High School Cellist Wins Orchestra Competition

POTSDAM - A senior at Shenendehowa High School in Clifton Park, NY, won the 2020 James and Katherine Andrews Young Artist Competition for Junior High and High School Students held recently at the Crane School of Music, SUNY Potsdam. For the fourteenth consecutive year, the event has been hosted by the Orchestra of Northern New York, the North Country’s only year-round professional symphony orchestra. 

Cellist Joyce Cheng, 17, bested six other students from around Northern New York, Central New York and the Capital Region. She performed the 4th Movement of the Elgar Cello Concerto in E Minor.  She will receive the $500 first prize and solo with ONNY when it presents its Star Wars concert at 3:00 p.m. and 7:30 p.m., Saturday, April 18 at Jefferson Community College's Sturtz Theater in Watertown, and at 3:00 p.m., Sunday, April 19 at SUNY Potsdam's Hosmer Hall.

Ms. Cheng began playing cello at age 9.  She joined the Empire State Youth Orchestra in 2015 and has been its principal cellist since 2018.  She is the daughter of Chiu-Ling Wu and Wen-Hua Cheng, Clifton Park.

Alex Wu, 15, a freshman at Fayetteville-Manlius High School, placed second for his rendition of the First Movement Beethoven’s Concerto No. 3 in C Minor, Op. 37. 

Mark Severtson, 17, a sophomore from senior at Parishville-Hopkinton Central School, won third place for his performance of the First Movement of the Vaughan Williams’ Concerto in F Minor on tuba.

Other participants from around the North Country were: Madilyn Connor, 15, a sophomore from Poland; Victoria Huffman, 14, a ninth grader from Theresa; Gabriel Schmid-Doyle, 17, a senior from Canton; and Sylvain Foisy, 17, a senior from Potsdam.

This year’s judges were: Gary Busch, Professor of Music in Piano Performance and Music History at the Crane School of Music; Mark Hartman, SUNY Distinguished Teaching Professor in Trombone at Crane; Jennifer Kessler, Instructor of Music Education and Director of the National String Project at Crane; and Kenneth Andrews, Music Director and Conductor of ONNY since he founded it in 1988. He is a SUNY Distinguished Service Professor Emeritus. Students receive valuable written feedback from the judges sent to them by competition coordinator and former ONNY violinist, Nancy Peschko, Norwood.

ONNY's Young Artist Competition was established in 2007 for talented high school students. This year, the ONNY Board of Directors opened the competition to junior high students. The program’s mission is to inspire young musicians to reach their highest level of artistry.  All performances must be played from memory.  Students also receive a taped recording of their performance to help them prepare for future performances or competitions.

For more information about next year's competition slated for February 20, 2021,  contact Nancy Peschko, Competition Coordinator at 315-391-0873 or

Orchestra Of Northern New York Cancels Concerts

April 13 Update: The Summer Pops Concert has also been cancelled.  Read more here.
April 5 Update: Cancelled Concerts Response Form

In light of the ever-changing coronavirus situation, the Orchestra of Northern New York Board of Directors canceled its March Baroque and Beyond concert and April Star Wars concert at its monthly board meeting last night.

“It is absolutely the right thing to do for the safety and health of our audience members, musicians and many volunteers who are involved in ONNY concerts,” said Timothy L. Savage, President, of the Board of Directors. “All of the people in the ONNY family have been loyal to us over 32 years. Now, it is appropriate and necessary for ONNY to put their well-being first.”

The Baroque and Beyond concert was slated to take place Saturday, March 21 in Hosmer Hall, which seats 1200.  SUNY Potsdam is following Governor Cuomo’s mandate to ban all gatherings of 500 or more.  Michael Sitton, Dean of the Crane School of Music, indicated that the music school will not be holding public concerts during the spring term both due to the Governor’s mandate and due to SUNY Potsdam’s understanding of even more restrictive recommendations from the St. Lawrence County Department of Health.

The Star Wars concert was scheduled for three performances, two at Jefferson Community College’s Sturtz Theater on Saturday, April 18 and one at SUNY Potsdam’s Hosmer Hall on Sunday, April 19. Music Director Kenneth Andrews said, “We look forward to performing this exciting concert in some future season.”

Whether the summer pops concert, Celebrate Freedom, will proceed will be decided at the April 9th ONNY board meeting. Those performances are planned to take place  Thursday, July 2 at Thompson Park in Watertown and Friday, July 3 at Hosmer Hall in Potsdam.

Ticket-holders for the canceled concerts have three options, Ms. Del Guidice noted, which will be explained in a letter sent today.  “They may receive a refund, a credit toward future concerts, or donate the value of the ticket(s) to ONNY. We will gladly honor and process all requests promptly.” 

Interested persons are encouraged to check the web site as updates will be posted there and on social media.   For more information, contact Ms. Del Guidice by calling 315-267-3251 or by sending an email to

Updated Refund Information:

IMPORTANT NOTE:  Ticket-holders for the cancelled concerts have three options. They may receive a refund, a credit toward future concerts, or donate the value of the ticket(s) to ONNY. All requests will be honored and processed promptly.

If applicable, please complete this response form and mail it to ONNY, PO Box 488, Potsdam, NY 13676. Or, contact Ms. Del Guidice by email at or call 315-267-3251 Monday-Friday, 8 a.m. – 5 p.m.

Please take precautionary measures and stay well. We thank you for your past support and look forward to seeing you at a future ONNY concert. 

NCPR is Media Sponsor for Baroque and Beyond Concert

North Country Public Radio is the Media Sponsor for Baroque and Beyond presented by the Orchestra of Northern New York, the North Country’s only year-round professional symphony orchestra. Only two performances will be held: Saturday, March 21 at 7:30 p.m. at the First Presbyterian Church in Watertown, and Sunday, March 22 at 3:00 p.m. at Hosmer Hall, SUNY Potsdam. Tickets range from $5 to $27. Get more information and a link to tickets at

Orchestra Features Dr. John Ellis and Dr. Nelly Maude Case in ONNY’s Baroque and Beyond Concert

Renowned Trumpet Professor from the Crane School of Music, Dr. John Ellis, will solo on trumpet and flugelhorn when the Orchestra of Northern New York presents its winter concert,  Baroque and Beyond.  Dr. Nelly Maude Case, Professor Emerita of the Crane School of Music in Potsdam, will join Maestro Kenneth Andrews for a pre-concert lecture 45 minutes before each performance. 

Two performances are slated for 7:30 p.m., Saturday, March 21 at SUNY Potsdam’s Hosmer Hall and 3:00 p.m., Sunday, March 22 at the First Presbyterian Church, 403 Washington Street, Watertown. 

The Potsdam concert is sponsored by an individual who donated $3,000 and wishes to remain anonymous. 

The Program

The program opens with the high energy of Antonio Vivaldi’s Concerto for Strings (Concerto alla rustica), followed by Ellen Taaffe Zwilich’s contemporary work, Concerto Grosso (1985), based on Handel’s D Major Violin Sonata. The haunting sounds of Richard Peaslee’s Night Songs (1973) precedes the closing work, Joseph Haydn’s masterful Symphony No. 45 in F# Minor (Farewell).

Featured Soloist

[[{"fid":"327","view_mode":"medium","fields":{"format":"medium","alignment":"","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":false,"field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":false},"type":"media","field_deltas":{"3":{"format":"medium","alignment":"","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":false,"field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":false}},"attributes":{"class":"media-element file-medium","data-delta":"3"}}]]Since winning the John Philip Sousa award at McClure Junior High School, John Ellis knew at an early age he wanted to be a professional trumpet player.  A native of Chicago Illinois, he has performed as soloist and chamber musician throughout the United States, Canada and Europe 

Former Principal Trumpet of the Ottawa Symphony Orchestra, he is Principal Trumpet of the Orchestra of Northern New York and a member the Potsdam Brass Quintet. He is retiring this May as a Professor of Music at The Crane School of Music. He is also an Edwards Performing Artist.

Pre-Concert Conversation

ONNY is delighted that Dr. Nelly Maude Case is returning to the North Country from her retirement home in Los Alamos, New Mexico, to enlighten audience members with her comments about the repertoire for this concert. She will speak at 6:45 p.m., Saturday, March 21 and at 2:15 p.m., Sunday, March 22.

Dr. Case taught courses in music history, theory, and women in music for 25 years. She served as organist and bell choir director at the Unitarian Universalist Church in Canton from 1989-2016 and played viola in the Orchestra of Northern New York from 1991-2016.  She also published biographies of two Crane icons: Worry Early: The Life of Brock McElheran (2006) and Helen Hosmer: The Spirit of Crane (2011).

Since retiring to Los Alamos, she has become choirmaster at Trinity on the Hill (Episcopal Church), taught music appreciation at the University of New Mexico, and played violin and viola in the Los Alamos and Roswell Symphonies. 

Tickets are available through the CPS box office at 315-267-2277, online at, and in downtown Potsdam at Brick and Mortar Music, 15 Market Street. They are $27 for adults, $22 for seniors and military personnel, $10 for college students and $5 for teens (13-17). Children, 12 and younger, are admitted free to all ONNY concerts. 

ONNY is funded, 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. The Watertown concert is sponsored, in part, by the Northern New York Community Foundation.

ONNY is a 501(c)(3) charitable nonprofit, founded in 1988 by Music Director and Conductor Kenneth Andrews. In the first half of the 2019-2020 season, ONNY received $74,715 in donations from individuals, businesses and foundation - 79% of its annual goal of $94,675. This year’s budget is $216,425.

For more info or to become an ONNY donor, contact Executive Director Kathy Del Guidice at 315-267-3251 or

(Photos: Nelly Maude Case, John Ellis)

ONNY Announces Family Rate for new Star Wars Matinee

The Orchestra of Northern New York, the North Country’s professional symphony orchestra, will offer a $30 family rate for a newly scheduled matinee of its STAR WARS concert. The promotion applies to two adults and up to three children, ages 13 and older in one’s immediate family.  Children, 12 and under, are free to all ONNY concerts, but tickets are required. This special event will take place at 3 p.m., Saturday, April 18, 2020 at Jefferson Community College’s Sturtz Theater.

The $30 family rate for the matinee only is made possible by a generous grant from the Northern New York Community Foundation and T. Urling and Mabel Walker Family Community Fund of the Northern New York Community Foundation. The goal is to give families with children the opportunity for all to experience the excitement of high quality, live music.

“As part of our continuing partnership with ONNY, we are pleased to help provide funding for an additional presentation of the STAR WARS  concert and also help make attending more affordable for families,” said Rande Richardson, Community Foundation executive director. 

Music director, Kenneth Andrews said, “The Orchestra of Northern New York is excited to bring a matinee performance of the Orchestra's spring blockbuster program, STAR WARS, to the Sturtz Theater stage on the campus of SUNY Jefferson. We are grateful to the Northern New York Community Foundation and the Walkers for helping to make this wonderful opportunity available for families in the greater Watertown region to experience this spectacular music by John Williams and the STAR WARS saga.” 

Ticket purchasers are advised that the family rate applies only to immediate family members. No additional discounts can be applied to the family rate.  ONNY subscribers and patrons may not exchange previously ordered tickets for the evening performance. Tickets at the $30 family rate must be purchased by telephone only at 315-267-2277. Unfortunately, no online sales can be completed for the special matinee rate.

“Tickets to the matinee would make a wonderful, last-minute holiday gift,” according to Executive Director, Kathy Del Guidice. A gift certificate can be emailed as soon as tickets are purchased through the box office.

The STAR WARS concert will enthrall all ages with the music of one of the greatest film composers of all time, John Williams, with selections from one of the most iconic and ever-popular film series.

Regular ticket prices apply for the second performance of STAR WARS also scheduled for April 18 at 7:30 pm.  Adults are $27, seniors and military personnel are $22, and college students with ID are $10. Children, 12 and under, are free to all ONNY concerts, but tickets are required.

For more information, contact the CPS box office at 315-267-2277.

Internationally Acclaimed Pianist to Perform Beethoven Concerto with ONNY

POTSDAM – Praised for her “thrilling blend of fury and finesse” (San Antonio Express-News) and her “winning combination of passion, imagination and integrity” (New York Concert Review), internationally acclaimed piano soloist Ms. Young-Ah Tak will be the featured soloist in ONNY’s fall concert, Beethoven. 

Performances are 7:30 p.m., Saturday, October 19 at Hosmer Hall, SUNY Potsdam and 3:00 p.m., Sunday, October 20 at First Presbyterian Church, Watertown. 

A donor reception is being co-hosted for major supporters of ONNY and WPBS immediately following the Sunday concert in the church’s Fellowship Hall. The event is by invitation only.

Ms. Tak enjoys a remarkable career that has taken her throughout the United States, Canada, Austria, Germany, Italy, her native Korea, and Japan.

She earned her Bachelor of Music degree from Julliard, her Master of Music and Graduate Diploma from the New England Conservatory, and her Doctor of Musical Arts from the Peabody Institute of Johns Hopkins University.

She made her New York City debut at Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts’ Alice Tully Hall with the Julliard Orchestra. Other notable performances have taken place at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, Carnegie Hall’s Weill Recital Hall, Kimmel Center’s Perelman Theater in Philadelphia, and many others around the world.

Her performances have been broadcast in New York City, Chicago, Cleveland, Philadelphia, Baltimore, Ontario, and in Korea. Ms. Tak has been awarded top prizes in numerous international competitions.

Currently, she serves as an Associate Professor of Piano and is the Founding Artistic Director of the Crane International Piano Festival.  She is a Steinway Artist.

The concert opens with Beethoven’s Triumphant March from Tarpeja,(1813), followed by Ms. Tak’s rendition of Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 1 in C Major, Op. 15 (1795/rev.1800). After a brief intermission, the 48-piece professional orchestra will perform program Symphony No. 6 in F Major, Op. 68 “Pastoral – Sinfonie oder Erinnerung an das Landeleben” (“Pastoral Symphony or Remembering Country Life”)., conducted by Maestro Kenneth Andrews.

The Orchestra of Northern New York is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. It is sponsored, 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, and by the Northern New York Community Foundation.  

Tickets are $27 adults, $22 seniors and military personnel, $10 college students, and $5 teens (13-17). Children, 12 and under, are admitted free to all ONNY concerts.

For tickets or more information, contact the Community Performance Series box office at 315-267-2277 or visit to purchase tickets online. They may also be obtained at brick and Mortar Music, 15 Market St., Potsdam.


Welcome to the 32nd Season of the Orchestra of Northern New York

Dear Friends & Patrons,

Welcome to the 32nd season of the Orchestra of Northern New York. With a wide array of brilliant orchestral masterpieces from our classics to our pops series, we invite you to join us and Experience the Passion of Live Music from virtuosic soloists and exceptional professional musicians from Northern New York and beyond. 

Thank you for your generous and continued support over these many years. We look forward to seeing you at our concerts.

Kenneth Andrews, Music Director

Baroque Concert Features ONNY Musicians

POTSDAM - A select few musicians of the Orchestra of Northern New York will be featured when the North Country's only professional symphony orchestra presents its Baroque winter concert next weekend.

The Magnificent Baroque will take place Saturday, February 9 at 7:30 p.m. in Trinity Episcopal Church in Watertown, and again on Sunday, February 10 at 3:00 p.m. in St. Mary's Church, Potsdam.

The program includes music by Bach, Handel, Purcell, Telemann and Charpentier.

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Concertmaster John Lindsey and violinist Elaine Dewar, Saranac Lake, will be showcased on strings. Lindsey is a Violin Professor Emeritus from the Crane School of Music where he taught for 35 years. He has received the President's Award and the Chancellor's Award, both for Excellence in Teaching.  He has performed throughout the U.S., Europe, Thailand, China and Colombia. He is the founding concertmaster of ONNY and the Eleva Chamber Players (VT). 

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Elaine Dewar earned her Master of Music in 1990. She has enjoyed playing and teaching in Canada and the United States. She is currently Music Director of the Tri-Lakes Community Orchestra, a first Soprano in the Northern Adirondack Vocal Ensemble and a member of the band, “The Dust Bunnies”.  

The trumpets will be highlighted by Crane professors Dr. John Ellis and Dr. James Madeja, and Crane student apprentice Christopher Keach. 

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Dr. Ellis has performed as soloist and chamber musician throughout the United States, Canada and Europe.  He has presented clinics and recitals at prestigious institutions and festivals throughout the world, including The Juilliard School, Summit Brass, the Banff Festival, and the 2005 International Trumpet Guild Festival in Bangkok, Thailand.  An Edwards Performing Artist, Dr. Ellis is a member of the Potsdam Brass Quintet and a Professor of Music at Crane.

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Dr. Anna Hendrickson will solo on oboe in the Baroque concert. As an orchestral player, Dr. Hendrickson performs regularly with the National Arts Centre Orchestra in Ottawa, ON and is principal oboe of the Orchestra of Northern New York. She holds the Doctor of Musical Arts and Master of Music degrees from the Eastman School of Music.  She is Professor of Oboe at the Crane School of Music, SUNY Potsdam.

Tickets are $25 for adults, $20 for seniors and military personnel, $10 for college students, and free for children, 17 and younger. They are available by phone at 315-267-2277, online at or at the door.


Orchestra Receives Gift for Student Apprenctices

POTSDAM - The Orchestra of Northern New York, the North Country's only year-round symphony orchestra, has received a five-year commitment to sponsor the exceptionally gifted students from the Crane School of Music who are selected for the ONNY Apprenticeship Program. The students are paid as young professionals.

The donation comes from The Secret Sits Pro Musica Ensembles, Inc. (TSS, Inc.), a charitable nonprofit organization founded in 2017 in memory of Marie A. Patten, of Athens, GA and the Gull Pond Community in the Piercefield, NY area. TSS, Inc. is incorporated in Georgia and New York.

Marie Patten was educated in New York City public schools and went on to earn BA, MSW and PhD degrees at the College of William and Mary and the University of Georgia. Her love of music grew throughout her life. An avid opera- and concert-goer, she would leave chamber music performances and frequently comment to the effect that the world would be a better place if that kind of music was on street corners. It is that sentiment, and the pursuit of related goals finding root around it, to which TSS, Inc. is now dedicated -- Better Music, Better World.

Marie was very fond of poetry, and wrote some herself. A personal encounter with Robert Frost when she was young became indelible in her life, and this is reflected in "The Secret Sits" being the title of one of Frost's poems:

We dance round in a ring and suppose,
But the Secret sits in the middle and knows.

"It is a wonderful opportunity for Crane students to perform with a professional symphony orchestra," says Kenneth Andrews, who founded the orchestra in 1988. "They are held to the same high standards as the other musicians, and the experience fosters discipline and professionalism."

"We are most grateful for this generous gift. It truly is transformational for the orchestra," Andrews continued.

ONNY is celebrating its 31st season of music that inspires and excites. It is a nonprofit, 501(c)(3) organization whose mission is "to enrich the quality of life in Northern New York and engage area youth by inspiring the enjoyment and appreciation of music through live performances by professional musicians." It is funded, in part, by the Northern New York Community Foundation and the New York State Council on the Arts, a state agency, with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature.

For more information about ONNY, call 315-267-3251 or visit