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Fall 2015 News

Crane School News

In November 2015, the award-winning Crane Opera Ensemble & Orchestra was announced as the 1st Place winner of the National Opera Association's 2014-2015 Opera Production Competition (division III). The production featured the winners of the 2014 Domenic J. Pellicciotti Opera Composition Prize - A Letter to East 11th Street (libretto by Mark Campbell, music by Martin Hennessy); Act II from In a Mirror, Darkly (music by Christopher Weiss, libretto by S. O. Duinn Magee); and Act I from The Fox & the Pomegranate (music by Matt Frey, libretto by Daniel Kushner). The production was directed by Distinguished Teaching Professor Carleen Graham. Professor Kirk Severtson was Musical Director and Conductor. Assistant Professor Franois Germain was Vocal Coach. The production design team included Alexis Foster, Costume Designer; Ann Beyersdorfer, Scenic Designer; and Tony Lathroum, Lighting Designer. Numerous students from the Crane School of Music and SUNY Potsdam comprised the cast, orchestra, and crew. The Crane Opera Ensemble has won this national competition a total of five times.. Previous wins include 2nd Place, for Amahl & the Night Visitors, 2011; 1st Place for L'Enfant et les Sortilges, 2011; 1st Place for L'Egisto, 2008; and 1st Place for Mikado, 2003.

Crane presented several sessions at the 2015 Winter NYSSMA Conference, including:

  • Adapting Classroom Instruments For Students with Physical Handicaps (Crane faculty member Tracy Wanamaker)
  • Can You Teach Me to Belt? (Crane faculty member Dr. Lonel Woods)
  • Tapping the potential of student-centered learning in your music classroom. (Crane faculty member Julie Bannerman and Dr. Sara Jones)
  • Being a Cooperating Teacher in the Era edTPA (Crane faculty members Dr. Mark Campbell, Dr. Caron Collins, Kathy Hubbard, Jennifer Kessler, and Emmett O'Leary; K-12 Music Educators Melissa Abramo, Krista Easton (MM '12), Melinda Feldmann (BM '07, MM '11), Phillip Greco (BM '01 and MM '06), and Tim Savage.)

Composer and educator Jodie Blackshaw came her home in New South Wales, Australia to spend a week at Crane as the fall 2015 semester Joy Douglass Visiting Master Teacher, working with music education students, composers, and performers in a variety of sessions.

The Sandy Feldstein Music Business Roundtable, a family weekend tradition since 2008, this year brought together panelists Allison Carney ('99, co-owner of Brick & Mortar Music), Greg Cornell (singer/songwriter), Bob Popyk (author and founder of Bentley-Hall Inc.), Tony Verderosa ('86, drummer, songwriter, producer) and Andy Zildjian (President, SABIAN Cymbals, all moderated by professor Carol "Kickie" Britt.

Crane music education faculty, alumni, and former faculty were well represented at the SMTE (The Society for Music Teacher Education) Conference at the University of North Carolina Greensboro in September, presenting on a total of eight different sessions.

Crane Faculty News

Crane professor Dr. Mark Robin Campbell's research on the "interestingness of music curriculum" to K-12 students was highlighted in the November issue of the NYSSMA School Music News. As is often the case, Dr. Campbell was joined in his work by former and current Crane students: Melinda Feldmann (BM '07, MM '11); John Bernstein, Kathryn Hess and Matthew Wurtzel (all three BM '13 and all current graduate students). Crane alumni Evan S. Tobias ('99) and Phillip Greco ('01, MM '06) collaborated with Dr. Campbell in publishing "Bringing Curriculum to Life: Enacting Project-Based Learning in Music Programs" in the December 2015 issue of the Music Educators Journal.

The first-ever St. Lawrence International Film Festival (October 2015) ended with the screening of For the Love of the Mambo, directed by Crane's Marsha Baxter & SUNY Potsdam's Doyle Dean. The screening was followed by a live performance with the Crane Latin Ensemble and Mambo Legends Orchestra leaders John 'Dandy' Rodriguez, Mitch Frohman and Jose Madera.

Crane faculty member Kirk Severton spent much of the fall semester working with the Dallas Opera as a vocal coach and accompanist, including preparing the world premiere of the Jake Heggie/Terrence McNally opera Great Scott, and the worldpremiere of Mark Adamo's opera Becoming Santa Claus.

Crane faculty composers David Heinick and David Heuser had works performed at the Society of Composers 50th Annual National Conference at the University of Florida in November. Dr. Heinick performed his piano work Toccata a la Charleston, and Dr. Heuser's A Screaming Comes Across the Sky was performed by the University of Florida Symphony Orchestra. In addition, Dr. Heinicks Sonata for trumpet and piano has been recorded by alumnus Aaron Witek of the University of Louisiana-Monroe, and will be released soon, and his Served Two Ways for trumpet and alto saxophone will be recorded in January, 2016 by Christopher Gekker and Chris Vadala of the University of Maryland for release on Albany Records.

Crane Professor of Clarinet Raphael Sanders joined the growing ranks of leading artists on the clarinet roster of Backun Musical Services, an innovative artisan clarinet company in Vancouver, British Columbia. Dr. Sanders now plays one of their distinctive red clarinets.

Voice Professor Donald George's book Master Singers: Advice from the Stage, co-authored with Lucy Mauro (Oxford University Press) was published in February, and continues to garner accolades from the vocal world, including Opera magazine (England) and Music Web International. Professor George, along with soprano Christiane Iven, mezzo-soprano Rachael Wilson, and Donald Sulzen on piano, performed all 27 of Nadia Boulanger's songs on a December 1st, 2015 concert at Munich University (Germany). The concert will be followed by a recording session for Bayerischer Rundfunk .

Crane Alumni News

A Crane alum is again one of the 25 semifinalists for the annual Music Educator Award presented by the Recording Academy and the Grammy Foundation. Kathryn Amore Ingerson (BM '82, MM '02), who teaches in the Thousand Islands Central School District (Clayton, NY) is one of 25 remaining semifinalists from a pool of more than 4,500 nominations submitted from all 50 states. Finalists will be determined in December.

The national tour of the musical Ragtime kicked off in October, and in the cast is Crane alum Cecelia Snow ('14), who is understudying the role of Sarah, the part she played when Crane put on Ragtime in 2013.

The Crane Alumni Festival Orchestra (Long Island) gave its second annual concert in October, this time with a Crane Alumni Choir. The groups were under the direction of Phil Preddice '73 and Shoshana Hershkowitz '98.

Harpist Mikaela Davis ('14) continued her success with her band, for which she is singer/songwriter/harpist, performing at the 2015 Austin City Limits Festival in October.

In September, Crane alumna Stephanie Blythe ('92) starred as Mrs. Lovett in the San Francisco Opera production of Sweeney Todd.

Crane alumna Rene Fleming ('81) was appointed as Distinguished Visiting Artist at the Eastman School of Music in September.

Crane alum Dimitri Pittas ('99) performed in the role of Cassio in the Metropolitan Opera season-opening production of Verdi's Otello.

Sean Shibata ('14) was awarded a competitive fellowship at the Taiko Center of the Pacific for 2015-2016 where he is studying from taiko expert Kenny Endo. He is also working on his M.A. in ethnomusicology at the University of Hawai'i.

This past summer, Richard Holly ('78) began as executive director of Arts NC State (a position in the North Carolina State University system). Prior to this appointment, Richard had been Dean of the College of Visual and Performing Arts at Northern Illinois University (since 2008). He is also co-chair of the Higher Education Board for Arts Alliance Illinois and the Panel Lead for the Arts in Education Panel of Chicago Public Schools.

Crane Student News

Crane Master of Music in Vocal Performance student, Amanda Joseph, received this year's Ernst Bacon Prize following the Civic Morning Musicals competition for singers (Syracuse, NY) in November. The Bacon Prize is for the best performance of an American Song; Amanda was also a finalist for the Helen Boatwright Award. The competition is in its 39th year.

Twenty-seven Crane vocal students performed at the National Association of Teachers of Singing (NATS) competition (Central New York/Finger Lakes Chapter) in October, in Rochester, NY. With over 200 students participating, Crane had nineteen get into the finals, and six Crane students placed. They were:

Classical Division:
1st Place in Upper Collegiate Advanced: Allison Gosney
1st Place in Fourth/Fifth Year Collegiate Men: Daniel Kringer
2nd Place in Third Year Collegiate Men: Sean Fahy
3rd Place in Second Year Collegiate Men: Ivan Juki

Musical Theater Division
1st Place in Lower Division Collegiate Musical Theater Women: Sarah Solari
3rd Place in Upper Division Collegiate Musical Theater Male: Tristan Lesson

Crane harpist Anna Wiegandt was one of the "Stars of Tomorrow" winners at the Boston Harp Festival in September.