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Former Westfield teacher returns to conduct All-County Jazz Ensemble

February 15, 2012
Westfield Republican

SILVER CREEK - The Silver Creek Central School District will once again host the 2012 Chautauqua County Music Teachers Association-sponsored Winter All-County Concert.

The concert will take place on Saturday, Feb. 11 at 5 p.m. This event features the county's best student musicians from the 18 school districts located in Chautauqua County in one of several music ensembles. Featured in this festival are the Elementary Band, Women's Chorus, Brass Ensemble, Vocal Jazz Chorus, and All-County Jazz Ensemble.

Conducting the All-County Elementary Band will be Nicole C. Regan. Regan currently teaches instrumental music at Central Valley Elementary School in the Monroe-Woodbury Central School District, located in Orange County, N.Y. Regan is the president of the Orange County Music Educators Association as well as the District Music Coordinator for her school district. She is a graduate of the State University of New York at Potsdam.

Dr. Kathleen Shannon is the current director of the College Chorus and the Chamber Singers at Franklin and Marshall College in Lancaster, Pa. Prior to her current appointment, she had taught 14 years at West Virginia University where she was the Director of Choral Activities. She also has extensive experience in teaching choral techniques, choral literature and conducting. Her ensembles have performed regionally, nationally and internationally. She was recently featured as the soprano soloist in a performance of Leonard Bernstein's Chichester Psalms at Carnegie Hall.

This year the Brass Ensemble, which alternates every year with a percussion ensemble, will be conducted by Pauline Emilson. Emilson graduated from SUNY Fredonia in 1977 with a Bachelor of Music degree, and received her Masters of Music in 1987. She taught elementary general music in Panama and at St. Elizabeth Ann Seton in Dunkirk before taking a position as an instrumental music teacher at Westfield Academy and Central School in 1986, where she remained until her retirement in 2009.

The All County Vocal Jazz Choir will include over 50 students from 12 districts around the county and will be led Jan Rhody from Olean High School. Since 1988, Rhody has held both middle school and high school vocal duties, and she currently conducts the High School Select Choir, Concert Choir and Bel Canto singers. In Olean, Rhody performs with the "Jazz Associates," "Mardi Gras," "The Gospel Choraliers," "New York Standard Time," and the Saint Bonaventure Drumming Group. Rhody received her Bachelor's degree at Nazareth College in Rochester and her Master's in music education at Ithaca College.

The All-County Jazz Ensemble will be directed by Michael Szczublewski. Szczublewski is a graduate of Dunkirk High School and has received degrees from Fredonia State University of New York and SUNY Stonybrook. He currently resides in Maryland where he is a highly sought-after trumpet artist.

Each student is selected first by their school's music teacher. That list is pared down by the CCMTA chair people, who then select the students - in some cases by audition, teacher recommendation or through a score received by playing a solo for a New York State-certified music adjudicator - who make the final roster for each group.

Other duties of each chairperson include finding the guest conductor to lead the group, compiling and disseminating music to each of the students selected for the ensemble and organizing any rehearsals prior to the day of the festival. At long last, the chairperson's final act is to introduce the guest conductor. It then becomes the students' moment to shine, showcasing their hard work and talent to an enthusiastic audience of over 500.

The concert itself lasts under two hours, but the time and preparation that go into the festival far exceed that moment in time on stage. Students begin rehearsing their music as soon as they receive it sometime in early December from their Chairperson. They may then be required to attend one or two additional rehearsals throughout the months of January and February.

On the day of the concert, these dedicated music students begin arriving at the school between 8 and 8:30 a.m., for a prompt 9 a.m. rehearsal start. The day continues with rehearsals, lunch and a few small breaks in between, until 4:30 p.m. when the last students dress for the 5 p.m. concert start time.

In addition to the Winter All County Festival, CCMTA provides scholarships to area music students to aid the student in continuing music education; sponsors a Solo Evaluation Festival, where students prepare and play for a New York State-certified music adjudicator who in turn provides the student with valuable comments and tips on how to improve his or her musicianship; and hosts a Spring All-County Music Festival each year featuring the Elementary, Junior High and Senior High Choruses, and the Junior and Senior High All County Bands, held in the Amphitheater of the Chautauqua Institution on Saturday, June 2, 2012 at 7:30 pm.

For more information, visit or contact the local school district's music department.



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