Watson Retiring as ONNY Treasurer

After 27 years of doing the books, taxes, and keeping The Orchestra of Northern New York in good financial standing, Mary Jane Watson, South Colton, has retired her position as treasurer of the North Country’s only professional symphony orchestra.

She was instrumental in the early years after ONNY was incorporated in 1995, and has played many roles and seen many changes throughout the years.

“The Orchestra used to be a smaller chamber ensemble, and it has grown in size significantly,” she added. Summer pops orchestras have been comprised of 70 musicians.

“We used to do the box office in-house. I remember going to the bank the very next day after a concert to make a deposit to cover the musicians’ checks,” she said in a recent interview.  “Cashflow is much better today,” she added.

She also saw the annual budget increase substantially. Pre-COVID, the budget was nearly a quarter of a million dollars.

Events such as Bach’s Luncheons, a holiday brunch and silent auction, and raffles have been lucrative fundraisers over the years, but none was as successful as the Symphony Junque Sale held during the Potsdam Summer Festival for over 20 years.

Watson and Eleanor Hopke, Suella Young, and Marguerite Scheyer spent hours sorting through donations and marking them for sale. A long day of set-up, one for the sale, and another for clean-up made the fundraiser very labor intensive, and ONNY’s most successful fundraiser.

“We had people who became regular shoppers,” she added. “People who never came to the concerts would frequent the Junque sale.”

She is most proud that the orchestra has “survived.” It will mark the beginning of its 35th anniversary later this year.

She is also pleased that musicians’ fees have increased, a full-time executive director has been hired, and an endowment was created in partnership with the Northern New York Community Foundation. Today, ONNY’s endowment is about $200,000 and growing.

COVID presented interesting challenges, and a silver lining. Concerts were cancelled for 18 months, and programming went digital. Last year, three concerts were held with COVID protocol in place, but attendance was down 30%. COVID grant money will help ONNY celebrate its 35th year with larger orchestras and the return of the Baroque concert.

“I remember the Pre-COVID days when the holiday and summer pops concerts packed Hosmer Hall,” she says. That venue seats nearly 1,200 people. ONNY also faces new challenges with a recent grant for outreach in the Adirondacks, requiring the organization to raise $300,000 in five years. “I’m concerned about the Orchestra’s ability to meet that obligation, she said candidly.

While many aspects of this nonprofit organization have changed since the mid-90s, “the quality of the music remains outstanding under Maestro Kenneth Andrews’ direction,” Watson says.

A reception will be held in her honor on Saturday, April 2 at 6 pm at the Clarkson Inn, allowing interested persons to wish her well and still make the pre-concert lecture at 6:45 pm before the 7:30 pm concert. To attend the reception, persons must contact Executive Director Kathy Del Guidice at or 315-212-3440.

9th Grader’s Music Composition to be Performed by ONNY April 2

The Orchestra of Northern New York will perform a new work composed by a 9th grader when it presents Dreams of Spring, Saturday, April 2 at 7:30 pm in SUNY Potsdam’s Hosmer Hall and Sunday, April 3 at 3 pm in Watertown’s First Presbyterian Church.

Constantine Darie originally composed WAVES in MuseScore during the pandemic that started two years ago. He began composing after being introduced to the computer program, Garage Band, by former Crane School of Music student Thomas Lawton, who is currently a music teacher at the Harlem Children’s Zone.

The composer Toby Fox is one of Darie’s major inspirations. Darie has also been influenced by several music teachers, including Catherine Frick, Jill Rubio, Jill Savage, Matthew Gayle, Melinda Zvacek, Dr. Michelle Martin-Atwood, and Beth Robinson.

He is self-taught in MuseScore and FL Studio, and has participated in the NYSSMA electronic composition program as well as the Crane Youth Music program held each summer. Currently, Constantine is being coached in composition by Lorie Gruneisen, a published composer, who has given him input for the orchestration of WAVES.

Mrs. Gruneisen plays violin in The Orchestra of Northern New York, and brought this talented teenager to the attention of ONNY’s Music Director and Conductor, Ken Andrews. She says, “Constantine is a gifted young man who, I believe, will continue to excel and quite possibly be an innovator in the field of music. His compositions are in a contemporary style and very pleasing to the ear.”

“ONNY is pleased to premiere this new work by a gifted young composer, Constantine Darie. May his achievement inspire other young musicians to follow in his footsteps for they are the future of music,” says Andrews.

In addition to composing, Darie plays several instruments, including piano, cello, and electric bass. He is a member of ensembles and orchestras including the North Country Connections Orchestra, in which he plays with his mother and sister. He also performs with the Potsdam High School orchestra, its jazz band, and the All-County Orchestra and Chorus.

This summer, Constantine plans to study composition at the Walden School in New Hampshire. His compositions can be found in MuseScore and SoundCloud under the name Kostaki01.

He is the son of Costel C. Darie and Alisa G. Wood, Potsdam.

ONNY Partners with HarmoNNY to Conduct Instrument Drive

Donate a Musical Instrument and Save $5 on ONNY Ticket!

The Orchestra of Northern New York, the North Country's only year-round professional symphony orchestra, and HarmoNNY Performing Arts Community are partnering to host an instrument drive in Watertown on Sunday, April 3.

All those who bring a gently used musical instrument or musical equipment to Dreams of Spring, ONNY's concert slated for 3 pm at First Presbyterian Church, will receive a $5 discount off their ticket purchase. One need not purchase a ticket to donate an instrument prior to the concert.

HarmoNNY started the instrument lending library earlier this year when it discovered that some schools do not have sufficient instruments for children willing to learn how to play one. The lending library is available to all individuals in Jefferson, Lewis, and St. Lawrence Counties. 

"Since HarmoNNY works with all local school districts, an instrument donation to the lending library is an excellent way to ensure that your instrument has a lasting positive impact on your community," says Joseph Foy, president of HarmoNNY.

The current inventory, available to adults and children, can be found at All instruments, except acoustic pianos, are appreciated. A tax-deductible receipt will be provided in exchange for donated instruments by ONNY staff at the April 3rd concert.

For more information, contact ONNY Executive Director Kathy Del Guidice at or 315-212-3440.

ONNY Dreams of Spring Featuring Young Artist and Composer

The Orchestra of Northern New York, the North Country's only year-round professional symphony orchestra, will present two performances of classical music that evokes the joy and renewal of spring while celebrating the talents of two exceptional young people.

Dreams of Spring will take place on Saturday, April 2 at 7:30 pm in SUNY Potsdam's Hosmer Hall, and on Sunday, April 3 at 3 pm in Watertown's First Presbyterian Church.  

The program opens with Haydn's Symphony No. 88 in G Major followed by Mozart's Piano Concerto No. 17 in G Major, performed by the 2022 Young Artist Competition winner, Victoria Huffman, 16, Theresa. She played the piece from memory to take First Place in the competition, earning a chance to solo with the full orchestra and the $500 first prize.

The second half begins with a new work, "Waves," composed in MuseScore by Potsdam High School Ninth Grader Constantine Darie during the pandemic. He started composing after being introduced to the computer program, Garage Band, by former Crane student Thomas Lawton, currently a Music Teacher at the Harlem Children's Zone. Constantine includes the composer Toby Fox as one of his major inspirations. It is the first time ONNY has performed a piece composed by a teenager.

The program continues with Mascagni's "Ratcliff s Dream" from Guglielmo Ratcliff (William Ratcliff). Concluding the concert will be all four movements of Smetana's "Vlatava" ("The Moldau") from Ma Vlast (My Fatherland). It is a piece about the great river, Vlatava, or 'The Moldau" on its journey from its source in the mountains of the Bohemian Forest through the Czech countryside to the city of Prague. The music captures the passage through a forest hunt, peasant wedding, a nymph's dance in moonlight, and the rapids of St. John.

ONNY musicians are eager to perform in-person once again. For the safety of musicians and concertgoers, the public is asked to wear masks while in all public places, such as the lobby, restrooms, and while socially distanced in the concert hall.

Tickets are $27 for adults, discounted to $24 for seniors (60+), military personnel (active and veterans), and all healthcare workers as an expression of ONNY's thanks for their tireless efforts during the past two years of the pandemic. Tickets for teens (13-17) are $5 while children (12 and younger) are always admitted free.

A $5 discount is available to all those who donate a gently used musical instrument at the Watertown concert on April 3. ONNY is partnering with Watertown-based HarmoNNY Performing Arts Community to build an lending library that will provide instruments to school districts, adults, and children interested in learning to play one.

ONNY is sponsored, in part, by the New York State Council on the Arts, a state agency with the support of Governor Kathy Hochul and the New York State Legislature; and by the Northern New York Community Foundation.

For more information about the instrument drive or tickets for the concert, visit, Brick & Mortar Music, 15 Market St., Potsdam, the CPS Box Office in the Performing Arts Center at SUNY Potsdam, or by calling 315-267-2277.

Theresa Junior Wins Young Artist Competition

A young pianist from Indian River High School won First Place recently in the 16th Annual James and Katherine Andrews Young Artist Competition, sponsored by The Orchestra of Northern New York.  ONNY is the North Country’s professional symphony orchestra since 1988.

Victoria Huffman, 16, performed the first movement of Mozart’s Piano Concerto No. 17 in G Major, K. 453 (1784) from memory, as required by competition rules, to secure an opportunity to solo with the Orchestra at the April 2 and 3 concerts in Potsdam and Watertown respectively. As First Place winner, she also earned a cash prize of $500.

Last year, Victoria won second place in the CNYAMT Advanced Piano Competition and ONNY’s 15th annual competition. She enjoys playing bass guitar, and performing in her school’s drama club, chorus, and show choir. She is a member of various school clubs and organizations, serving as Vice President of the Junior Class, Student Council and National Honor Society.

Victoria is the daughter of James and Lydia Huffman, Theresa.       

[[{"fid":"580","view_mode":"default","fields":{"format":"default","alignment":"left","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":false,"field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":false},"type":"media","field_deltas":{"1":{"format":"default","alignment":"left","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":false,"field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":false}},"attributes":{"width":"150","style":"width: 150px;","class":"media-element file-default media-wysiwyg-align-left","data-delta":"1"}}]]Soren Krantz, 16, took Second Place with a cash prize of $350. He performed the first three movements from Bach’s Piano Concerto No. 5 in F Minor, BWV 1056 (1738).

He began studying piano at five years of age under his mother’s tutelage and the keen eye of his three older siblings who also play piano. The number of strings he has broken on the piano is rivaled only by his older brother. At age 14, Soren became the student of piano teacher, John Spradling, Syracuse. Homeschooled since kindergarten, he currently attends Onondaga Community College.

Soren is the son of Alex and Sabine Krantz, Syracuse.



[[{"fid":"581","view_mode":"default","fields":{"format":"default","alignment":"left","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":false,"field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":false},"type":"media","field_deltas":{"3":{"format":"default","alignment":"left","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":false,"field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":false}},"attributes":{"width":"150","style":"width: 150px;","class":"media-element file-default media-wysiwyg-align-left","data-delta":"3"}}]]Trombonist Sean Alvaro, 17, a junior at West Genesee High School won third place and $150. He performed the first two movements of Grondahl's Trombone Concerto. A trombone student since Fourth Grade, Sean studies with Dave Diggennaro, Syracuse.

A participant in many All-County festivals, Sean is part of his school’s Wind Ensemble, Jazz Band, Chorale and school musical productions, and is currently the Drum Major for the marching band. In 2020, Sean won the Outstanding Underclass Brass Award, and recently received Honorable Mention in the CNYAMT instrumental competition.   He attributes his success to his parents, both of whom are music educators, and other music teachers.

Sean is the son of Anthony and Maureen Alvaro, Syracuse.

ONNY’s Young Artist Competition was established in 2007 for talented high school students in Northern New York to achieve their highest level of artistry. The next competition will be held in February 2023. For more information, contact or Executive Director Kathy Del Guidice at 315-212-3440.

The Orchestra of Northern New York Resumes Programming with A Streamed Concert: Baroque and Beyond

POTSDAM – The Bravura Baroque Orchestra of The Orchestra of Northern New York presents a concert this week that goes beyond the Baroque time period and includes music from the Classical period, the 21st century, and a set of dances written in the style of the 16th century Renaissance. 

Baroque and Beyond, conducted by ONNY Founder and Music Director, Kenneth Andrews, is a ticketed streamed event that may be seen online Saturday, June 5 at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday, June 6 at 3:00 p.m. The concert was rehearsed and recorded in the beautiful Roman Catholic Church of St. Mary in Canton, New York.

Tickets for this streamed event are discounted 25%, allowing anyone to enjoy the program from the comfort and safety of their home. Tickets for adults are $20; seniors and military personnel $16.50; college students $7.50; teens (13 to 17) $4; and as always children (12 and Under) are admitted FREE. A new family rate of $25 for streamed concerts is available for the first time this coming weekend.

The concert opens with the scintillating energy of Antonio Vivaldi’s Concerto in G Major “Alla Rustica.”  Peter Warlock’s Capriol Suite, an audience favorite, features a variety of elegant Renaissance dances. ONNY musicians look forward to performing Starburst, written in 2012 by the rising American female composer, Jessie Montgomery. She was recently named Composer in Residence for the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. Finally, the virtuosic and noble sounds of Geminiani’s Concerto Grosso in D Minor “La Folia” conclude the concert. 

[[{"fid":"350","view_mode":"default","fields":{"format":"default","alignment":"left","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":"Joyce Cheng","field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":false},"type":"media","field_deltas":{"1":{"format":"default","alignment":"left","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":"Joyce Cheng","field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":false}},"attributes":{"alt":"Joyce Cheng","style":"width: 150px;","class":"media-element file-default media-wysiwyg-align-left","data-delta":"1"}}]]Cellist Joyce Cheng of Clifton Park offers a stirring solo performance of the Second and Third movements from the beautiful Cello Concerto in D Major by Franz Joseph Haydn. Ms. Cheng is the 2020 winner of the James and Katherine Andrews 14th Annual Young Artist Competition, sponsored by ONNY just before the pandemic hit last year.

Junior high and high school students from Northern and Central New York compete each winter by performing a piece of their choosing from memory. The winner receives $500 and the opportunity to solo with the North Country’s professional symphony orchestras.

Baroque and Beyond is sponsored by the New York State Council on the Arts, Northern New York Community Foundation, and a generous anonymous donor. North Country Public Radio and WWNY TV are media sponsors.

For tickets or more information, visit or call 315-212-3440.

ONNY Commissions Original Work from Noted Composer

POTSDAM – The New York State Council on the Arts has awarded an Individual Artist grant to The Orchestra of Northern New York (ONNY), the North Country’s only year-round professional symphony orchestra, on behalf of composer Gregory Wanamaker.  The Orchestra plans to debut the commissioned new orchestral work titled Still Life in Motion in spring 2022.

"The Orchestra of Northern New York is such an essential part of our cultural and artistic identity here in St. Lawrence County and the Adirondacks,” says the composer. “I am so grateful to the New York State Council on the Arts for supporting this wonderful new collaboration with ONNY to create a work for the North Country about our beautiful region,“ Wanamaker added.

Combining athletic virtuosity and lyrical expressionism, Gregory Wanamaker’s music has been described as “pure gold, shot through with tenderness and grace” (San Francisco Chronicle), “achingly  beautiful” (Palm Beach Daily News), “deeply romantic yet unsentimental” (I Care If You Listen), and “a technical tour de force” (Fanfare). 

“I have always been intrigued by Wanamaker’s compositional style as well as his varied palette of instrumental color, subtle nuances and relationships of rhythmic complexity,” says ONNY Music Director and Conductor Kenneth Andrews. “We are excited to premiere his original work as part of our 2021-2022 season of live concerts.”

Wanamaker’s earliest musical training began at age 6 in professional summer stock theater companies, and continued through both schooled and self-guided explorations through the American folk music of the  1960s, bebop and free jazz, and Western and global classical music of the late 20th century.

Prolific in all musical media from solo instrumental works to music for chorus and orchestra including  multimedia works, his best-known compositions are his chamber works that exploit unique timbral characteristics and technical extensions of wind instruments. To date, his virtuosic Duo Sonata for clarinet and saxophone has received over 500 performances world-wide and is featured on five commercial recordings. 

Dr. Wanamaker has closely collaborated with visual artists Carrie Mae Weems and Meggie George, choreographers Cheryl Wilkins-Mitchell and Guy Thorne, and more frequently the writer and director Garth Bardsley with whom he has created several works from intimate art songs to large works for chorus and orchestra. In addition, he created effects music for the film Sharknado 5: Global Swarming, produced by The Asylum for release on the Syfy Channel.

Previous commissioned works were supported in part by a National Endowment for the Arts 2011 Access to Artistic Excellence Grant. He also is the recipient of 2012 Individual Artist Commission from The New York State Council on the Arts in addition  to awards from ASCAP, The National Association of Composers/USA and Britten-On-The-Bay. 

His recent album Light and Shadows, Waves and Time features twenty-one musicians from around the globe in world premiere recordings of eight of his recent chamber works. Gregory Wanamaker publishes his own music,  which is available exclusively through his website at

The Orchestra of Northern New York (ONNY), a 501(c)(3) charitable nonprofit organization is s supported in part by the New York State Council on the Arts, a state agency with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the NYS Legislature."  For more information about ONNY, now in its 33rd year, visit, contact Executive Director Kathy Del Guidice at or call 315-212-3440.

ONNY Presents Live Conversation with Anthony McGill

Hailed for his “trademark brilliance, penetrating sound and rich character” (New York Times), clarinetist Anthony McGill is one of classical music’s most recognizable and brilliantly multifaceted figures. In addition to his dynamic international solo and chamber music career, McGill is principal clarinet of the New York Philharmonic—the first African-American principal player in the organization's history. In 2020, McGill was awarded the Avery Fisher Prize, one of classical music’s most significant awards given in recognition of soloists who represent the highest level of musical excellence.

“A Conversation with Anthony McGill” will feature this internationally renowned artist in a 30-minute interview conducted by Kenneth Andrews, Music Director of the Orchestra of Northern New York on Friday, April 23 at 6:00 p.m. Patrons may register to attend the livestream for free by visiting  While registering, there will be an opportunity to submit a question for Mr. McGill.

McGill will share his thoughts about diversity in American orchestras, his thoughts on various concertos that he performs, and respond to questions submitted in advance when viewers register to attend.

He was originally scheduled to appear in ONNY’s spring concert on April 24 and 25, both performances of which were canceled due to the ongoing pandemic. ONNY personnel are hopeful that McGill will be available to solo in an ONNY concert later this year, but confirmation may not be come until late summer.

In the aftermath of the killing of George Floyd on May 25, 2020, McGill launched a powerful musical protest video urging people to #TakeTwoKnees in demonstration against the death of George Floyd and historic racial injustice. His video went viral, and hundreds of artists and citizens amplified the message and responded to the protest with their own videos using the hashtag #TakeTwoKnees.

McGill is an ardent advocate for helping music education reach underserved communities and for addressing issues of diversity, equity, and inclusion in classical music.

A graduate of the Curtis Institute of Music, McGill previously served as the principal clarinet of the Metropolitan Opera and associate principal clarinet of the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra. In demand as a teacher, he serves on the faculty of The Juilliard School, Curtis Institute of Music, and Bard College-Conservatory of Music. In fall 2020, he was named Artist-in-Residence at the Cali School of Music at Montclair State University.

He is also a member of the board of directors for the League of American Orchestras, of which ONNY is a member.

Photo credit: Eric Rudd Photography

Sophomore Pianist Wu Wins ONNY Young Artist Competition

When pianist Alex Wu, a Syracuse-area high school student, placed second last year in The Orchestra of Northern New York’s annual James and Katherine Andrews Young Artist Competition, he was happy, but not satisfied. Even the pandemic couldn’t stop him from competing again in 2021 and this time, he achieved his goal of winning top honors in ONNY’s 15th annual competition.

Mr. Wu, 16, is a sophomore at Fayetteville-Manlius High School. He performed the first movement, Allegro, of Beethoven’s Concerto No. 5 in Eb Major, Op. 73, “Emperor” (1809-1811). Not only does he receive the $500 cash prize, but he also will have the opportunity to solo with ONNY, the North Country’s only year-round professional symphony orchestra at a future date to be announced.

For the past nine years, Wu has studied piano privately with John Spradling, Syracuse. His past accomplishments include winning the Onondaga Civic Symphony Orchestra Concerto Competition and Golden Key Vienna Music Festival, both in 2019, the CNYAMT Advanced Piano Competition, and the 19th AADGT International Young Musicians Festival. He is the son of Qing Wu and Qinru Qiu, Manlius.

Pianist Victoria Huffman, 15, won Second Place and a $300 cash prize. She, too, studies privately with Mr. Spradling. She performed the first movement of Mozart’s Concerto No. 17 in G Major, K.453 (1784).

Ms. Huffman is a junior at Indian River High School, Philadelphia NY, and is active in her school’s drama club, chorus, and show choir. Last year, she placed second in the CNYAMT Advanced Piano Competition.  She is the daughter of James and Lydia Huffman, Theresa.

Third Place went to violinist Katherine Yu, 16, a junior at Potsdam High School, for which she received $150. She won with a performance of Saint-Saёns’ Introduction and Rondo Capriccioso, Op. 28 (1863).

She studies violin with John Lindsey, Crane School of Music Professor Emeritus and ONNY Concertmaster, and oboe with ONNY Crane Student Apprentice Cailyn Monastero. She is the daughter of Dennis and Jennifer Yu, Potsdam.

The Young Artist Competition was established in 2007 in memory of James Andrews, father of ONNY Founder, Music Director and Conductor Kenneth Andrews. Its mission is to inspire young musicians to reach their highest level of artistry. The event is open to junior high and high school students in Northern and Central New York as well as the Capital District.

Information about the competition, including rules and regulations and the required repertoire that must be performed from memory, may be found at A brochure and application form for the next competition in  February 2022 will be updated shortly.

The Orchestra of Northern New York, a 501(c)(3) charitable nonprofit organization, is supported, in part, by the New York State Council, a state agency with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the NYS Legislature; and by the Northern New York Community Foundation, whose mission is to improve and enrich the quality of life for all in communities across Jefferson, Lewis, and St. Lawrence Counties.

Donations in support of the Young Artist Competition help defray the costs of this event, and are greatly appreciated. To contribute, visit

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Your Support is Instrumental This Season

Dear ONNY Friends,

'Tis the season for giving, and ONNY has been fortunate to receive a few special gifts in recent days that I wish to share with you. Perhaps they will inspire you to make a year-end donation.

Last week’s mail brought a $2,000 check from Jim Parks and Donna Behnke, Potsdam. When I called to thank them personally, Donna explained they usually travel, which is not possible now because of the pandemic. She and Jim decided to donate their travel funds to arts organizations, ONNY being one of the lucky ones.  

Jim and Donna, your gift will help ONNY create beautiful music for people to face the challenges of these day. We sincerely thank you.

A recent phone call from Brenda Healey, Potsdam, resulted in a gift from her family of two pieces of music for the Mozart & McGill concert planned for April. We look forward to welcoming Anthony McGill, internationally-renowned soloist and Principal Clarinet, NY Philharmonic, as the featured soloist for that concert. We are grateful to Brenda and her family for their ongoing support.

Purchasing music or covering rental costs is a great way to help reduce ONNY expenses. The donor’s name is permanently recognized on the work in ONNY’s music library, and acknowledged on the program page of the concert in which it is performed. 

[[{"fid":"521","view_mode":"medium","fields":{"format":"medium","alignment":"left","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":false,"field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":false},"type":"media","field_deltas":{"1":{"format":"medium","alignment":"left","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":false,"field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":false}},"attributes":{"class":"media-element file-medium media-wysiwyg-align-left","data-delta":"1"}}]]Santa also brought a BIG gift from a donor in San Francisco earlier this year.  Ann Flynn left a message at the ONNY office, inquiring about sponsoring a chair in the Orchestra. I was curious how someone in San Francisco knew about ONNY. Ann explained her family has a summer home in the Thousand Islands. She and her mother, Mrs. Geri Flynn, of Poquoson, VA, attended the August 2019 ONNY concert at the Clayton Opera House, and fell in love with the Orchestra.

Ann decided to donate $2,500 to sponsor a chair in the Orchestra in honor of her mother, who chose ONNY's Principal oboe chair, filled by Anna Hendrickson.

Then, another $2,500 was received to commission a new piece of music about the St. Lawrence River, the shores on which her mother spent her childhood. The piece is made possible by Geraldine Kavanaugh Flynn and her husband, Dr. Charles Flynn, in memory of Clifford and Margaret (Peg) Kavanaugh, Syracuse and Thousand Island Park, NY (shown here).

ONNY violinist, Gretchen Koehler, and NCPR personality and ONNY narrator at our holiday concert a few years, Barb Heller, spoke via Zoom with Mrs. Flynn recently to elicit her memories of growing up on the river. They will incorporate her recollections of the sounds of the river in the new work. It will premiere at three performances of ONNY’s summer Pops concert in July 2021, one of which is tentatively planned to take place at Thousand Island Park on July 2.

The moral of this story - There are many ways to support this cultural gem in the region.

Memorial gifts honor a lost loved one. This year, several friends of the late Eric Thacher, a loyal ONNY concertgoer, made donations in his memory. ONNY and Eric's sons, Jeff and Andy, are grateful for this special remembrance in their father's memory.

ONNY Personnel Manager, Jill Rubio, and ONNY's former Orchestra Librarian, Keith Ziemba, are both monthly donors, as am I. This is an easy way to have an affordable monthly donation add up to a substantial annual gift. Consider joining us as monthly givers.

Other supporters, such as Board Director and Social Media Coordinator, Rebecca Weissman, contributed to ONNY’s Endowment Fund. These donations are matched by the Northern New York Community Foundation, up to $10,000. Thanks, Rebecca, for doubling your gift.

If you enjoyed our new ONNY ONLINE programs, including interesting interviews by Music Director Ken Andrews, fascinating conversations with ONNY's immediate past president Tim Savage, and performances by our talented professional musicians, please consider becoming a sponsor of ONNY ONLINE offerings. Support of this new endeavor is critical because the pool of funds is almost dry! Our sincere thanks to Nikki Coates of Nikki Coates & Associates, Potsdam, and Robert Tarnow of Light Touch Acupuncture, Massena, for their generous support of this effort.

On behalf of the 25,000+ viewers of ONNY ONLINE in just the first three months, I wish to extend sincere gratitude to the following organizations and individuals that provided the seed money to launch this digital initiative in September: NYS Council on the Arts, a state agency, with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the NYS Legislature; Northern New York Community Foundation; ONNY President Kimberly Busch, and her husband, Gary, Hannawa Falls; her parents, Gary and Mary Ellen Morgan, West Winfield, NY; and Tim Savage, and his wife, Jill, an ONNY musician, Canton. 

Another great way to support ONNY is to purchase The ONNY Family Online Cookbook, First Edition, a fundraising project of ONNY’s Watertown Advisory Committee. You know it's an authentic ONNY publication because musicians submitted the greatest number of recipes AND desserts are the hightest number of submissions!

ONNY also encourages its patrons to shop locally, sustaining small businesses that have been and continue to be generous advertisers and donors. In August, more than 40 businesses donated great prizes for our golf tournament's silent auction and raffles, even in these difficult economic times.  As a result, the proceeds of this fundraiser tripled compared to last year.

Finally, If you do shop on Amazon, please designate ONNY as your charity of choice for AmazonSmile, where a percentage of your purchase is forwarded to the Orchestra.

Regardless of the amount or designated purpose of a gift, a year-end donation to ONNY is much needed and would be greatly appreciated. My sincere thanks to all ONNY supporters, especially those who have already renewed their support in recent weeks. Please consider becoming a cherished patron by making a contribution before December 31st.  Visit for easy online giving, send your gift to PO Box 488, Potsdam, NY 13676, or call me at 315-212-3440 to make a gift with your credit card.

During the busy and sometimes stressful holidays, remember: music is a time-honored and effective self-prescribed therapy. 

Music gives a soul to the universe, wings to the mind,
flight to the imagination and life to everything.

Wishing You and Yours Safe, Happy Holidays, and All the Best in the New Year!


Kathy Del Guidice
Executive Director