Institution's grounds between 8 and 8:30 a.m. for a prompt 9 a.m. rehearsal start. The day continues with rehearsals, lunch, and a few small breaks in between, until the students have dinner and dress for the concert.
A generous grant from the Thomas H. Brown Fund of the Chautauqua Region Community Foundation assists in making this festival possible. There are several expenses involved in a concert, not the least of which is providing each of the students with original pieces of music from which to study and perform. Due to copyright laws, every student must be supplied with his or her own purchased part for each song, totaling thousands of dollars. Support such as the Thomas H. Brown Fund makes this possible and for that, CCMTA is grateful.
The 2014 CCMTA Scholarship winners will be presented to the audience at this concert. On May 7, CCMTA hosted scholarship auditions at Forestville High School. These scholarships are awarded to Chautauqua County music students for summer music camp, private instruction or toward college expenses, should the student choose a career path in music.
The Scholarship award winners are as follows:
Senior Scholarships: $500
Amie Adams (Voice: Soprano), Maple Grove Jr/Sr High School
Heather Ahlgren (Clari-net), Falconer Middle/High School
Ed Turner Memorial Award Winner ($500):
Fabricio Logan (Voice: Bass), 11th Grade, Forestville Middle/High School
Kylan Connolly (Voice: Bass), 10th Grade, Westfield Academy and Central School
Chris Cockram (Snare Drum), 11th Grade, Westfield Academy and Central School
Joshua Ellis (Voice: Baritone), 9th Grade, Forestville Middle/High School
Andrea Fredenburg (Baritone Saxophone), 10th Grade, Clymer Central School
Brayton Lydell (Tuba), 11th Grade, Jamestown High School
Paige Stafford (Clari-net), 10th Grade, James-town High School
Jeremy Bohn (Voice: Soprano), 6th Grade, Dunkirk Middle School
Marcus Kautzman (String: Violin), 6th Grade, Southwestern High School
Nicholas Russell (Snare Drum), 5th Grade, Dunkirk Middle School
Andrew Waag (Trump-et), 6th Grade, Fredonia Middle School
In addition to the Spring All-County Festival and providing music study scholarships, CCMTA also sponsors a Winter All-County Music Festival each February featuring the Elementary Band, Women's Chorus, Jazz Chorus, Percussion or Brass Ensemble, and the Jazz Ensemble. In addition, CCMTA runs a solo festival in February, where students prepare and play for a New York State-certified music adjudicator, who in turn provides the student with valuable comments and tips on how to improve his or her musicianship.
Tickets will be available at the amphitheater gate one-half hour prior to the concert. Adult tickets are $5, student and senior tickets are $3. Parking in the Institution Main Lot will be free.