We have thousands of alumni who have gone on to teach music and to music-rich lives
throughout the world. These pages allow you to explore some of these stories or to
stay connected with your alma mater.
• "Alumni of Note" is a select list of those who have distinguished themselves in their career, providing
a glimpse into where a Fredonia degree ultimately can lead.
• "Recent graduates" are alumni who have, in the past three years or so, entered the field or went on
to graduate school. The list is intended only as a brief sampling, revised annually.
• The "Alumni News" page is a reprint of the information in our last alumni newsletter. You can also
read past issues of Notes from Mason at fredonia.edu/music/news.
• "Send us your news" is an online tool for you to submit your latest information.
About the criteria for Alumni of Note.
The names in this distinguished list were nominated for inclusion by current and emeritus
faculty. The list was thereafter culled in an attempt to demonstrate breadth and innovation
– the kinds of careers that our alumni have been able to enjoy. We've resisted the
temptation to go too far back – generally these alumni graduated since the mid-60s.
We have emphasized alumni who have built careers beyond Fredonia. This list is reviewed
at least once annually.
If you find inaccuracies or serious omissions, please write to us! email@example.com
Alumni of Note
Douglas Ahlstedt, tenor
BM in Music Education, 1967
Metropolitan Opera; Professor, Carnegie Mellon University
Ahlstedt has sung professionally in the world's greatest opera houses and concert
halls, from the renowned stages of Europe, South America, the Far East, and Africa,
to the Metropolitan Opera, where he has sung 189 performances to date. Leading roles
of Ahlstedt's career have included Lindoro in Rossini's Lâ Italiana in Algeri, Almaviva in Barbiere di Siviglia, Narciso in Il Turco in Italia, Idreno in Semiramide, Pilade in Ermione and Ramiro in La Cenerentola; Ferrando in Mozart's Cosi Fan Tutte, Don Ottavio in Don Giovanni, Sifare in Mitridate, Belmonte in Die Entfuhrung aus dem Serail, Tamino in The Magic Flute, and Alessandro in Il Re Pastore; Rinuccio in Puccini's Gianni Schicchi; Ernesto in Donizetti's Don Pasquale; Lorenzo in Auber's Fra Diavolo; Junge Graf in Zimmermann's Die Soldaten; Flammand in Strauss's Capriccio; and Eisenstein in Strauss's Die Fledermaus.
Benjamin Albright, trumpet
BM in Performance, 2003
Member of "The President's Own" United States Marine Band
Albright has been a member of the Buffalo Philharmonic, the Lansing Symphony, and
the Saginaw Symphony. While earning his doctorate at the University of Michigan, he
was a member of the Faculty Brass Quintet. He can be heard on two new recordings for
Naxos featuring the music of Aaron Copland and Ottorino Respighi. He is a member of
the esteemed "The President's Own" United States Marine Band and serves on the trumpet
faculty at American University.
Andrew Bisantz, conductor
BM in Performance, 1995
Music Director, Eugene Opera
Bisantz has developed a reputation leading orchestras and opera companies throughout
the country. His engagements have included Madame Butterfly and The Turn of the Screw at the Boston Lyric Opera, Rigoletto and The Magic Flute at the Florida Grand Opera, Carmen and Nixon in China with the Eugene Opera, and Don Giovanni at Wolf Trap. He made his European debut conducting symphonic concerts with the Orquestra
Sinfónica do Porto in Portugal.
Kell Black, artist
BA in Music, 1981
Professor at Austin Peay State University
Black holds a master's degree in sculpture and drawing from the University of Connecticut.
He has never left behind his interest in music, which has also included studies of
harpsichord and Baroque performance at the Hochschule für Musik in Vienna, Austria.
Recent projects include installations and innovative projects that incorporate video,
performance and theatrical elements.
Bradford Blackburn, composer
BM in Music Composition, 1996
Professor, University of Tampa
Blackburn directs the University of Tampa electronic music and recording studios.
Blackburn has collaborated with choreographers and visual artists to create interactive
sonification of dance movement. As a bassoonist, he has performed with the Danville
Symphony, Erie Philharmonic, and the Brevard Festival Orchestra. His primary research
and creative interests are in the areas of just intonation, microtonality, and interactive
computer music. Blackburn has explored the music of Harry Partch using replica instruments
that he built following his research at the Harry Partch Instrumentarium.
John Coggiola, researcher, educator
BM in Music Education
Chair, Music Education, Syracuse University
Coggiola teaches classes on psychological and sociological aspects of music, research
in music, behavioral techniques in music, technology in music education, instrumental
music methods, and pedagogy, and is a co-conductor for the Morton Schiff Jazz Ensemble.
He is a co-founder and co-conductor of the Allegro Youth Wind Ensemble. His research
is published in The Journal for Research in Music Education, The Bulletin of The Council for Research in Music Education, The International Association
of Jazz Educators Jazz Research Proceedings Yearbook, and The Instrumentalist.
Tony Caramia, pianist
BM in Performance, 1973
Professor, Eastman School of Music
At the Eastman School of Music, Caramia is Director of Piano Pedagogy Studies and
Coordinator of the Class Piano Program. He has been a guest on Marian McPartland's
"Piano Jazz" on NPR and has served as a judge for the American Jazz Piano Competition,
sponsored by the American Pianists Association. As a composer, he is published by
Alfred Music Publishing, Jazz Performers Series, Hal Leonard Publishing, and Keyboard
Musicianship. His multi-media presentations include tributes to George Gershwin, Harold
Arlen, Richard Rodgers and Cy Walter.
Terri Cooper Swanson, music therapist, autism specialist
BA in Music, BS in Music Therapy, 1997
Professor, Pittsburg State University
Cooper Swanson holds a doctorate from the University of Kansas and is the coordinator
of the autism spectrum disorder certificate program at Pittsburg State University.
She is the author of articles and book chapters, including leading resources for families
and schools on Asperger's syndrome and the autism spectrum.
Clark Dunbar, baritone
BM in Music Education, 1961
Dunbar is a Fulbright fellow who studied in Vienna at the Hochschule fur darstellende
Kunst. In an active career in Germany, Dunbar became the lead baritone for the Lubeck
Joseph Flaxman, baritone
BM in Performance, 2006
Flaxman's voice has been described as "robust and powerful," and he has earned opera
credits as Il Conte and Figaro in Le nozze di Figaro, Guglielmo in Così fan tutte, Papageno in Die Zauberflöte, Marcello in La Bohème, Silvio in I Pagliacci, Pangloss in Candide, Prince Yamadori in Madama Butterfly, Marullo in Rigoletto, and others. He has performed with Opera Memphis, Sarasota Opera, Des Moines Opera,
and Opera Manhattan.
Matthew Fried, educator
BM in Music Education, 2006
Music teacher, conductor, Betsy Ross Arts Magnet Middle School, New Haven, Connecticut
Fried initiated a Bandquest workshop for his students through the American Composers
Forum. The collaboration with composer Christopher Theofanidis led to the premiere
performance of a new work, Sweet like that. Fried holds a master's in tuba performance from Yale, and is also an accomplished
Marcus Goldhaber, singer-songwriter
BM in Performance, 2000
New York City musician
Goldhaber's "wonderfully imaginative" and intimate approach to straight-ahead jazz
has won him critical acclaim from audiences and musicians alike. The New Yorker wrote
of one of his recordings: "It will have you giddy one moment and melancholy the next
and loving every note." He performs in many jazz venues in New York, including Iridium,
The Kitano, The Metropolitan Room, The Cutting Room, Sweet Rhythm, Opia, The Friars
Club, The Makor/Steinhardt Center, The Carnegie Club, and Lenox Lounge.
Jonathan Green, composer, conductor, higher education administrator
BM in Performance, 1985
Provost and Dean of the Faculty; Director, University Choir, Illinois Wesleyan University
Prior to his current position, Green was Dean and Vice President for Academic Affairs
at Sweet Briar College, where he received the 1999 Award for Excellence in Teaching.
As a composer, he has received awards from ASCAP, the North Carolina Arts Council,
and the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts. Among his 140 plus compositions are
numerous songs, choral works, three piano concertos, and seven symphonies. Green is
the author of a series of conductor guides for choral-orchestral works and a bio-bibliography
on the work of Carl Ruggles.
Roberta Guaspari, educator
BM in Music Education, 1969
Cofounder and teacher, Opus 118 Harlem School of Music
Guaspari began her remarkable teaching career in three East Harlem public schools
where she devised her own teaching method, combining the rudiments of traditional
violin instructions, elements of the Suzuki method, with her own highly developed
approach to the instrument. When budget cuts threatened the program, parents, teachers
and volunteers helped to create Opus 118. A documentary, Small Wonders (Allan Miller), and a feature film, Music of the Heart (Miramax, starring Meryl Streep as Guaspari), tell the story of the creation of the
program and the hope generated through the effort. Both films were nominated for Academy
Awards. Guaspari has received numerous honors for her work as a dynamic and devoted
teacher. Today the Opus 118 Harlem School of Music has grown to include a Community
Music School, a teacher training program, and an annual String Training Workshop for
Larry Gwozdz, saxophonist
BM in Music Education, 1975
Professor, University of Southern Mississippi
Gwozdz has earned a reputation for revealing the qualities of the saxophone as intended
originally by its inventor, Adolphe Sax. He has performed in the major cities in Europe
and North America: Chicago, Leipzig, London, Los Angeles, Manchester, New York, Prague,
St. Louis, Zagreb, Zurich and others. He has recorded widely, championing new works
for saxophone and celebrating the career of Sigurd Rascher, a pioneer of classical
saxophone. Composers Samuel Adler, Walter Hartley, Zdenek Lukas, Armand Russell, Robert
Starer, Roger Vogel, John Worley and others have dedicated new works to him.
Jonathan Haim, curatorial librarian
BM in Performance
Curator, American Music Collection and The Rodgers and Hammerstein Archives of Recorded
Sound, New York Public Library
Hiam began his musicianship as a choirboy at St. Paul's Cathedral in Buffalo and
also holds a master's degree from Boston University. To complement his curatorial
work at the New York Public Library, he remains active as a vocalist in New York City.
Jonathan Handman, conductor
MM Performance in Orchestra Conducting, 2002
Cofounder and Artistic Director of the Stringendo Orchestra School of the Hudson
Valley; orchestra director at Arlington High School in Poughkeepsie, New York
Handman has performed professionally as both trombonist and cellist. At Stringendo,
he directs two orchestras, Vivace and Mazurka, and at Arlington he is the conductor
of two symphony orchestras and directs an extensive chamber music program. In each
program, his orchestras have won the Grand Champion prize at the American String Teachers
Association National Orchestra Festival. Handman was Oberlin Conservatory's invited
guest speaker, representing the decade of the 1990's, celebrating its 100th year anniversary
of Music Education.
David Heid, pianist
BM in Performance, 1987
Staff accompanist and professor, Duke University
Prior to his appointment at Duke, David Heid enjoyed a successful career as a vocal
coach in New York City, where he also served on the staff of the Juilliard School
of Music. His coaching clients include Grammy and Tony Award winners. In addition
to his work as a pianist, arranger, composer and conductor, he has worked extensively
in gospel music and produced award-winning recordings.
BM in Music Education, 1966
Hemer is the owner of Al Hemer Music in Orchard Park, NY. He has been recognized
for his services to music education from the Erie County Music Educator's Association,
NYSSMA and NYSBDA.
Craig Kier, accompanist, conductor
BM in Music Education, 1999
Associate Conductor and Assistant Chorus Master, Houston Grand Opera Studio
Kier has conducted at Glimmerglass Festival, Houston Ballet, Atlanta Ballet, Atlanta
Opera, and the Royal Opera House in Muscat, Oman. He began his career as part of Seattle
Opera's music staff, serving in a variety of roles including assistant conductor,
coach/accompanist, and chorus master.
Barbara Kilduff, coloratura soprano
BM in Performance, 1981
International career; faculty, Phillips Academy
Kilduff's voice has been called crystalline, bright and silvery. She was the national
winner of the Metropolitan Opera Council auditions, and she went on to win first prize
in the Munich International Competition and the silver medal in the Tchaikovsky Competition
in Moscow. She debuted with the Bavarian, Vienna and Hamburg State Operas as Zerbinetta
in Richard Strauss's Ariadne auf Naxos, a role she repeated in Basel, Vancouver, Athens, Cologne, and in her Metropolitan
Opera debut conducted by James Levine. She has appeared at the Met often since then,
and her career has also taken her to the Bavarian State Opera and La Scala. She is
equally acclaimed for oratorio, performing under the direction of Mistislav Rostropovich,
Charles Dutoit, Leonard Slatkin, Sir Colin Davis, and Pierre Boulez.
Kent Knappenberger, music educator
BM in Music Education, 1987
Grammy Music Educator Award winner
Knappenberger teaches choral and general music at the Westfield Central School in
Chautauqua County where he has built a large and vital program for students from 6th
grade through high school. His multi-faceted skills as a composer, arranger, harpist
and director have enabled him to create opportunities for music-making with students
of all abilities and inclinations. In 2014, he won the first ever Grammy Award in
music education, chosen from a pool of 30,000 nominees.
Nancy Krestic, choral director, educator
BM in Music Education, 1962
Krestic is cofounder of the Chautauqua Children's Chorale and served as its artistic
director until her retirement. She taught music in Silver Creek at the elementary,
middle and high schools. She is past president of the New York chapter of the American
Choral Directors Association and past president of the Chautauqua County Music Teachers
Association. For 25 years she served as the Voice Coordinator for NYSSMA, and she
has presented workshops and seminars at choral and education conferences in the U.S.
and Europe. Her choirs have toured internationally.
James Leve, musicologist
BA in Music, 1984
Director of the Graduate Program, Northern Arizona University
Leve earned his doctorate in musicology from Yale University. He is the recipient
of various research grants, including two Fulbright Fellowships, a National Endowment
for the Humanities Summer Stipend, and three Northern Arizona University Intramural
grants. Recent publications include a modern edition and English translation of Jacopo
Melani's 1658 comic opera Il potestà di Colognole and a volume on Kander and Ebb for the Yale Broadway Masters Series.
Stephen Lusmann, baritone
Fredonia degree BM in Performance, 1977
Professor, University of Michigan
Lusmann is an active concert soloist who has performed widely, and he has sung leading
roles with Oper der Stadt Bonn, Opera de Monte Carlo, Stadttheater Luzern, Washington
Opera, Cincinnati Opera, Opera Company of Philadelphia, Boston Lyric Opera, Glimmerglass
Opera, Opera Carolina, Opera Columbus, Anchorage Opera, Utah Opera, Opera Birmingham,
Connecticut Grand Opera, Dayton Opera, Artpark, and tours with the New York City Opera
under conductors and directors including Leonard Slatkin, Christopher Keene, Franco
Zefferelli, and Gian Carlo Menotti.
James Maiello, musicologist
BM in Music Education, 2000
Professor, Vanderbilt University
Maiello earned his doctorate from University of California, Santa Barbara. His research
interests include plainchant, medieval and Renaissance music, and the philosophy of
music education. He has presented his research at both musicology and interdisciplinary
conferences in the U.S. and Europe. Teaching responsibilities at Vanderbilt include
both collegiate and precollege music history courses.
Sean Patrick McGraw, singer-songwriter
BA in Music, 1989
McGraw is a country music singer and former Nashville Star semi-finalist who describes
his music as "something like Lyle Lovett singing Springsteen songs." His song Fiona won top honors at the 2008 Independent Music Awards. McGraw earned first place at
the American Songwriting Competition and at the Mountain Stages New Song Festival.
He was a finalist in the International Songwriting Competition and the Mid-Atlantic
David McHugh, film composer
BM in Music Education, 1966
Film music program director, University of North Carolina School of the Arts
McHugh is a pianist and composer who has eagerly explored a career of varied interests,
including writing, sculpture, architecture, photography, and furniture making. His
motivation has been to achieve an ever-increasing state of awareness, exploring human
consciousness, and the nature of beauty. As a result, he has credits in concert music,
songs written for popular artists (e.g., the Pointer Sisters), film, modern dance
and commercials. He remains active in all areas of work.
Peter McHugh, violin
BM in performance, 1963
Emeritus professor, University of Louisville
McHugh was on the faculty of the University of Louisville School of Music for 39
years and was honored by being appointed Distinguished Professor Emeritus. He was
violinist with The McHugh-Oliphant Duo and The Louisville String Quartet, concertmaster
with the Louisville Orchestra, and soloist with the Pasadena Symphony, Aspen Festival
Orchestra, Nashville Symphony, San Diego Symphony, and the Oklahoma Symphony. McHugh
has performed under the world's most notable conductors and collaborated with such
artists as Isaac Stern, Yo-Yo Ma, Itzhak Perlman, Arthur Rubinstein, Leonard Rose
and Claudio Arrau.
Kenneth Meyer, guitar
BM Composition and Performance, 1993
Professor, Syracuse University
Meyer is regarded by the Washington Post as "a thinking man's guitarist." He has
appeared in recital, as a chamber musician, and soloist with orchestra in venues throughout
North America, South America, and Europe: Carnegie Hall, Wolf Trap, Skirbal Center
in Los Angeles, Italy, Venezuela, Romania, Hungary and others.
David Newman, pianist
BM in Performance, 1984
Professor, Beloit College
Newman earned advanced degrees from Rutgers and the Guildhall School of Music and
Drama in London, England, where he garnered its highest performing honor, the Concert
Recital Diploma (Premier Prix). In Chicago, Newman recorded for the Steppenwolf Theater
Company's production of Another Time, starring Albert Finney, and could frequently
be heard on WFMT. He served as staff accompanist in the studios of members of the
Chicago Symphony, and performed at the University of Chicago, Northwestern University,
DePaul University, the Chicago Cultural Center, and others. Now a resident of Wisconsin,
he is a founding member of Zephyr, a chamber group dedicated to performing works written
for piano and winds.
Richard Nunemaker, clarinetist, educator
BM in Music Education, 1964
Professor, University of St. Thomas in Houston and the American Festival for the
Nunemaker has led a varied career as a symphony musician, concert soloist, recording
artist, producer, educator and author. He played clarinet, bass clarinet and saxophone
with the Houston Symphony Orchestra from 1967 to 2008. He has played New York road
show productions of West Side Story, My Fair Lady and South Pacific and others, and appeared as soloist in recital and with symphony orchestras around
the country. An advocate of music by living American composers, Nunemaker has commissioned
over 100 works for clarinet and saxophone. He recorded two CDs with the Houston Symphony
Orchestra featuring the music of Benny Goodman and Artie Shaw and published four books
on clarinet and saxophone studies and technique.
John Poppo, audio engineer
BS in Sound Recording Technology, 1984
Founder and CEO of Pop Productions, Inc.
Poppo is a producer, engineer and musician who has worked with the music industry's
biggest stars: Michael Jackson, Janet Jackson, Mariah Carey, NSync, Seal, Madonna,
Al Green and Vanessa Williams. He is also a published songwriter with BMG/Universal
Music Publishing. Poppo is on the board of The Recording Academy (GRAMMY).
Thomas Regelski, music educator, scholar
BM in Music Education, 1962
Docent, University of Helsinki, Finland
With a doctorate in Comparative Studies from Ohio University, Regelski returned to
SUNY Fredonia for a thirty-five year career on the music education faculty and became
a Distinguished Professor prior to his retirement. He has published three books, including
Teaching General Music in Grades 4-8: A Musicianship Approach, and numerous articles in major international journals. His research has focused on
action theory, a field of scholarship that bridges sociology, philosophy and psychology,
which has had important implications for curricular development, music teaching and
music making. He is one of the co-founders of The MayDay Group, an international group
of scholars and practitioners of critical theory and critical thinking.
Bennett Reimer, researcher, educator
BM in Music Education, 1954
Emeritus Professor, Northwestern University
Reimer is former chair of music education, director of the Ph.D. program in music
education, and founder and director of the Center for the Study of Education and the
Musical Experience at Northwestern University. He is the author or editor of two dozen
books and more than 150 articles, chapters and reviews. His writing, teaching and
lecturing have ranged over a diversity of topics including philosophy of music education,
curriculum theory, research theory, multicultural issues, musical intelligences, interdisciplinary
arts principles, teacher education, international music education issues and applications
of cognitive psychology to music learning. A special double issue of The Journal of Aesthetic Education, "Musings: Essays in Honor of Bennett Reimer," was published in winter 1999. Reimer
is an inductee into the Music Educators Hall of Fame and recipient of the Music Educators
National Conference Senior Researcher Award.
Frederick Renz, conductor, harpsichordist
BM in Performance, 1962
Director, Early Music New York
Renz was keyboard soloist with the legendary New York Pro Musica Antiqua for six
seasons and founded the Early Music Foundation when the former organization disbanded
in 1974. Under his enterprising direction, Early Music New York has earned accolades
worldwide for its vibrant performances of music and music drama from the Middle Ages
through the early classical periods. As harpsichordist, Renz has recorded extensively
and has appeared in concert and recital internationally.
Wade Richards, licensed creative arts therapist, board certified music therapist
BS in Music Therapy, 1995
Program Director, Trinity Assistance Corporation, Blue Ridge Music Therapy Center
Richards is the founder and former Chair of the Music Therapy Department and Orff-Schulwerk
Department at the Hochstein School of Music & Dance where he served for 16 years.
He also is the Program Director and founder of the Therapeutic Arts Program, a transition
program he created for individuals with special needs ages 21-30. Richards completed
his Orff-Schulwerk level training through the Eastman School of Music, University
of Kentucky, and Arizona State. He also pursued specialized training in Neurologic
Music Therapy from the Center for Biomedical Research in Music at Colorado State University,
and completed the advanced fellowship training through that program.
Domonic Sack, sound designer
BS in Sound Recording Technology, 1983
Executive Vice-President, Sound Associates Inc.
Sack provides sound design and consultation for Broadway musicals, opera, movie premieres
and concert reinforcement. He is also a lyric tenor with The Metropolitan Opera. His
Broadway/Off Broadway sound design and consulting credits include: Sister Act, The Fantastics, The Odd Couple, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, La Cage aux Folles,
Little Shop of Horrors, Movin' Out (Broadway), The Vagina Monologues (Broadway), the New York Philharmonic, and the Washington Opera. He is collaborator
on the design of a new recital hall and a black box theater for the Manhattan School
Eric Schnobrick, pianist, accompanist
BM in Performance, 2002
Accompanist, Alexandria Choral Society
Prior to his current position, Schnobrick spent five seasons as the artistic events
and music manager for the Glimmerglass Festival in Cooperstown, New York. During his
tenure there, he accompanied events and recitals, the Festival Chorus, the Glimmerglass
Children's Chorus, and the Glimmerglass Orchestra. Before that, he was a resident
artist with The Minnesota Opera and assistant conductor at the Fort Worth Opera, where
served as vocal coach, aided choral preparation, and accompanied rehearsals for the
Wayne Sharpe, film composer
BS in Sound Recording Technology, 1986
Sharpe first pursued formal training on piano, trumpet and violin, but in college
he explored composition and audio engineering, which led him to work with Grammy award-winner
Rich James and then to the major studios of New York City. For television, he has
written music for the Olympics, Discovery and the History Channel. He has provided
commercial work for Intel, Maybelline, L'Oreal, Cover Girl, Acuvue, Mobil, and Red
Lobster. He earned a reputation as a versatile composer while working on independent
films, IMAX and documentaries, and this attracted the attention of Prakash Jha, who
invited Sharpe to bring the western film scoring sound to the Bollywood market. Soon
after that, he scored Gangaajal, winning India's top Filmfare award for best score.
This opened the door to many subsequent projects, and he is currently active on both
Howie Shear, trumpet
BM in Music Education, 1975
Shear toured with the Woody Herman Band as lead trumpet player and featured soloist
before he moved to Los Angeles to work as a studio musician and soloist. He has worked
with, among many others, The Chuck Mangione Orchestra, Tony Bennett, George Benson,
Mel Torme, Reno Jones, The Temptations, and The Spinners. He was the musical arranger
and lead trumpet player on the Joan Rivers Late Night Show, played various shows at
the Ahmanson Theater, and appeared at jazz festivals around the world. Shear has his
own jazz quartet, and his classical work includes playing with brass quintets and
choirs, solo church work, and solo work in the studios.
Catherine Sutherland, choral director, educator
BM in Music Education; MM in Music Education, 1977
Sutherland is retired from Transit Middle School in the Williamsville Central School
District where she taught vocal music. She has been the accompanist of the Buffalo
Niagara Youth Chorus, Inc./Western New York Children's Chorus since 1988, and has
traveled with them to England, Scotland, Ireland, Germany, Italy, Amsterdam and France.
In 1996, she was awarded the Artist-Teacher Diploma in Canterbury, England after completing
Level III of the Choral Music Experience Institute for Choral Teacher Education.
Ron Sutherland, band director, educator
BM in Music Education, 1961
Sutherland retired from the Clarence, New York Central School District after 25 years
teaching instrumental music. He also taught in Williamsville and Silver Creek. Under
Sutherland's direction, the Clarence Bands toured throughout the Eastern United States
and Canada, and he still travels to Europe each summer with a select band and chorus
under the auspices of American Music Abroad. Sutherland is Past President of the New
York State School Music Association.
Helen Tinch Williams, singer, educator
BM in Music Education, 1960
Tinch Williams taught music for 37 years in the Ossining public schools as a vocal
music educator. She also taught at Manhattanville College. Throughout her career,
she has been the recipient of numerous awards for her teaching, musicianship and citizenry.
She is the co-author, with daughter Vanessa, of You Have No Idea, a book about their lives and experiences.
Brian Usifer, musical theatre director, pianist
BM in Performance, 2003
Current title/position: Broadway pianist/music director
After Fredonia, Usifer moved to New York City, earning a master's at New York University
and developing his reputation on Broadway, where he is the music director and pianist
for The Book of Mormon. Prior to his engagement with this megahit, he was music director for 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee (Broadway), Altar Boyz (Off- Broadway), Alive At Ten (Richard Rodgers Award), and regional productions of The World Goes 'Round, High School Musical, Funked Up Fairytales, West Side Story,
FAME! The Musical and Follies.
Victoria Vargas, mezzo soprano
BM in Performance, 2008
Vargas, still early in her career, earned her master's degree from Manhattan and
has gathered impressive credentials. She has performed the roles Marcellina in Le nozze di Figaro, the Witch in Hansel and Gretel, the title role in Carmen and Dorabella in Così fan tutte. At Chautauqua, she won the company's Guild Studio Artist and Apprentice Artist Awards,
singing Laura in Luisa Miller and the Second Lady in Die Zauberflöte. She won recognition at the Met district auditions in both 2008 and 2012. She regularly
appears now with the Minnesota Opera (Tisbe in Cinderella, Flora in La Traviata, Alisa in Lucia di Lammermoor, Suzuki in Madame Butterfly and others).
Patrick Walders, choral conductor
BM in Music Education, BM in Performance, 1997
Director of Choral Activities, San Diego State University
With advanced degrees from Westminster Choir College and the University of Maryland,
Walders conducts the Aztec Concert Choir and the San Diego State University Chamber
Choir. His research interests include vocal pedagogy, diction, and rehearsal techniques
especially in ensemble settings, and how dance and movement relates to conducting
gesture. Prior to joining the faculty at San Diego State University, he served as
the Director of Choral Activities at James Madison University. As a baritone/countertenor,
Walders has sung professionally throughout the northeastern United States. He has
taught public school (7-12th grade) and is passionate about teaching future music
teachers, enabling them to be significant ambassadors not only for choral music, but
for all the arts.
Wade Weast, trumpet, higher ed administration
BM in Music Education, 1989
Dean of the School of Music at the University of North Carolina School of the Arts
Weast's experience includes performances with the New Haven Symphony, New York City
Opera, American Symphony Orchestra, the Chautauqua Symphony and the Buffalo Philharmonic.
He has also collaborated with such diverse groups as the Erick Hawkins Dance Company,
New York City Ballet, Natalie Cole, and the rock group YES. Prior to becoming dean
in North Carolina, Weast was Director of the School of Music at the University of
South Florida and also served for ten years on the faculty of SUNY Fredonia where
he was Associate Director of the School of Music.
Milton Williams, saxophone, music educator
BM in Music Education, 1967
Milton Williams, father of Vanessa and Chris Williams, and husband of Helen Tinch
Williams, also an alumna, taught music for 43 years at Alice E. Grady Elementary School
in Elmsford, New York. He was assistant principal of the school when he retired in
2003. Mr. Williams was highly regarded for his work in the Westchester arts community,
serving as president of the Westchester County School Music Association, heading several
all-county music festivals and regularly performing locally in the schools and community