ONNY Awarded $40,000 by the New York State Council on the Arts

The Orchestra of Northern New York, the North Country’s only year-round professional symphony orchestra now celebrating its 35th Anniversary season, announced today a grant award totaling $40,000 from the New York State Council on the Arts (NYSCA) to support the recovery of the nonprofit arts and culture sector. Following New York State’s historic investment for the arts, NYSCA has awarded $90 million since Spring 2022 to a record number of artists and organizations across the state. The $40,000 award is payable over two years.

Governor Kathy Hochul said, “As a cultural capital of the world, New York State is strengthened by our expansive coverage of the arts across all 62 counties.  This year's historic commitment to the arts sector will spur our continuing recovery from the pandemic and set the course for a stronger future."

NYSCA Executive Director Mara Manus said, “We are immensely grateful to Governor Hochul and the Legislature for their unprecedented investment of $240 million to support arts organizations across the state. New York State arts organizations such as The Orchestra of Northern New York are the cornerstone of our vibrant arts economy. As crucial drivers of our health and vitality, we are grateful to the unwavering dedication of arts workers across the state.”

NYSCA Chair Katherine Nicholls said, “On behalf of the entire Council, I congratulate ONNY on this grant award. Their creative work provides the benefits of the arts to both their community and all of New York. Arts organizations are essential, leading our tourism economy and fueling sectors such as hospitality, transit, and Main Streets across our state.“ 

Preserving and advancing the arts and culture that make New York State an exceptional place to live, work and visit, NYSCA upholds the right of all New Yorkers to experience the vital contributions the arts make to our communities, education, economic development, and quality of life. To support the ongoing recovery of the arts across New York State, NYSCA will award record funding in FY 2023, providing support across the full breadth of the arts.

NYSCA further advances New York's creative culture by convening leaders in the field and providing organizational and professional development opportunities and informational resources. Created by Governor Nelson Rockefeller in 1960 and continued with the support of Governor Kathy Hochul and the New York State Legislature, NYSCA is an agency that is part of the Executive Branch. For more information on NYSCA, please visit, and follow NYSCA's Facebook page, Twitter @NYSCArts and Instagram @NYSCouncilontheArts.

Concertmaster Lindsey to Solo with ONNY

For 35 years, the Orchestra of Northern New York has been fortunate to have violinist John Lindsey as its founding concertmaster. Next week, he will demonstrate his virtuosic musical skills as he performs as guest soloist in “Winter Serenade.”

Two performances of this concert are slated for Saturday, February 4 at 7:30 pm in St. Mary’s Church, Canton, and Sunday, February 5 at 3 pm in First Presbyterian Church, Watertown.

The program includes Mozart’s Divertimento in D Major, also known as Salzburg Symphony No. 3; Mahler’s “Adagietto” from Symphony No. 5 in C# Minor; Montgomery’s Strum; Rutter’s Suite for Strings; and Elgar’s Serenade for String Orchestra in E Minor, Op. 2.

Lindsey will solo on “Winter” from Vivaldi’s The Four Seasons and Manha de Carnaval” from Bonfa’s Black Orpheus.

John Lindsey retired as SUNY Distinguished Service Professor of Violin Emeritus from The Crane School of Music (where he taught for 35 years) in 2016. The Distinguished Service Professorship is the State University of New York’s highest professorial rank, It was bestowed upon him in May, 2009. At the time, he was only the second Crane faculty member to ever receive that ranking. Previously he was awarded the 1993 SUNY Potsdam President’s Award and the 2003 SUNY Chancellor’s Award, both for Excellence in Teaching.

Parallel with his teaching accomplishments, Mr. Lindsey has fashioned an incredibly active and distinguished career as a performing violinist. He is currently the founding Concertmaster of both the Orchestra of Northern New York for 35 years and the Eleva Chamber Players in Vermont for 17 years.

Mr. Lindsey has performed in several U.S. states and the People’s Republic of China, Colombia, Italy, France, Bulgaria, Luxembourg, and Thailand.

His new CD album of violin music for early education purposes was released in August of 2020 and is available on Amazon and iTunes. Visit Mr. Lindsey’s website at: for more information.

For tickets or more information visit

Margaret Chalker to Perform with the Orchestra of Northern New York

Margaret Chalker poses on piano

The internationally renowned soprano, Margaret Chalker, will be the guest soloist when the Orchestra of Northern New York (ONNY), the North Country’s only professional orchestra now celebrating its 35th Anniversary season, presents its holiday concert, PEACE ON EARTH. Three performances are scheduled:  Friday, December 16 at 7:30 pm in Hosmer Hall, SUNY Potsdam; Saturday, December 17 at 7:30 pm in the Malone Middle School Auditorium; and Sunday, December 18 at 3 pm in Watertown’s First Presbyterian Church.

Ms. Chalker is a faculty member at the Crane School of Music, where she is a visiting professor of voice. She began at Crane in 2017 following an extensive career that spanned two continents. She has sung with the Syracuse Symphony, Buffalo Philharmonic, and the Columbus and Seattle Symphonies. She made her New York City debut with the Music Today Orchestra. Ms. Chalker spent several years performing with Opera Companies of the U.S.A. when she sang with Omaha Opera, St. Paul Summer Opera, Glimmerglass Opera, and the Houston Grand Opera. She was also featured at the famous Mostly Mozart Festival at Lincoln Center.

For 25 years, she performed approximately 900 performances of 40 different roles with the prestigious Opernhaus Zurich in Switzerland. During that time, she was also a guest soloist in Germany and the Czech Republic.

Her repertoire spans from Baroque to contemporary, including large and chamber orchestral works. In 2013, she returned to the U.S., settling in Massena to be close to family, and subsequently joined the faculty at the Crane School of Music.

For PEACE ON EARTH, Ms. Chalker will perform “Let the Bright Seraphim,” “O Holy Night” and other holiday carols.

She will be joined by a Holiday Festival Chorus of nearly 150 students on Friday, December 16th comprised of students from Massena Central High School, Canton Central, Norwood-Norfolk Central, Madrid-Waddington Central, Clifton-Fine Central School and Brasher Falls Central. Malone students from the Middle School and High School will sing with Ms. Chalker on Saturday night. Both groups will perform “Glory to God,” “Let There Be Peace on Earth,” and “Joy to the World” with Ms. Chalker. For nearly all students, this will be their first opportunity to sing with a professional orchestra and star of Ms. Chalker’s caliber.

The program is sponsored by the New York State Council on the Arts, the Northern New York Community Foundation, and Adirondack Paint & Hardware, Malone.

The Malone Music Boosters are offering special discounted tickets for the concert. Adults are $20; seniors, military personnel, first responders, and healthcare workers are $17; college students are $10; and teens (13-17) are $5. Children, 12 and younger, are always admitted free, but do require a ticket for admission.

Tickets for the Potsdam and Watertown concerts are $27 for adults; $24 seniors; $10 college students with ID, $5 teen (13-17) and free for children, 12 and younger.

For more information or to purchase tickets in advance, visit or call 315-212-3440. Tickets may also be available at the door, but advanced ticket purchases are strongly encouraged.

Savage to Guest Conduct Duke Ellington!

Timothy L. Savage, immediate past president of the Orchestra of Northern New York and 20+ year veterans of the ONNY Board, will guest conduct Duke Ellington! at a concert dedicated to him. He will lead the professional regional symphony orchestra for this work on the New World program, to be presented October 15 at 7:30 pm in Hosmer Hall, SUNY Potsdam, and October 16 at 3 pm in First Presbyterian Church, Watertown.

Savage was awarded the 2022 Helen M. Hosmer Excellence in Music Teaching Award by the Julia E. Crane Alumni Association in July. A month earlier, he retired from Canton Central School after more than 25 years teaching one of the strongest instrumental music programs in the region. He led outstanding and competitive concert bands and jazz ensembles while at Canton. Prior to that, he taught at Heuvelton Central School for eight years.

In addition to his full-time teaching load at Canton Central, Tim has served as an adjunct faculty member at St. Lawrence University, conducting instrumental groups and teaching jazz improvisation. He also was the adjunct director of the Crane Jazz Ensemble during the 2019-2020 academic year.

An accomplished saxophonist, Tim also plays with the popular band, Northbound. He is the treasurer of the Crane Alumni Association, and chair of the NYS Band Directors Association Honor Jazz Ensemble.

ONNY is honored that he will conduct this Calvin Custer arrangement.

ONNY Premieres New Work on October 15

Noted composer and Crane Faculty member, Gregory Wanamaker, has composed Still Life in Motion, which will have its world premiere on Saturday, October 15th at 7:30 pm in Hosmer Hall, SUNY Potsdam when the Orchestra of Northern New York (ONNY) presents its fall concert.

Wanamaker says, “Still Life in Motion is partly a contradiction in that it is inspired by the life that exists in the natural environment that surrounds me. When Kenneth Andrews, ONNY’s Music Director and Conductor, discussed this commission, we decided upon a work that would capture the effects of wind and water (and other weather-related phenomenon such as snow, fire, and ice) in motion on landscapes and/or seascapes and any wildlife within, specifically as these effects pertain to the North Country and the Adirondacks.”

Equally at home composing in solitude or collaborating with other artists, Gregory Wanamaker creates music that is at times lyrically expressive while at others athletically virtuosic. His eclectic sound world responds in kind to a variety of extra-musical influences ranging from the simplicity of a still life paining, the emotions of a dramatic narrative, the graceful or angular lines of a landscape, or the visceral discourse of the moment.

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).

Still Life in Motion was commissioned for the Orchestra of Northern New York and funded by the New York State Council on the Arts, a state agency with the support of Governor Kathy Hochul and the NYS Legislature.

Previous commissioned works by Wanamaker were supported in part by a National Endowment for the Arts 2011 Access to Artistic Excellence grant. He is also the recipient of 2012 Individual Artist Commission from the NYS 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 21 musicians from around the globe in world premiere recordings of eight of his recent chamber works.

For more information about the composer, visit

ONNY Celebrates Classical Music Month

Kenneth Andrews conducts

The North Country’s only professional symphony orchestra, now celebrating its 35th Anniversary season, invites the public to join it in recognition of September as “Classical Music Month.”

In 1994, President Bill Clinton issued a proclamation declaring September as the month to celebrate the beauty of classical music. It stated, in part, “Classical music is a celebration of artistic excellence… This month we exalt the many talented composers, conductors, and musicians who bring classical music to our ears… Music is a unifying force in our world, bringing people together across vast cultural and geographical divisions.”

ONNY is very grateful to its Maestro Kenneth Andrews and its musicians for creating beautiful classical music for more than three and a half decades.

Music is a powerful medium, expressing emotion and touching hearts unlike anything else. This wide-ranging genre uses multiple instruments for playing a single melody, giving a powerful sound that has transcended over time.

Classical music covers several periods, each with their unique style of musical composition. With the focus more on orchestral melody, classical music is definitely different from today’s music. But without its influence, modern music as we know it wouldn’t exist.

Medieval music (500ish – 1400) was greatly influenced by the church with such forms as Gregorian Chants and Organum.

Composers of the Renaissance period (1400/1450 – 1600) had more freedom from the church, which encouraged experimentation. This era was also impacted by the ability to print music after the printing press was invented in the 1400s.

Baroque music (1600-1750) was very ornate. It was in this period that the concerto, cantata, oratorio, and sonata were created. Famous composers include Bach, Handel, and Vivaldi.

Classical music (1750/1775 – 1820) was simpler than Baroque music. It focused more on melody and dynamics (change in volume) and added woodwinds to the orchestra. Noted composers of this time were Mozart, Beethoven, and Haydn.

Finally, the Romantic era (1820 – 1910) resulted in expressive and emotional works. Woodwind and brass sections of the orchestra expanded. Works by Chopin, Liszt, Wagner, Tchaikovsky, and Brahms are from the Romantic period.

It is important to celebrate Classical Music Month to preserve the legacies of great musicians and introduce this genre to new audiences. Whether it is rock, jazz, or country music, the inspiration and roots will always be connected to classical music in some way.

ONNY Opens 35th Season with Gifted Soprano

POTSDAM – The sweet sounds of a full orchestra and a gifted soprano will fill Hosmer Concert Hall on Sunday, August 28th at 3 pm when The Orchestra of Northern New York presents Encore! – Great Music from Dance and the Stage.

Miss Colleen Skull, an exceptional soprano from Canada, has performed with that country’s leading orchestras and joins ONNY to perform her renditions of “I Could Have Danced All Night,” from My Fair Lady, “Dream with Me” from Peter Pan, and “The Last Rose of Summer.”

Miss Skull has performed/covered over thirty operatic roles at venues such as the Canadian Opera Company, Pacific Opera Victoria, Manitoba Opera, the Toronto Symphony Orchestra, Winnipeg Symphony, and many others. Radio and television appearances include performances on CBC Radio, CTV, Definitely Not the Opera with Sook-Yin Lee, Breakfast Television, TVO, and YTV. 

She is currently an Assistant Professor at the Crane School of Music.

The program also includes Copland’s Fanfare for the Common Man, Dvorak’s Slavonic Dance, Piazzolla’s Libertango, and Marquez’s Danzon No. 2, among other works.

Tickets are adults $27, seniors, military, first responders and healthcare workers, $24, college students with ID $10, and teens (13-17) $5. Children, 12 and younger, are always admitted free.

Season tickets are also available at a 15% savings.

Patrons are encouraged to order their tickets in advance of the concert as ONNY is using a new online ticketing system intended to make purchasing tickets easier. Avoid the lines at the box office prior to a concert. Simply visit for details.

For more information, call 315-212-3440 or email

ONNY Honors Veterans and Space in Summer Pops Concert

POTSDAM – The Orchestra of Northern New York will honor America’s veterans and celebrate the world’s fascination with space when it presents four performances of its summer Pops concert, Adventures in Space, June 30 – July 3rd.

Maestro Kenneth Andrews conducts the concert by 60 professional musicians, which begins with the Star-Spangled Banner followed by America the Beautiful and Fanfare for Democracy.  A particularly poignant time in the concert occurs when the ever-popular Armed Forces Salute is performed. Americans who have served their country stand tall as the orchestra plays their theme of various branches of the armed services. Audience members applaud enthusiastically each year to recognize the service and sacrifice of these dedicated countrymen.

The second half of the program highlights America’s fascination with space with selections from Apollo 13, Star Wars, Holst’s The Planets and Star Trek.

Free performances are slated for: June 30th at 8 pm in Thompson Park, Watertown; July 1 at 7 pm at Paul Smith’s College; and July 2 a private performance at 7 pm in Thousand Island Park, Wellesley Island. A ticketed concert will take place on Sunday, July 3 at 7:30 pm at Hosmer Hall, SUNY Potsdam.

For more info or tickets for the July 3rd performance, visit or call 315-212-3440.

ONNY Presents "Live Music Amid the Pines"

CHILDWOLD – With the threat of the pandemic abating, the Third Annual Childwold Chamber Music Series returns to the little church in the Adirondack woods. The concert series is an outreach program sponsored by The Secret Sits Pro Music Ensembles, Inc.  and the Orchestra of Northern New York. It takes place at Childwold Memorial Presbyterian Church and features five offerings starting with an ice cream social.

On Saturday, July 9at 2 pm, Gretchen Koehler (fiddle), inductee in the North American Fiddlers Hall of Fame, and Barb Heller (guitar and vocal), host of North Country Public Radio’s String Fever, will entertain concertgoers with great bluegrass and folk music as they enjoy cake and ice cream.

All other concerts are on Thursday evenings at 7 pm at the church located on Bancroft Road. Signs on Route 3 in Childwold will direct concertgoers to the venue.

On July 14th, Pro Musica Adirondika, a new quartet of flute, violin, viola, and cello will make their debut with a program of popular classical music. The talented foursome includes: Kenneth Andrews (flute), Music Director & Conductor of the Orchestra of Northern New York; Liesl Schoenberger Doty (violin), faculty member at the Crane School of Music; Scott Woolweaver (viola), principal viola for the Boston Pops Esplanade Orchestra and the Ann Arbor (MI) Symphony Orchestra; and Karen Kadaravek (cello), former principal cellist of Boston Baroque and Boston’s Handel & Haydn Society.

Sebastian Buhts will wow the crowd on the marimba on August 4th. He is a solo, chamber, and orchestral percussionist based in St. Louis, MO where he teaches percussion at Lindenwood University and St. Charles Community College. He also has appeared as a performer and clinician throughout the United States, Canada, and Europe

The husband-and-wife duo of Karl Doty (bass) and Liesl Schoenberger Doty (violin) will present a blended genre of classical and crossover music on August 18th. Liesl and Karl are “CRIERs” in Boston’s own chair-less, conductor-less chamber orchestra, A Far Cry, that was nominated for a GRAMMY in 2015.

Closing out the series will be the return of Pro Musica Adirondika on September 1 as it presents another program of popular classical music.

All programs of the Orchestra of Northern New York are 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.

For more information about TSS and ONNY, both 501(c )(3) nonprofit organizations, call 315-212-3440.

ONNY Announces New Social Media Director

Brianne Borden Ph.D. has graciously assumed the role of ONNY’s social media director.  A trumpet artist and educator, Dr. Borden joined the faculty at the Crane School of Music at SUNY Potsdam in fall 2020 as Visiting Assistant Professor of Trumpet. She is a member of the Potsdam Brass Quintet, the Nova Trumpet Collective, and performs regularly with the Orchestra of Northern New York. Preceding Potsdam, Borden taught for the Phoenix Conservatory of Music, Harmony Project Phoenix, the University of Colorado Summer Academy, as well as maintained a vibrant private studio.

Having an active performance schedule, Borden presents recitals and masterclasses at numerous universities and conferences nationally and internationally. She was a featured soloist for the opening concert of the 2019 International Women's Brass Conference.

An advocate for wellness within the classical music community, Borden teaches a Musicians' Wellness class at Crane and has researched heavily in the field. Prior to her arrival at Potsdam, she served as Instructor for a weekly class titled Movement for Musicians at Arizona State University, as well as Instructor of Yoga for Musicians at the University of Colorado. Borden's wellness expertise is centered in the realms of performance anxiety, musculoskeletal health, trauma-informed mindfulness, and the practical application of yoga techniques. In addition to yoga and meditation accreditations, Borden has also completed the Essentials of Performing Arts Medicine certification through the Performing Arts Medicine Association and the American College of Sports Medicine. Furthermore, Borden currently acts as Co-Owner and CEO of a virtual yoga studio, Yoga for All Musicians, catering specifically to the physical and emotional needs of musicians.

Borden completed her Doctoral studies at Arizona State University, where she served as Teaching Assistant to David Hickman and was recipient of Raphael Mendez Scholarship for Outstanding Graduate Student. Preceding ASU, Borden received her Master's degree in Trumpet Performance from the University of Colorado - Boulder where she taught as a Teaching Assistant as well as performed with the Graduate Brass Quintet. Lastly, she is a proud alumna of SUNY Potsdam where she received a Bachelor's degree in Trumpet Performance and her love of brass chamber music was established in the Frackenpohl Honors Brass Quintet. Borden is honored to be an S.E. Shires Artist.