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Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Belonging

Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Belonging at The Crane School of Music

The Crane School of Music, SUNY Potsdam, is committed to substantive change with measurable goals and transparency on our progress. This website will provide us an opportunity to share our efforts and progress with the wider Crane School community, and in the context of diversity throughout SUNY Potsdam, and to highlight the work of the Crane Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging Committee.

Highlighted Events Fall 2022

Fall 2022 Joy Douglass Residency

September 2022
Jasmine Fripp and Anthony Pineda worked with students and faculty during their two-day residency, titled “good kid, m.A.A.d City: Hip Hop in Our Teaching and Learning Spaces.” As educator-scholars steeped in the rich traditions of Hip-hop pedagogy, Fripp and Pineda facilitated a variety of workshops and conversations  focused on the role of hip hop in educational spaces and ways to integrate it into students’ learning experiences.  Jasmine Fripp is a Grammy-nominated music educator and the founder of “The Passionate Black Educator,” an educational platform that grew out of her passion for empowering educators and providing Black and Brown students with a quality holistic education through music. Anthony Pineda’s work explores the intersection of education, mental health, technology and creativity. He spends his professional time in the fields of youth education and mental health, providing programming celebrating hip hop culture. In 2014, Pineda founded the Creatrix Institute, an innovative company providing programming for youth that targets their own cultural knowledge and voice. For more,  click here

Domenic J. Pellicciotti Opera Composition Prize

September 2022
The Domenic J. Pellicciotti Opera Composition Prize was founded by Dr. Gary C. Jaquay ’67 to honor his life partner, Domenic J. Pellicciotti, an ardent fan of opera. The award seeks to encourage and acknowledge the creation of new opera works that explore themes related to tolerance, inclusion or the celebration of diversity. In September, excerpts from the four semi-finalists in this round of the competition were performed (for details, click here), with the composers and librettists and others working with Crane  students. Following this, the panel of faculty and guest judges selected composer Timothy C. Takach and librettist Caitlin Vincent as the recipients of the 2024 Pellicciotti Prize for their new opera, “Computing Venus.” The opera provides a fascinating glimpse into the life of astronomer Maria Mitchell, a ground-breaking historical figure who paved the way for women in STEM in the 19th century. The opera follows Mitchell’s efforts to cultivate the next generation of women astronomers, even as growing movements threatened to close the world of science to women forever.  For more on "Computing Venus," click here.  

Mariachi workshops with guest artist Jessie Vallejo

October 2022
We welcomed Jessie Vallejo (class of 2007), professor of ethnomusicology at Cal State Pomona, back to campus for a series of Mariachi workshops with Crane students. Dr. Vallejo’s primary research focuses on a hemispheric approach to Amerindian studies, which draws from her work with Kichwa-Otavaleño and Kanien'kehá:ka musicians, and her secondary research areas examine issues related to mariachi music and integrating ethnomusicological approaches in K-12 music education programs.

Candlelight Concert 

December 2022
Crane welcomed internationally renowned gospel conductor and composer, the Rev. Dr. Raymond Wise, as guest conductor of the Crane Chorus in gospel renditions of holiday works, including several of his own original compositions and arrangements of classic tunes. Also on the concert: the Crane Jazz Ensemble, directed by Dr. Michael Dudley, whose portion of the program included selections from Duke Ellington’s arrangements of “The Nutcracker Suite”; the Crane Symphony Orchestra, directed by Dr. Adrian Slywotsky; and Dr. Jessica Suchy-Pilalis, conducting her setting of “Kanon of St. Kosmas for the Nativity,” in a translation from the original Greek.


2021-2022 Events/Initiatives

The International Pride Orchestra (IPO) made its debut performance on June 22, 2023, in San Francisco, CA at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music. Visiting Assistant Professor Dr. Luke Spence serves as a founding Board of Directors member and performed in the trumpet section for the orchestra’s inaugural concert.

Photo: from left, S.E. Shires Artists Luke Spence, Ethan Bensdorf, and Sasha Romero at the International Pride Orchestra in San Francisco on June 22, 2023.

"At a time in this country where LGBTQIA+ rights are being threatened and actively taken away–particularly for our trans siblings– this organization couldn’t have come together at a more important moment. The entire experience left many of us without the right words to describe what we felt. Personally, sitting in this orchestra made me completely redefine what it means to have a safe space in music. To be in an orchestra where anyone can be their 100% authentic selves…I didn’t realize that I’d never actually experienced that until IPO. The fact that so many of our lives were changed by this experience is truly bittersweet. We deserve to always be safe, comfortable, and authentic doing what we do for a living: no exceptions. I know that IPO won’t stop until this becomes the norm around the world. I couldn’t be more proud of what this organization has accomplished in just one year. We are onto something extraordinarily special here, and I can’t wait to see how the International Pride Orchestra grows in the years to come."

Luke Spence Crane Visiting Assistant Professor: Trumpet