New CD by The Orchestra of Northern New York

POTSDAM - Just in time for the holidays, Santa's elves have delivered "Home for the Holidays," a CD of the 2015 holiday pops concert by The Orchestra of Northern New York, the region's only year-round professional symphony orchestra.

The 12-song CD includes such favorites as Irving Berlin's White Christmas, Leroy Anderson's Sleigh Ride, and the Spanish and Russian Dances from The Nutcracker Ballet performed live by the 58-member professional orchestra under the direction of music director/conductor Kenneth Andrews. Featured is tenor Donald George, internationally acclaimed artist and Crane School of Music faculty member, singing Ave Maria and O Holy Night. Another highlight of the CD is the narration by local North Country Public Radio personality Barbara Heller of The Night Before Christmas, from the poem by Clement Moore, A Visit from St. Nicholas.

Joel Hurd, production engineer for North Country Public Radio, recorded the concerts. Lauren Zwonik, Crane School of Music Business of Music intern with ONNY, produced the CD.

At $10 each, the CD makes a wonderful and affordable holiday gift. It can be purchased at Brick and Mortar Music, 15 Market Street, Potsdam or by calling the ONNY office at 315-267-3251.

Canadian Soprano to Perform with ONNY

POTSDAM- The Orchestra of Northern New York welcomes one of the Crane School of Music’s talented Artist Faculty members, Colleen Skull, to the stage for its holiday concert.  

Dr. Skull, a soprano hailing from Canada, will be singing This Christmastide, O Holy Night, and other glorious favorites with the orchestra when it presents its ever-popular holiday pops concert, Holiday Magic, at 7:30 pm, December 9 in SUNY Potsdam's Hosmer Hall;

7:30 pm, December 10 at Massena High School; and 3:00 pm, December 11 at Watertown's First Presbyterian Church.

Dr. Skull has been a frequent performer with numerous opera companies and orchestras across Canada, having over thirty operatic roles to her credit at venues such as the Canadian Opera Company, Pacific Opera Victoria, Manitoba Opera, Esprit Orchestra, the Toronto Symphony Orchestra, Winnipeg Symphony, and many others.  She recently triumphed in the title role of Ariadne auf Naxos. One reviewer noted, “Colleen Skull has the plush, robust tone and commanding presence befitting both incarnations of her character.”

Ms. Skull is well versed in both soprano and mezzo- soprano repertoire.  She is also equally active in orchestral and recital repertoire, having performed as a soloist in works including: Verdi’s Requiem, Handel’s Messiah, Bruckner’s Mass in D minor, Beethoven’s 9th Symphony and Mass in C, and Mahler’s 2, 3, and 4th Symphonies.

She has won many awards and prizes including the Metropolitan Opera District Competition, a Chalmers Award and a Professional Artist Grant from the Canada Council for the Arts.  Radio and television appearances include performances on CBC Radio, CTV, and Definitely Not the Opera with Sook-Yin Lee.

Dr. Skull completed her Doctorate in Musical Arts, specializing in voice performance at the University of Toronto.  She won the Graduate Award for the best research paper from the International Symposium on Performance Science where she was a featured keynote speaker.  Her research was also featured at 52nd Conference of the National Association of Teachers of Singing in Orlando.

She is a Visiting Assistant Professor at the Crane School of Music where she teaches Applied Voice, Introduction to Diction and Vocal Techniques.

Joining Dr. Skull for the Potsdam and Massena concerts will be the Massena High School Mixed Choir, under the direction of Christopher Lincoln. Tickets for the Massena concert, which is a benefit for Massena Music Friends that provide much needed resources to Massena school music programs, are available from Season's Gift Shop, 27 W. Orvis Street in Massena, 764-7671. Tickets for this performance are $15 adults, and $12 seniors/students.

Tickets for the Potsdam and Watertown performances are $22 adults, $18 seniors and military personnel, and $5 students, 6-17, and college students with ID.  For tickets for these concerts, visit the CPS Box Office in the Performing Arts Center on SUNY Potsdam’s campus, or call 315-267-2277.

Spanish Music Featured in ONNY Season Opener

POTSDAM -- Imagine perfumed gardens, toreadors and flamenco dancers driven by vivacious dance rhythms and castanets. Or revel in the soothing sounds of a strumming guitar when The Orchestra of Northern New York presents, Spanish Nights, the gala opening concert of its 29th season, on at 7:30 p.m., Saturday, October 15 at SUNY Potsdam's Hosmer Hall.

The program opens with Bizet's "Les Toreadors" from Carmen. Chabrier's Espana - Rhapsody for Orchestra is next, followed by De Falla's El sombrero de res picos (The Three Cornered Hat).

Douglas Rubio, recognized nationwide as an outstanding performer on the classical guitar and member of the Crane Artist Faculty, is the featured soloist on Concierto de Aranjuez, Op. 36 - Concerto for Guitar and Orchestra. The program ends with De Falla's "Danza Espanola" from La vida breve.

Dr. Rubio's brilliant solo performances inspire standing ovations, and he is a gold medal chamber musician. The Santa Barbara News-Press praised his playing for its “considerable sensitivity and bravura.” His programs offer a fascinating mix of the old, the new, the traditional, and the off-the-beaten-path.

Rubio has performed throughout the U.S., and his numerous engagements in the Midwest include Lawrence, Bradley, Illinois Wesleyan, Missouri State, Illinois State, and Millikin Universities. He has been the featured concerto soloist with the Montecito and Pennsylvania Centre chamber orchestras, and the Orchestra of Northern New York.

He is especially active in the field of chamber music. As a member of the Avalon Guitar Duo, he won First Prize in the 1985 GFA International Duo Guitar Competition. The duo has gone on to perform throughout the United States, and is featured on the compact disc GFA Winners Circle 1982-1993. Rubio is also featured on an album of solo and chamber music by Heitor Villa-Lobos, released on the Naxos label. He performs frequently with flutist Jill Rubio as the Rubio Duo, and with Sweet, Fair & Wise, a trio of flute, tenor voice, and guitar.

A native of Southern California, Dr. Rubio is Professor of Classical Guitar at the State University of New York at Potsdam. Prior to moving to upstate New York, he ran a very successful guitar program at Illinois State University. He is a graduate of the University of California at Irvine, and holds both a Master of Music degree and a Doctor of Musical Arts degree in classical guitar performance from the University of Southern California (USC). His private teachers include James F. Smith, Pepe Romero, and Frederick Noad.

Douglas Rubio performs on a guitar made by Stephan Connor, and uses D’Addario strings exclusively.

Tickets are on sale at the Community Performance Series Box Office in the Performing Arts Center on SUNY Potsdam’s campus.  For more information, call the box office at 267-2277 or visit

Welcome to the 29th Season

Dear Patrons,

Welcome to The Orchestra of Northern New York’s 29th season celebrating LIVE music! We have chosen a wide array of brilliant orchestral masterpieces from our Classics to our Pops series.

Come hear why this Orchestra is heralded as “One of the Sweetest Sounds in New York” by the I Love NY Campaign. We know you will enjoy these great programs performed by world-class soloists and inspired professional musicians from Northern New York and beyond.

I look forward to seeing you at our concerts. Thank you for continuing to “Celebrate LIVE Music!”

Kenneth Andrews, Music Director

ONNY Wins Challenge Grant from NNYCF

POTSDAM—The Orchestra of Northern New York has met a challenge posed by the Northern New York Community Foundation to win a $5,000 grant.

ONNY had to increase its attendance at its Watertown Concert Series in 2015-2016 by 30%  to earn the award. In fact, attendance at the first four concerts has grown by 62%.

Last fall, the Northern New York Community Foundation awarded ONNY $10,000 toward the 2015-2016 five-concert series, which includes the free Summer Pops concert to be held in Thompson Park on July 1. That's when the additional $5,000 challenge was issued.

“We continue to enjoy our partnership with ONNY and the important work they do. We have been glad to invest in enhancements to the quality of life in the region through our grants to ONNY, and we applaud them for their efforts to build both current and long-term sustainability, including an endowment fund at the Foundation,” said Rande S. Richardson, Community Foundation executive director.

ONNY executive director, Kathryn M. Del Guidice, said the Orchestra was pleased with the response from the Watertown community. "We are working hard to build an audience in the greater Watertown area, so the results this year are really exciting."

To help position itself for success with the challenge, ONNY initiated a Watertown Advisory Council last year to provide feedback to the board of directors about Watertown and surrounding communities, and the orchestra's programming and promotional efforts.  The group met twice and offered valuable insight into marketing opportunities.

Current Watertown Advisory Council members include: T. Urling and Mabel Walker, Michael Miller, Richard Lake, Agnes McCarthy, Emily Sprague, Totter Crossley, and Don Alexander.

"We especially thank our Advisory Council members for their guidance and support that led to this increase in attendance and made the NNYCF grant possible," Del Guidice added. "They helped us understand that there is a perception in the Watertown area that the Orchestra is a community group, not the professional symphony orchestra that it is. That information led us to shift our marketing messages to emphasis the professional musicians who compose the orchestra, such as Paul Wyse who was the featured soloist at the spring concert held recently."

The Orchestra is currently in its planning stages for the 2016-2017 Season which would again include a five-concert series in Watertown if funding is secured. An application to the NNYCF for $20,000 in support has been submitted.

"NNYCF's support is essential to producing the Watertown Series. As we see more members of the military and more children attending the concerts there, we are confident that audiences will continue to grow in the future," Del Guidice noted.
For more information about ONNY, visit or call 315-267-3251.

ONNY Spring Concert Features Steinway Artist

POTSDAM - One of the most majestic and popular piano concertos of all time will be performed by internationally acclaimed pianist and Steinway artist, Paul Wyse, when The Orchestra of Northern New York presents its spring classical concert at 7:30 p.m., Saturday, April 16 in SUNY Potsdam's Hosmer Hall, and again at 3:00 p.m., Sunday, April 17 in the Dulles State Office Building, Watertown.

Brahms Piano Concerto No. 2 in Bb Major, Op. 83 is the centerpiece of the concert.  The powerful and pastoral music of Dvorak's Czech Suite in D Major, Op. 39 opens the program.  Kenneth Andrews, founder and music director of ONNY, conducts the 60-piece orchestra.

Mr. Wyse will perform on a nine-foot concert grand Steinway piano being shipped from Artist-Pianos, Syracuse by a special moving company for the Watertown concert. The instrument's value is $162,000.

Wyse thrills audiences with his stunning artistic vision, poetic style, and virtuosity. The Miami Herald hailed him as "...a musician of uncommon perception, possessing lots of facility and fire."

He has been seen in concert in the United States, Canada, Central America, Europe, and New Zealand. Highlights include the premier performances for the Royal Family of Monaco, concertos with the New World Symphony, the Gettysburg Symphony Orchestra, the Bangor Symphony Orchestra, the Peabody Chamber Orchestra, and The Orchestra of Northern New York. Wyse has had an amazing career (see with ONNY, performing Gershwin's Rhapsody in Blue, Beethoven's Concerto No. 4, Rachmaninoff's Concerto No. 2,  Tchaikovsky's Concerto No. 1, and now Brahms Concerto No. 2.

He has made radio appearances on WGBH Boston, the Australian Broadcasting Company, the New Zealand Broadcasting Company, and recently appeared on New York Public Television performing Sonatas for Violin/Cello and Piano of L.V. Beethoven. He has collaborated in performance with such greats as Michael Tilson Thomas, Vladimir Feltsman, Carter Brey, José-Luiz Garcia, and Paula Robison. 

Also, a trained visual artist, Wyse has painted portraits that hang in North America's finest collections including the National Portrait Gallery of the Smithsonian Institute, the Steinway Hall historical portrait collection, and the House of Commons of Canada. His list of notable portraits include, pop legend Billy Joel, Kennedy Center Award winning conductor and pianist Leon Fleisher, 34th Speaker of the House of Commons Peter Milliken, and Harry Connick Jr. In 2015, he became the first Steinway Artist to have designed and hand painted a Steinway art case (model D) piano, on which he will perform as a recitalist in the major cities of the world. For more information visit

The concert is presented with support from the New York State Council on the Arts, a state agency with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the NYS Legislature.

Tickets for the spring concert are $22 for adults, $18 for seniors and military personnel, and $5 for students 6-17 and college students with I.D. They are available by calling 315-267-2277 or online at

First Chair in Orchestra Named for Noted Local Composer/Educator

POTSDAM - The Orchestra of Northern New York proudly announces a donation has been received to name the principal bass chair in the Orchestra as the Robert B. Washburn Chair.

Brooks Washburn, Potsdam, and his sister, Roberta Washburn Scharf, Albany, gave the gift in memory of their parents, Robert B. and Beverly D. Washburn, who were generous supporters of the arts and music in the Potsdam area for many years.

Our father often played double bass in several orchestras, and I remember for many years my parents also housed the principal bass player for ONNY when in Potsdam for concerts," Brooks Washburn said. "Bassists aren't featured much, but you would miss them if they weren't there," he added.

Beverly was a founding member of the Women's Air Force band, as a tuba player, while she was stationed in San Antonio, TX from 1949 to 1953. There she met and married Robert B. Washburn, also in the U.S. Air Force in San Antonio.  She was a fifth and sixth grade Social Studies teacher at Potsdam Central School from 1966 until her retirement in 1986. She was also a member of the board of directors of the Potsdam Museum and treasurer for many years of the St. Lawrence County chapter of the American Association of University Women (AAUW).

Robert was the chief arranger for the Air Force Band of the West and the Air Force Sinfonietta when he met Beverly, and also played in the San Antonio Symphony.  Following military service, he joined the faculty of the Crane School of Music. There, he was Dean, Professor Emeritus, and Senior Fellow in Music.

Washburn was a world-renowned composer with more than 150 compositions to his name. His works have been performed at EXPO '67, at the White House, Carnegie Hall, the Kennedy Center, and Lincoln Center, to name a few. In 1980, he composed music for the opening ceremonies of the Lake Placid Winter Olympics.

Washburn received numerous awards, grants, and commissions during his career, including a Fulbright Senior Fellowship, and grants from the Rockefeller Foundation, the Ford Foundation, and the National Endowment for the Arts. In addition to his activities as a teacher and composer, he was a specialist in music from Africa and Asia.

Travel was his and Beverly's passion; they visited over 76 countries on six continents for both pleasure and research.  But they always came home to the North Country.

The Orchestra of Northern New York is honored by the Washburn gift. It is the only year-round, professional symphony orchestra between Ottawa and Burlington, and Plattsburgh to Syracuse. ONNY performs six concerts a year in Potsdam and four in Watertown. Now in its 28th season, ONNY operates on a $200,000 budget. Its 70+ musicians perform under the leadership of music director and ONNY founder, Kenneth Andrews.

"For over 50 years, Robert and Beverly Washburn were important contributors  to the Orchestra, the Crane School of Music, SUNY Potsdam and all aspects of the arts and life in Northern New York," said Mr. Andrews. "We are humbled and proud to accept this generous donation from the Washburn family."

For more information about ONNY or to learn about opportunities to support the orchestra, contact Executive Director Kathy Del Guidice at 315-267-3251 or visit

Beethoven Lives Upstairs—In Potsdam and Clayton

POTSDAM, NY - The works of one of the greatest composers of all time come to life when professional actors and the North Country's only professional, year-round orchestra join forces to present a multi-media sensation next week.

Beethoven Lives Upstairs, a world-famous production of Classical Kids Music Education of Chicago, will be presented at 7:30 p.m., Friday, March 18 at the Clayton Opera House, and at 7:00 p.m. Saturday, March 19 in Hosmer Hall, SUNY Potsdam.

Equity actors Andrew Redlawsk, New York, portrays Christoph, the young lad whose life is turned upside down by the presence of a new boarder - Beethoven - as he learns to understand the composer's moods and frustrations with going deaf; and Thad Avery, Chicago, who plays Christoph's uncle and helps him deal with the new turmoil in his life.

The show features a lively exchange of letters between the young boy and his uncle. Their subject is the "madman" who has moved into the upstairs apartment in Christoph's Vienna home. As the correspondence unfolds, Christoph recounts the horrors of the composer standing naked at the window, water dripping into their apartment, and Beethoven playing late into the night.

Finally, after attending the famous first performance of the Ninth Symphony, Christoph comes to understand the genius of Beethoven, the torment of his deafness, and the beauty of his music.

The Orchestra will perform more than twenty excerpts from Beethoven's greatest works, including Moonlight Sonata, Symphonies 5 - 9, Fur Elise, and more.

Soloists are concertmaster John Lindsey, violin, and John Wyse and Francois Germain, pianos, both of whom are renowned performers and faculty members at the Crane School of Music.

Music Director/Conductor Kenneth Andrews opens the concert with Beethoven's Turkish March from The Ruins of Athens, Op. 113 (1812).

Also performing will be Kathryn Kovarik, violin, winner of the 10th annual James and Katherine Young Artist Competition, held last month in Potsdam.  She will play - from memory - Mendelssohn's Concerto in E Minor for Violin and Orchestra, Op. 64 (1844).

Kovarik, 17, is a senior at Manlius Pebble Hill School near Syracuse. A student of Linda Case, she won the Onondaga Civic Symphony Orchestra Youth Concerto Competition in 2014 and 2015. She has been both assistant concertmaster and concertmaster for the Syracuse Symphony Youth Orchestra and, in 2015, won the concerto competition for that orchestra. She is the daughter of David and Heidi Kovarik, Syracuse.

Tickets for the Potsdam performance can be purchased by calling 315-267-2277 or visiting For the Clayton Opera House performance, call 686-2200.

The Orchestra of Northern New York is supported by the New York State Council on the Arts, a state agency, with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the NYS Legislature.

Winners of the Tenth Annual James and Katherine Andrews Young Artist Competition

Winners of the Tenth Annual James and Katherine Andrews Young Artist Competition, sponsored by Orchestra of Northern New York, are shown here with ONNY Music Director Kenneth Andrews. From left to right, first place winner violinist Kathryn Kovarik, 17, Syracuse; second place winner harpist Shannon Boyle, 17, Potsdam; and third place winner pianist Rachel Sohn, 16, Clifton Park. The event was held in Hosmer Hall, SUNY Potsdam on Saturday, February 13.  Kathryn Kovarik will perform the Mendelssohn Violin Concerto, third movement, with the Orchestra at its next concert on March 19, at 7:00 p.m. in Hosmer Hall at the Crane School of Music.