MAYVILLE - The Chautauqua Lake High School Auditorium will be the site of the 2014 Chautauqua County Music Teachers Association-sponsored Winter All-County Festival and Concert.
The concert will take place on Saturday at 5 p.m. This event features the county's best student musicians from the eighteen school districts located in Chautauqua County, in one of five music ensembles - the Elementary Band, Women's Chorus, Brass Ensemble, Vocal Jazz Chorus and All-County Jazz Ensemble.
Each year the Elementary Band opens the show, and this year's guest conductor will be Anthony Greene, band director at Jamesville-DeWitt Middle School.
In addition to his duties in the instrumental music program, Greene has served as an adjudicator for NYSSMA solo and major ensemble festivals, and has guest conducted in a number of county-wide concerts throughout the state.
Following the Elementary Band will be the All-County Women's Chorus, conducted this year by Brian E. Bohrer. Bohrer is now in his 13th year teaching choral music in the Rush-Henrietta Central School District in Rochester. He also directs the Asbury Singers and the Youth Music program at Asbury First United Methodist Church, and during the summer he enjoys directing musicals for the Brighton Summer Arts program.
Alternating each year with the Percussion Ensemble is the All-County Brass Ensemble, led by Mr. Norman Lydell, who has served the Jamestown Public Schools as Middle/High School orchestra director, chairman of the Music Department, district coordinator of Fine and Performing Arts and currently as director of the Jamestown High School A Cappella Choir, Madrigal Singers, Men of Tomorrow, and Ladies of Today choral ensembles. He also serves as Brass Instructor for the JHS Marching Band, as well as a performer in several area music ensembles, including the Chautauqua Concert Band, the Tonawanda Legion Band, Jamestown Area Community Orchestra, and the Living Christmas Tree Orchestra.
Louis Shafer will direct this year's All-County Vocal Jazz Ensemble. As a soloist and ensemble singer, Shafer has performed throughout the country and abroad and shared the stage with such notable performers as the Orchestra of St. Luke's, Dave Brubeck, Bobby Militello, The Swingle Singers, Rockapella, New York Swing Exchange and O'Connell and Company, in settings like Lincoln Center, St. Patrick's Cathedral, dozens of college stages, Kleinhans Music Hall, The Fredonia Opera House and St. Joseph's Cathedral in Buffalo.
He is an arranger and member of the professional a cappella group, THE LAKE EFFECT and has performed with them in venues across the state including The Great New York State Fair. Shafer currently teaches at Frontier Middle School.
Rounding out the concert will be the All-County Jazz Ensemble, featuring 22 of the best high school student jazz musicians in Chautauqua County. This year's group will be directed by John Cross.
Cross has been the director of bands at Cassadaga Valley High School since 1981. His High School Concert and Jazz Bands have consistently received gold medals and first place awards in several national festivals. In addition to his teaching duties, Cross is an accomplished arranger and performer, lending his talents to the Lucille Ball Comedy Festival, Bemus Bay Pops Orchestra, and an impressive list of top-name entertainers. Cross is the jazz director for the Chautauqua Institution Summer Band Camp, and is the founder and conductor of the Chautauqua Concert Band geared specifically for middle school musicians.
The organization for this 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 volunteer members of CCMTA, who then select the students 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.
At long last, 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 enthusiastic audience of over 500.
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 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 throughout the months of January and February.
On the day of the concert, these dedicated music 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.
Tickets will be available at the door, $5 for adults and $3 for seniors and students. This festival is sponsored in part by a generous donation from The Blossom Fund at the Chautauqua Region Community Foundation.
In addition to the Winter All-County Festival, CCMTA
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 High, and Senior High Choruses, and the Junior and Senior High All-County Bands, held in the Amphitheater of the Chautauqua Institution on Saturday, June 7 at 7:30 pm.
For more information, visit www.ccmta.net or contact your school district's music department.