The Chautauqua Lake Central School Auditorium will be the site of the 2017 Chautauqua County Music Teachers Association-sponsored Winter All-County Festival and Concert at 5 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 11.
The event features the county's best student musicians from the 18 school districts located in Chautauqua County in one of several music ensembles. Featured are the Elementary Band, Treble Chorus, Percussion Ensemble, Vocal Jazz Chorus, and All-County Jazz Ensemble.
This festival is sponsored in part by a grant the Harold E. and Elizabeth Adams Johnson Fund at the Chautauqua Region Community Foundation. The Instructional Media Center at Erie 2-Chautauqua-Cattauragus BOCES facilitates access and housing for portions of the sheet music used in the concert.
Tickets will be available at the door and cost $5 for adults and $3 for seniors and students. Tickets are also available at ccmta.ticketleap.com.
The first group on the concert program will be the All-County Elementary Band. Directing the ensemble will be Gregory Kane, a music teacher and kindergarten through 12th grade department chair at Canandaigua City School District. There, he leads the Academy Wind Ensemble, Academy Jazz Ensembles, CA Marching Braves, and Canandaigua's pep band, the Sound. Kane is a jazz pianist and has played French horn for several regional orchestras and wind ensembles.
Dr. David Joseph Rudari will conduct the All-County Treble Chorus. Rudari is associate professor of music and director of choral ensembles at Onondaga Community College in Syracuse and has served there since fall 2013. Previously, he served 13 years as associate professor of music and director of choral/vocal studies at Bethany College in West Virginia, and he served for 10 years as senior high vocal music director for the South Jefferson Central Schools in Adams, N.Y.
The Percussion Ensemble, which alternates every other year with the All-County Brass Ensemble, will be conducted by Tiffany Nicely. Nicely has taught percussion and music theory at the State University at Fredonia since 2002. She also teaches World Music Cultures at Buffalo State College. She has been a music teaching artist with MUSE since 1999 and with the Arts in Education Institute of Western New York since 2001. She is also a frequent school performer through Young Audiences of Western New York.
Erik Reinhart will lead the All-County Vocal Jazz Ensemble. Reinhart has been teaching at Churchville-Chili High School, near Rochester, since 2003. Under Reinhart's leadership the choruses from Churchville-Chili have performed at the NYSSMA state winter conference, as well as received Level Six Gold & Gold with Distinction ratings at NYSSMA Major Organization festivals. Nationally, Reinhart's choruses have received outstanding awards in New York City, Virginia Beach and Baltimore.
The last group of the concert will be the All-County Instrumental Jazz Ensemble, featuring several of the best high school student jazz musicians in Chautauqua County. Dr. David Morgan, who will be conducting the group, is an associate professor of jazz studies and string bass at Youngstown State University. He is best known as a jazz bassist and composer/arranger. His teaching responsibilities include jazz ensemble, jazz combo, jazz improvisation, jazz arranging, jazz composition and applied string bass.
The organization for Winter All-County Festival and Concert festival begins nearly 10 months prior to the program. Each student is selected first by their school's music teacher. That list is pared down by the Chautauqua County Music Teachers Association chair people, who then 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 make the final roster for each group.
Other duties of each chairperson include finding the guest conductor to lead the group, compiling and disseminating music to each of the students selected for the ensemble, and organizing any rehearsals prior to the day of the festival. The chairperson's final act is to introduce the guest conductor. It then becomes the students' moment to shine, showcasing their hard work and talent to an audience of more than 500 people.
The concert itself lasts less than two hours, but the time and preparation that go into the festival exceed that moment in time on stage. Students begin rehearsing their music with their teacher as soon as they receive it sometime in early December from their chairperson. They may then be required to attend one or two additional rehearsals in January and February.
On the day of the concert, the students begin arriving at the school 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 4:30 p.m. when the last students dress for the 5 p.m. concert start time.
In addition to the Winter All-County Festival, the Chautauqua County Music Teachers Association provides scholarships to area music students to aid the student in continuing music education; sponsors a Solo Evaluation Festival, 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; and hosts a Spring All-County Music Festival each year featuring the Elementary, Junior, and Senior Choruses, and the Junior and Senior All-County Bands, held in Steele Hall at the SUNY Fredonia on Saturday, May 20, at 7:30 p.m.
For more information, visit www.ccmta.net, call each local school district's music department or find the association's Facebook page.