Local Students Win ONNY Competition

POTSDAM - Silas Smith of Malone won first place in the Orchestra of Northern New York’s Young Artist Competition on Saturday, February 10 at the Crane School of Music.  A harpist, Smith performed Maurice Ravel’s Introduction and Allegro with pianist Nancy  Hull of Potsdam.  As the first place winner, Smith will receive $500 and the opportunity  to perform this work with the Orchestra on its April 28th concert in Hosmer Hall at the Crane School of Music.

Katherine Betrus of Potsdam won second place.  A violinist, Betrus performed Bach's Concerto No. 2 in E Major with pianist Lori Gruneisen. She will receive a $300 prize.

Smith, age 18, has been studying harp for ten years through the National String Project (NSP) at the Crane School, under the direction of Jessica Suchy-Pilalis.  He has attended Crane Youth Music for the past five summers where he studied privately with Dr. Suchy-Pilalis and performed with the CYM Wind Ensemble, Symphony Orchestra and Harp Ensemble.  He has also been featured in the CYM Honors Recital on several occasions.  Silas has been the recipient of the Scott LaVine CYM Scholarship and the American Harp Society Kids for Camp Scholarship.  He has also participated in numerous NYSSMA solo festivals ad was principal harpist in the New York State All-State program at the Eastman School of Music last year. 

Smith’s non-musical activities include reading and competitive chess.  He also serves as an Explorer in Charge at Explorer in Post 1789 of the United States Border Patrol Explorers in Burke, NY.  He is a proud resident of the North Country and is very grateful for the opportunities, musical and otherwise, afforded to him here.

Betrus, age 15, is a sophomore and a high honor roll student at Potsdam High School. A student of Nancy Kear for the past eight years, Katherine is a member of the high school orchestra and was concertmaster in the Junior High All County Orchestra in seventh and eighth grades. In her freshman and sophomore years, she was selected to perform in the area all-state orchestra. She has also participated in NYSSMA for the past six years.

Katherine has been a member of model U.N. and environmental club for two years. She also enjoys varsity volleyball, varsity indoor track and varsity outdoor track. She is the daughter of Anthony and Kristen Betrus.

ONNY's Young Artist Competition was established in 2007 for talented high school students in Northern New York. Its mission is to inspire young musicians to reach their highest level of artistry.

For more information about next year's competition to be held in February 2019, contact ONNY at 315-267-3251.

Orchestra Offers Music Lessons

POTSDAM - Two young women from Indian River Central School were the lucky winners in a raffle to receive music lessons from members of the Orchestra of Northern New York, the North Country's only year-round professsional symphony orchestra.

Kierstyn Waugh, a cellist, and Jade Tichko, a percussionist, are in the 8th Grade at Indian River Central School.  Both have been studying their instruments for three years. They entered the raffle last fall when a group of 60 students from Indian River School attended an ONNY concert in Watertown.

Kierstyn, the daughter of Carriann Church, is in the choir, a member of the school orchestra, and active in sports, including softball and soccer. She says she likes the cello because of "the deep sounds that are really rich, and not high like the violin." She received her lesson from Dr. Robert Docker, ONNY cellist and member of the Crane School of Music faculty.

Jade, the daughter of Mike and Tammy Tichko, is active in school clubs, band, chorus and sports, including lacrosse, soccer and basketball. She enjoys percussion because of "how diverse it is, playing different instruments." She received her lesson from Aaron Andia, a percussionist with the Crane School of Music and one of the few Crane students selected to play with ONNY.

Part of ONNY's mission is to engage young people in the appreciation of music. Its youth programs include hiring student apprentices from the Crane School of Music to play with the professional orchestra; hosting an instrumental music competition for high school students each year; and offering free admission to students, 17 and younger, to all ONNY concerts.

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


[[{"fid":"254","view_mode":"default","fields":{"format":"default","alignment":"","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":"","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":false,"field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":false}},"attributes":{"height":"3138","width":"2988","style":"width: 100%;","class":"media-element file-default","data-delta":"1"}}]]

ONNY to Perform All-Bach Concert

POTSDAM - Some of the most beautiful and poignant music from the pen of Johann Sebastian Bach will be performed when the Orchestra of Northern New York, the North Country's only year-round professional symphony orchestra, presents its winter Baroque concert on January 27 and 28.

Performances will be 7:30 p.m., Saturday, January 27 at Trinity Episcopal Church in Watertown, and 3:00 p.m., Sunday, January 28 at St. Mary's Church in Potsdam.

The program opens with the exhilarating Sinfonia from one of Bach's masterpieces, Cantata 42. It continues with two legendary Brandenburg concerti - Concerto No. 3 and Concerto No. 4, and concludes with the sublime grandeur of his Orchestral Suite No. 1.

Featured soloists include Maestro Kenneth Andrews will join ONNY's principal flutist Jill Rubio, and Concertmaster John Lindsey on violin for the Brandenburg Concert No. 4. Andrews, who founded the Orchestra 30 years ago, teaches flute at the Crane School of Music, SUNY Potsdam. Jill Rubio, a member of the Crane woodwind faculty and adjunct flute teacher at Crane, teaches band at Potsdam Central School.  John Lindsey is also a founding member of ONNY, and retired Crane Professor Emeritus.

Tickets are available online at, by calling 315-267-2277, or at the door.

The Orchestra is a 501(c)(3) charitable nonprofit organization. It 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 New York State Legislature.  (required statement of credit)

Welcome to the 30th Season

Dear Patrons,

Welcome to the Orchestra of Northern New York’s 2017-2018 season, celebrating 30 years of artistry and passion through performances of LIVE orchestral music. As we have done for three decades, we offer a wide array of brilliant orchestral masterpieces from our classics to our pops series.

Come hear why this Orchestra is heralded as “one of the Sweetest Sounds in New York” by the I Love NY campaign. We know you will enjoy these great programs performed by world-class soloists and inspired professional musicians from Northern New York and beyond.

I look forward to seeing you at our concerts. Thank you for your continued support over these many years, which has enabled us to reach this milestone.

Kenneth Andrews, Music Director 

Photo credit: Justin Sorensen

Symphony Junque Sale to Benefit Orchestra

POTSDAM - Thanks to the generous donations of many friends of the Orchestra of Northern New York, a garage sale too large to fit in a garage will be held at the Pine Street Arena during the Potsdam Summer Festival, 9:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m., Saturday, July 15.

The biggest fundraiser for the orchestra each year, the junque sale this year includes gently-used items such as jewelry, candles, books, toys, small household appliances, dishes, glassware, mugs, cooking utensils, a teapot collection, and lots of knick-knacks. Also for sale are gardening supplies and lawn chairs, fans, office supplies, and Christmas items.

There are several antiques, too, such as steamer trunks, tools, baskets, and a cow horn cutter. No kitchen sink, but windows will be for sale.

Other items include sporting equipment such as tennis rackets, golf clubs, a bicycle, baseball bats, and camping gear. Among the furniture items are tables, chairs, a high chair and a bed frame.

To donate items for the sale, call 315-265-6384 to arrange for drop-off before July 12.

The Orchestra of Northern New York is the only professional, year-round symphony orchestra in the North Country, celebrating its 30th season beginning this October.

Bring a Vet to the Pops Concert

POTSDAM - The public is invited to bring a vet to the Orchestra of Northern New York's summer pops concert to be recognized by the audience for their service and sacrifice to our country.  Each year, the Orchestra asks those in attendance who are veterans or active duty military personnel to stand and receive the thanks of those in attendance.

This year, the 62-piece Orchestra, under the direction of Maestro Kenneth Andrews, will host two performances of American Pops and Summer Jazz at 8 pm, Monday, July 3 in Watertown's Thompson Park and 7 pm, Tuesday, July 4 in SUNY Potsdam’s Hosmer Hall.

The program opens with O' Canada and the Star Spangled Banner, followed by the Armed Forces Salute and American Patrol as the Orchestra's salute to military personnel.

A medley of Duke Ellington music precedes Deep Fascinating Things that features the music of Jerome Kern, Irving Berlin and George Gershwin.

The second half of the program begins with A Salute to the Big Bands, followed by Sincerely Sinatra! - a world premiere arrangement by noted jazz trombonist and arranger Bret Zvacek. He is Professor of Music and Director of Jazz Studies at the Crane School of Music as well as a clinician and performing artist for the Yamaha Corporation of America. He is also a charter member of ONNY.

The program concludes with the 1812 Overture and The Stars and Stripes Forever.

The July 3rd performance in Watertown's Thompson Park is free. Festivities begin at 5 pm with the Double Barrel Blues Band, continue at 7:30 pm with welcome speeches and at 8 pm with the ONNY concert.  Fireworks immediately follow the concert.

Tickets for the July 4th Potsdam performance are $22 adults, $18 senior citizens and military, free for children (6-17) and $5 for college students with I.D. The program begins at 7 pm so it will end in time to enjoy fireworks offered in the region. Coupons for $5 off each ticket can be found in local and regional newspapers this week.

The Orchestra of Northern New York, celebrating its 29th year, is the North Country’s only professional year-round symphony orchestra. 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 NYS Legislature.

For tickets or more information, call 315-267-2277 or visit

Stinsons to Perform with Orchestra of NNY

POTSDAM - Some of Mozart's most beautiful arias will be sung by Jonathan Stinson, baritone, and Samantha Stinson, soprano, when the Orchestra of Northern New York performs its spring concert.

Mostly Mozart will be presented for two performances only: 7:30 p.m., Saturday, April 22 at Hosmer Hall, SUNY Potsdam and 3:00 p.m., Sunday, April 23 at First Presbyterian Church, Watertown.

The program opens with Rossini's Overture to "La Scala di Seta" ("The Silken Ladder"), followed by the Stinsons singing arias and a duet from Act I of Mozart's opera, Don Giovannia, K. 527. Another of Mozart's famous pieces, Eine Kleine Nacht Musik (A Little Night Music), K.525 will end the first half of the program. Following a brief intermission, ONNY will perform Mozart Symphony No. 40 in G Minor, K.550 

Samantha Stinson is heralded as a soprano with a "rounded, commanding top" (Chicago Broadway World). Recent operatic engagements include Mabel in Pirates of Penzance, Adele in Die Fledermaus, Yum-Yum in The Mikado, Musetta in La bohème, Mme. Goldentrill in The Impresario, and Susanna in Le nozze di Figaro. Equally comfortable on the musical theatre stage, she has appeared as Franca in The Light in the Piazza and Lily in The Secret Garden. Dr. Stinson's concert solo work includes Handel’s Messiah, Mozart's Requiem, Vivaldi’s Gloria, Bach's Weinachts Oratorium, and Beethoven’s “Choral Fantasie” and Symphony No. 9. She was most recently seen on Potsdam’s CPS series as Cinderella’s Mother in Into the Woods and Miss Andrew in Mary Poppins.

Dr. Stinson holds a Bachelor of Music degree from the SUNY Purchase Conservatory of Music, a Master of Music degree from the Chicago College of the Performing Arts at Roosevelt University, and the Doctor of Musical Arts degree in Voice Performance from the University of Cincinnati, College-Conservatory of Music. She has previously taught on the faculties of Northern Kentucky University and the Crane School of Music at SUNY Potsdam, and is currently an Adjunct Professor of Voice at St. Lawrencee University and a voice instructor at Crane Youth Music Camp.

Jonathan Stinson, baritone, has appeared with opera companies throughout the country, including Cincinnati Opera, Lyric Opera of Kansas City, Kentucky Opera, Opera Omaha, Opera Memphis, Dayton Opera, Cleveland Opera, Central City Opera, Ohio Light Opera, and Opera New Jersey. Recent favorite roles include both Marcello and Schaunard in La bohème, Conte Almaviva in Le nozze di Figaro, Guglielmo in Così fan tutte, Sid in Albert Herring, Joseph de Rocher in Dead Man Walking, and the title roles of Gianni SchicchiEugene Onegin, and Don Giovanni. Recent solo work has included the Requiems of Faure, Mozart, and Duruflé, the complete Bach Weinachts Oratorium, and Berlioz’s L'enfance du Christ. This April, he will sing the baritone solos in Ernest Bloch’s Avodath Hakodesh at Missouri State University.

Dr. Stinson holds a Bachelor of Music degree from Oberlin Conservatory, a Master of Music degree from Indiana University, and the Doctor of Musical Arts degree in Voice Performance from the University of Cincinnati, College-Conservatory of Music. He has previously taught on the faculties of Northern Kentucky University, Xavier University, College of Mount Saint Joseph, and Baldwin-Wallace Conservatory. He is currently an Assistant Professor of Voice at the Crane School of Music at SUNY Potsdam and a voice instructor at Crane Youth Music camp.

Tickets are $22 adults, $18 seniors/military, and $5 for students, ages 6-17, and college students with I.D. For tickets, contact the CPS box office at 315-267-2277, visit, or purchase them at the door.

ONNY is 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, and the Northern New York Community Foundation.

# # #

2017 Young Artist Instrumental Competition Winners

The James and Katherine Andrews 2017 Young Artist Instrumental Competition was held recently in SUNY Potsdam's Hosmer Hall. Pictured from left to right are: Kenneth Andrews, Music Director/Conductor of the Orchestra of Northern New York; John Lindsey, ONNY concertmaster and competition judge; Nicholas Cantello (French Horn), Syracuse, second place winner; Silas Smith (harp), Malone, third place winner; Hannah Sohn (cello), Colonie, first place winner; Eugenia Tsarov and John Ellis, competition judges. The competition requires students to play from memory a piece selected from an approved repertoire. Ms. Sohn will perform with the Orchestra at its upcoming concert, The Planets, at 7:30 pm, Saturday, March 18 and 3:00 pm, Sunday, March 19. For tickets or more information, visit or call 315-267-3251.