Crane School of Music Anniversary Concert Features Rising Stars


Soprano Megan Weikleenget will perform at the Rising Stars Recital in honor of the 125th anniversary of SUNY Potsdam’s Crane School of Music.

In honor of the 125th anniversary of SUNY Potsdam’s Crane School of Music, the College will welcome back five accomplished alumni for a special concert.

The Rising Stars Recital will feature recent graduates of The Crane School of Music who have gone on to careers in musical performance—and whom the School believes have bright futures ahead of them.

The recital will be offered at 7:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Feb. 21 in the Sara M. Snell Music Theater at SUNY Potsdam’s Crane School of Music.

Percussionist Robert Sanderl, pianists Jeremy Reger and Marcel Rominger, vocalist Megan Weikleenget and horn player Jessie Thoman will all return to their alma mater for the concert.

The recital will open with the percussion work “Temazcal,” for solo maracas and tape. Highlights will include a concerto for horn by Richard Strauss, and piano pieces by Prokofiev and Chopin. Weikleenget, a soprano, will close the concert with a suite of five songs, including “Summertime” and “The Man I Love” by Gershwin.

This concert is free, and the public is invited to attend.

About the performers:

Pianist Dr. Jeremy Reger is active in the collaborative piano world as a performer, teacher and coach, working with singers and instrumentalists across the country in recitals, chamber music and opera. He recently joined the faculty at Indiana’s Jacobs School of Music, through a two-year residency working with singers of all levels. This semester, his research has focused on historical and contemporary cabaret performance, and contemporary reworkings of the art song recital format. He just completed two seasons with the Minnesota Opera as coach and accompanist, focusing on their New Works Initiative. He has also taught at Adrian College, and worked as a pianist for Skylark Opera, St. Paul Chamber Orchestra, the Minnesota Orchestra, the Arts Ahimsa Festival, the Opera Theater at Lucca, Aspen Opera Theater, Motor City Opera and Michigan Opera Theater. Reger has spent the past several summers working with young people with their musical theater skills, as well as helping Broadway star Idina Menzel with her summer program for inner city youth. Reger holds a doctorate in collaborative piano from the University of Michigan, where he studied under Martin Katz, and a master’s degree from the Cincinnati College Conservatory of Music, where he studied under Kenneth Griffiths. He received his bachelor’s degree in piano performance from SUNY Potsdam’s Crane School of Music in 2004, where he studied under Eugenia Tsarov.

The BBC hails Marcel Rominger’s playing as “polished, considered and characterful” and New York Concert Review praised his “poise and elegance” when he made his Carnegie Hall debut in January 2009. Rominger won the 2001-02 Crane Concerto Competition and the 2002-03 North Arkansas Symphony Orchestra Concerto/Aria Competition and is the recipient of the Rose L. Greenblatt Award in piano. He was selected as the recipient for the 2007 Excellence in the Performing Arts Award by the Council on the Arts & Humanities for Staten Island, and was awarded a grant in 2009 to perform a recital there. Rominger is a supporter of new music and has participated in the New York City Electroacoustical Music Festival. In addition to being a soloist, he has appeared with the Crane Symphony Orchestra and the North Arkansas Symphony Orchestra. His music has been featured on the radio station WDAV in Charlotte, N.C., and on BBC’s “World Update.” He performs throughout the U.S., Europe and South America. Rominger obtained a Bachelor of Music degree in music education and piano performance from SUNY Potsdam, where his Crane School of Music teachers included Olga Gross and Paul Wyse. He received his master’s in music from the University of Arkansas studying under acclaimed concert pianist Jura Margulis, where he held an assistantship in accompanying. He has studied with Hugo Goldenzweig at Mannes College of Music in New York and he has also been coached by Seymour Bernstein and Leslie Howard. In addition to performing, Rominger also gives masterclasses throughout the world. He is currently the director of performing arts at the Staten Island Conservatory of Music and has been on the faculty since 2005. In addition, he has also taught classes at Baruch College and at the College of Staten Island. Active as a performer, teacher and scholar, Rominger is the recent recipient of the CUNY Chancellor’s Fellowship Award. He is currently pursuing a Doctorate of Musical Arts in piano performance at the City University of New York’s Graduate Center.

Robert Sanderl is a native of upstate New York and is a percussion performer, educator and composer. Currently, Sanderl is assistant professor of percussion at Radford University in Virginia, where he is director of the award-winning Radford University Percussion Ensemble. Sanderl received his bachelor’s degree in music education with a performance certificate from The Crane School of Music, and his master’s and doctorate from the Eastman School of Music. He has performed with a wide variety of groups, including the Roanoke Symphony, Alarm Will Sound, Jazz Contingent and the Madison Scouts Drum and Bugle Corps, to name a few. Sanderl has performed throughout the United States and in Europe. As a composer, he has written works for solo and ensemble percussion published through Honeyrock and C Alan Publications, and has contributed articles to Teaching Music Magazine and Percussive Notes, the scholarly journal of the Percussive Arts Society.  He has presented masterclasses at various festivals and universities throughout the eastern United States and is in demand as a performer and educator. Sanderl has had the privilege to study with Jim Petercsak, John Beck, Bill Cahn, John Riley, Ernie Musquiz and John Pratt.

Dr. Jessie Thoman is assistant professor of horn and music history at the University of Tennessee at Martin. She earned her Bachelor of Music degree at SUNY Potsdam’s Crane School of Music, before earning her master’s degree from The Ohio State University and her doctorate from Indiana University’s Jacobs School of Music. Along with winning principal and section positions in professional orchestras, and performing with artists like Jeff Nelsen, Andre Watts, Leonard Slatkin, Michel Camilo, Sylvia McNair, Eric Ruske, Maureen McGovern and Byron Stripling, Thoman is also the co-founder of the Mirari Brass Quintet, which maintains a busy performing and touring schedule, presenting masterclasses and recitals in public schools, colleges, universities and performance halls all over the United States. The quintet receives much praise for their high level of performance, creative programming and exuberant rapport with each other and their audiences. Her teaching career includes private teaching, coaching individuals and chamber groups, public school and university teaching, and sharing Jeff Nelsen’s “fearless” concepts in lectures and masterclasses. Every summer she assists Nelson at the Fearless Performance for Musicians Seminar. Thoman remains very active in the local musical community. She can be found performing in local orchestras, bands, and jazz orchestras, soloing with high school and university ensembles, and teaching students of all ages.

In 2010, Megan Weikleenget became the soprano soloist for the United States Coast Guard Band. Her first year with the band saw Weikleenget make her international debut in Taiwan, China, where she performed at the International World Symphonic Band Conference in Chiayi City, and the renowned National Theater and Concert Hall in Taipei. Her role as soloist features her in various musical styles, ranging from classical to musical theater to jazz. Outside of the Coast Guard, Weikleenget has been a soloist with the Collegiate Chorale, the Dessoff Choir and the Berkshire Bach Society with conductor James Bagwell. She began her collegiate study of voice with Deborah Massell at Crane, where she completed degrees in music education and performance in 2006. She then went on to complete master's degrees at New England Conservatory in Boston in 2008, studying voice with Patricia Misslin, and Bard College's Vocal Arts Program in 2010, under the direction of Dawn Upshaw and Kayo Iwama. In 2009, Megan made her Carnegie Hall debut.

To find out more about the many events planned to mark 125 years of a tradition of innovation at Crane, visit

Founded in 1886, SUNY Potsdam’s Crane School of Music has a long legacy of excellence in music education and performance. Life at Crane includes an incredible array of more than 300 recitals, lectures and concerts presented by faculty, students and guests each year. The Crane School of Music is the State University of New York’s only All-Steinway institution, and is celebrating its 125th anniversary in 2011-12.