All-County musicians to perform at Chautauqua Lake

MAYVILLE — February has long been a busy month for the music educators of Chautauqua County. Two county-wide events take place during this blustery month: CCMTA Solo Festival, and the CCMTA Winter All-County Festival. Both are sponsored by the Chautauqua County Music Teachers Association, and rely for their success on not only the organization of the music educators from the 19 schools districts in Chautauqua County, but also the dedication, hard work and talent of thousands of school aged music students throughout this corner of the state.

The Chautauqua Lake Central School Auditorium will be the site of the 2019 Winter All-County Festival and Concert. Taking place today, Feb. 9 at 5 p.m., this event features the county’s best student musicians from the school districts located in Chautauqua County, in one of several music ensembles. Featured in this festival are the Elementary Band, Junior Orchestra, Senior Orchestra, Percussion Ensemble, Vocal Jazz Chorus, and All-County Jazz Ensemble.

This festival is graciously sponsored in part by a grant received from The C. Malcolm and Jeanette M. Nichols Community Service Fund and the Ruth R. Olson Memorial 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 this concert.

Tickets will be available at the door for $5 and can also be purchased in advance at any time through

The first group on the concert program will be the All-County Elementary Band, chaired by Ian Hill, Dunkirk City School. Directing this ensemble will be Andrew Bodemer. Bodemer, a native of Corning, NY, went on to earn his Bachelor of Music from the State University of New York College at Fredonia and his Master of Music from the University of Connecticut. He is an active member of several organizations, serving as an adjudicator, a conductor, and as a long-standing ensemble chair. Bodemer is a trombonist and performs throughout Western New York with the Erie County Wind Ensemble and the American Legion Band of the Tonawandas. He resides with his wife Nicole and his sons Oliver and Hugo in Getzville, NY.

The Senior Orchestra, chaired by Marie Karbacka, Southwestern Central School, will follow the baton of Grant Cooper. Born in New Zealand as the son of a professional opera singer, Cooper sang and acted in his first opera at age 4 and studied piano and music theory prior to college. After completing his degree in pure mathematics at the University of Auckland, he traveled to the United States for further studies in music. His initial opportunities as a conductor grew from his colleagues’ invitations to lead them in larger chamber ensemble performances. Since then, his many guest conducting engagements have included the Houston Symphony, Jacksonville Symphony, The Florida Orchestra, Pasadena Symphony, New Mexico Philharmonic, Buffalo Philharmonic, Rochester Philharmonic, Chautauqua Symphony Orchestra, Auckland Philharmonia, and Syracuse Opera, among many others. Recently, he has made successful debut appearances with the Kennedy Center Orchestra, the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra, and the Malaysian Philharmonic. Cooper has just completed 17 seasons as artistic director and conductor of the West Virginia Symphony Orchestra. Prior to this, Cooper served as resident conductor of the Syracuse Symphony Orchestra for 10 seasons. He currently serves as artistic director of the annual Bach & Beyond festival in Fredonia, and as a resident conductor at the Eastern Music Festival.

Alec Dube will conduct the All-County Percussion Ensemble, with Roger Chagnon III, Pine Valley Central School as chairman. Dube is a performer, composer, and educator in Buffalo. Recently honored as Jazz Vibraphonist of the year for 2015 by Jazz Buffalo, he has shared the stage with many renowned jazz artists such as Arturo Sandoval, Bruce Johnstone, Yo-Yo Ma, Bobby Militello, and Helen Sung. Alec maintains a busy schedule performing as a leader and sideman in a number of groups. His newest project, Critical Mass, is a testament to his exploration of modern jazz music, and improvisation. Alec received his M.M. in Music Performance, as well as a B.M. in Music Education from the State University of New York at Fredonia. He is currently on faculty at SUNY Fredonia as the jazz vibraphone instructor, and at Villa Maria College where he teaches private lessons and music theory.

Dr. Tim Brent will lead the All-County Vocal Jazz Ensemble, chaired by April Hartung, Fredonia Central School. Brent is the visiting assistant professor of popular music studies at the Westminster College of the Arts at Rider University. Popular music ensembles under his direction have garnered three DownBeat magazine awards, invitations to perform at the Jazz Educators National conference and the 1st annual Choral Symposium of Costa Rica. He presented interest sessions at the Eastern Division MENC convention, Southern Division ACDA convention, as well as state music educators conventions in New Jersey, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, Florida, and New York. Brent is currently working on his first album On the Sunny Side featuring Grammy winners Brian Lynch, trumpet, and Ed Calle on saxophone. He has vocal arrangements published by the University of Northern Colorado Jazz Press and Sound Music Publications.

The trio accompanying Vocal Jazz includes Grace Jang, piano, Thomas Sheffield, bass, and Kyle Michaels on drums.

The last group of the concert will be the All-County Instrumental Jazz Ensemble, chaired by Jenniene Scarem, Dunkirk City School, featuring several of the best high school student jazz musicians in Chautauqua County, and directed by Pianist Nick Weiser. Steeped in both the jazz and classical idioms, Weiser has performed at events as far reaching as the Umbria Jazz Festival in Perugia, Italy, and Switzerland’s Montreux Jazz Festival. He was also a member of the Downbeat Award-winning Eastman New Jazz Ensemble, whose performance with renowned trombonist, composer, and arranger Bob Brookmeyer garnered international acclaim. Actively sharing his passion for music with others, Weiser joined the Fredonia School of Music faculty in 2017 and has given lectures and master classes at universities and institutions nationwide. He maintains an extensive jazz and classical performance schedule throughout the Northeast.

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 the CCMTA 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 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.

These dedicated music students will begin arriving at the school today 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, 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, and Senior choruses, and the Junior and Senior All-County bands, and will be held at the Chautauqua Amphitheater on Saturday, June 1, 2019 at 7:30 pm.

For more information, visit or contact your school district’s music department. CCMTA can also be liked on Facebook: