NYC High School Students Learn From Crane School Performance


The Crane Chorus, pictured here, is a select auditioned group at SUNY Potsdam’s Crane School of Music.

From its founding in 1886, The Crane School of Music has been known as the birthplace of American music education. So it’s fitting that in commemoration of Crane’s 125th anniversary, the School is providing a world-class arts education experience for New York City high school students.

Nearly 300 students from The State University of New York at Potsdam will make their collective Lincoln Center debut on May 1 in a performance of Giuseppe Verdi’s monumental Messa da Requiem under the baton of Ann Howard Jones. The entire Crane Chorus and Crane Symphony Orchestra will travel to New York City for the concert at Avery Fisher Hall, Lincoln Center.

In addition to the extraordinary chance to prepare a great work along with a world-class conductor for performance in a renowned concert space, The Crane School of Music has also turned this opportunity into a teaching moment—both for its students and for metropolitan youth.

The College has offered free tickets to nearly 800 New York City high school students and teachers from 23 districts to attend the concert.

Participating districts include: Arts and Business High School, August Martin High School, Automotive High School, Aviation High School, the Bronx High School of Science, Brooklyn Preparatory High School, Brooklyn Studio Secondary School, Dewitt Clinton High School, Discovery High School, Forest Hills High School, Grover Cleveland High School, Hillcrest High School, the High School for Leadership and Public Service, LaGuardia High School of Music and Art, Life Sciences Secondary School, Manhattan Village Academy, Martin Van Buren High School, Renaissance High School for Musical Theatre and Technology, Science Skills Center High School, Stuyvesant High School, the Grand Street Campus High Schools, the Urban Assembly School for the Performing Arts and Wadleigh Secondary School.

Two Crane undergraduates studying music education created a four-lesson interactive curriculum that the educators can use to prepare their students for the Lincoln Center performance.

To provide the high school students with an in-depth background leading up to the Lincoln Center concert, two Crane School of Music seniors worked directly with a professor to develop a study guide and lesson plans. The curriculum fulfills learning objectives from the New York State standards for the arts in music, and is designed in four 15-minute segments so that teachers can easily integrate the lessons with theory classes or ensemble rehearsals.

Audrey Saccone, a senior music business and music theory double-major from Colonie, N.Y., created the guide along with Chelsea Zalikowski, a music education and theatre education double-major from Springville, N.Y. They were supervised by Dr. Carleen Graham, director of the Crane Opera Ensemble and of the SUNY Potsdam Center for Undergraduate Research.

“Audrey Saccone and Chelsea Zalikowski have done a remarkable job of putting together this study guide. They bring a fresh perspective to what might appeal to high school students and it was great fun to work with them. Chelsea’s work in editing the videos was clever and the videos really add a personal touch to the curriculum. Audrey was the one who brought it all together and worked tirelessly to combine everything into one cohesive package. I think this is something that both students can really be proud of,” Dr. Graham said.

Besides working on the lesson plans, Zalikowski has also been hard at work preparing for the Verdi performance itself. A soprano, she is a member of the Crane Chorus and is looking forward to singing on the Avery Fisher Hall stage.

“It is so exciting to have this opportunity. I’ll be performing in the best hall that I’ve ever sung in in my life, and I’ll get to do it with all of my friends,” Zalikowski said. “As future educators, Audrey and I wanted to create lesson plans that would connect with high school students. Long classical pieces can sometimes be isolating in performance, but these dynamic lessons prepare students and will hopefully get them engaged with the power of music.”

Two of the guest soloists, Margaret Lattimore ’91 (mezzo-soprano) and Dimitri Pittas ’99 (tenor), contributed video messages for the high school students to be used in the lesson. The plans also feature interviews with Crane School of Music students about the piece, and footage of their rehearsals.

To view the Verdi Requiem education outreach study plans, visit

For the digital press kit for the Crane School of Music Lincoln Center performance, visit

As part of the inaugural Lougheed-Kofoed Festival of the Arts, Ann Howard Jones, the 2012 Dorothy Albrecht Gregory Visiting Conductor, will spend the week of April 22 to April 28 at SUNY Potsdam, conducting rehearsals and masterclasses and participating in lectures and arts events for the community. The Requiem will be performed at SUNY Potsdam’s Helen M. Hosmer Concert Hall on Saturday, April 28.

The Lincoln Center performance is made possible by the Adeline Maltzan Crane Chorus Performance Tour Fund, funded by Dr. Gary C. Jaquay ’67, with additional support from the bequest of Brock and Janie McElheran.

About The Crane School of Music:

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 School, and is celebrating its 125th anniversary in 2011-12.

The Crane School of Music has a tradition of immersing students into a most memorable experience of rehearsing and performing under the directorship of some of the world’s most prestigious choral and orchestral conductors, including: Robert Shaw, Nadia Boulanger, Brock McElheran, Stanley Chapple, Aaron Copland, Sarah Caldwell, Gunther Schuller, Lucas Foss, Virgil Thompson, Michael Tilson Thomas and Vincent Persichetti. In the spring of 2011, renowned conductor Helmuth Rilling came to Potsdam, New York, to direct the Crane Chorus and Crane Symphony Orchestra performance of Bach’s Mass in B Minor, marking the beginning of Crane’s 125th anniversary year.

Crane’s legacy combines innovation in music teaching with a linked commitment to excellence in musical performance from every student. This New York City performance at Avery Fisher Hall is an exciting return to the tradition of Crane students experiencing the thrill of performing with world-renowned conductors in the world’s most prestigious concert halls.

About the concert:

The partnership of the Dorothy Albrecht Gregory Visiting Conductor Fund, established by Dorothy Albrecht Gregory ’61, and the Adeline Maltzan Crane Chorus Performance Tour Fund, brings distinguished conductors to The Crane School of Music for festival performances by the Crane Chorus and Crane Symphony Orchestra, and funds travel for major performances to venues outside of Potsdam.

Tickets to the May 1 event are $35 for general admission, $30 for senior citizens and $15 for students, and can be purchased through Lincoln Center by visiting, or by calling CenterCharge at (212) 721-6500.

To find out more about the ongoing Crane 125th anniversary celebrations, visit

For more information about The Crane School of Music at The State University of New York at Potsdam, please visit