Symposium 2017 Sessions

Every Instrument, Every Year: Sustained Success in the Elementary Band Program – Andrew Bodemer and Clarence Center – Sheridan Hill 5th Grade Band

Clinic Abstract: This session will discuss several important topics to consider for the elementary band program. Topics will include meaningful recruitment, developing an instrument inventory, optimizing your time, methodology, and expectations. The Band will perform Representative warm-ups, exercises and literature for the first and second year of elementary band.

Photo of Sheridan Hills 5th Grade Band
Sheridan Hills 5th Grade Band

Andrew Bodemer is currently in his seventeenth year of music teaching. During this time, he has been responsible for a variety of bands and ensembles at the elementary, middle, and high school levels. He has been employed at the Clarence Central School District (NY) for the past fifteen years, serving primarily as the band director at Clarence Center Elementary and Sheridan Hill Elementary. Mr. Bodemer teaches over forty brass, woodwind, and percussion lessons a week to first and second year instrumental music students. Mr. Bodemer is a 1997 graduate of Corning West High School (NY). He went on to earn his Bachelor of Music from the State University of New York College at Fredonia in 2000 and his Master of Music from the University of Connecticut in 2004. He has been an active member of Erie County Music Educators Association, serving as an adjudicator, as a conductor, and as a long-standing ensemble chair. Mr. Bodemer is a trombonist and performs throughout Western New York with the Erie County Wind Ensemble and the American Legion Band of the Tonawandas. He resides with his wife Nicole and his son Oliver in Getzville, NY.

Jazz for the Paper Trained Musician – Tony Mastrobattisto

Photo of Tony Mastrobattista
Tony Mastrobattista

Clinic Abstract: This clinic is for the teacher with little to no jazz experience. Topics will include: Articulations, Unwritten Rules, The Rhythm Section, What to know about the Drum Set, How to Swing, and Improvisation.

Tony Mastrobattisto is a 1985 graduate of Ithaca College where he majored in music education and performance; he studied saxophone with Dr. Steven Mauk and conducting with Dr. Rodney Winther. Upon graduation he enlisted in the United States Army where he performed as the lead alto saxophonist with the First United States Army Band out of Ft. Meade, Maryland.

Mr. Mastrobattisto has taught instrumental music for 29 years and since 1999 has served as the Director of Bands at Westhill High School. He is responsible for the inception, organization, and implementation of the Wind Ensemble and Jazz Ensemble. His bands travel and perform at festivals throughout the country and receive high ratings and remarks from nationally acclaimed adjudicators. His Wind Ensemble and Jazz Ensemble regularly attend the NYSSMA Major Ensembles Festival where they consistently receive Gold and Gold with Distinction ratings. Mr. Mastrobattisto is active as a guest conductor and has presented clinics on Jazz Pedagogy, Music Literacy and Curriculum, and The First Five Years: An Instrumental Teacher’s Survival Guide throughout New York State.

Tony wishes to thank his parents for the support they have given him. He would also like to thank his children Anthony and Francesca and his wife Pam for being the driving force behind his continued success throughout the years.

Surviving a Concert Day Woodwind Repair Emergency – Miles DeCastro

Photo of Miles DeCrastro
Miles DeCastro

Clinic Abstract: The stage is set. Parents fill the auditorium. The band is tuned up and ready to go, eagerly awaiting the opportunity to perform all of the amazing music you have taught them this past semester. And then, it happens… This clinic will focus on the most common and most manageable emergency repairs you might encounter when time is of the essence, and what you can do to salvage the performance. There will be an emphasis on diagnostics, as figuring out what the problem is can often be half of the battle. We will also cover the topic of what basic tools and supplies you may want to have on hand, and where you can get these items.

Miles DeCastro is the instrument repair technician at The Crane School of Music, State University of New York at Potsdam, where he teaches a course in instrument repair for educators, and is responsible for the repairs, maintenance, and inventory of over 1,000 instruments. Prior to joining Crane in July of 2016, he was the general manager at Bridgepoint Music in Menlo Park, CA since 2012, and was a repair technician at Maytan Music Center in Reno, NV from 2008-2011.

Miles has been an active member of the National Association of Professional Band Instrument Repair Technicians since 2007. In that time, he has attended every national conference and will be presenting at his third national conference in a row in April of 2017. He has also served on the finance committee and has hosted clinics at the regional and national level.

On top of all of this, Miles is a Straubinger Certified Technician, Yamaha Certified Sales Professional, graduate of the Yamaha Service Advantage Program, and he has studied instrument repair with Morrie Backun. All of these experiences helped him lead Bridgepoint Music to being a NAMM Top 100 Dealer four years in a row.

Beyond the Concert: Building Musicianship Through Performance Amanda Mita & Allegra Smith

Clinic Abstract: In this session we will present methods and techniques used to incorporate skill building beyond concert preparation in an ensemble setting. We will explore topics including: building fundamental music understanding, focused listening, composition, improvisation and solo preparation. A specific focus will be on working with an under resourced population.

Photo of Allegra Smith and Amanda Mita
Allegra Smith / Amanda Mita

Amanda Mita received her Bachelor’s Degree in Music (viola) from SUNY Potsdam’s Crane School of Music and went on to receive her Master’s Degree in Elementary Education from SUNY Potsdam as well. In 2005, Amanda began teaching band in Livingston Manor, NY. She continued her career in Middletown, accepting a position as a Band Director at Twin Towers Middle School in 2006. When the Orchestra program began full time at Twin Towers in 2010, Amanda transitioned to her current position as Director of Orchestras. Since that time, she has started both the Chamber Orchestra and co-founded Full Orchestra (with Allegra Smith) at Twin Towers Middle School. Both groups perform in and outside of the Middletown Community. In addition, Amanda directs the Fall Drama and Spring Musicals in her school.

Allegra Smith has taught band at Twin Towers Middle School in Middletown, NY for seven years. She received her Bachelor’s Degree in Music Education and Performance (clarinet) from Ithaca College in 2008. She earned her Master’s in Music Performance, also in clarinet, from the University of Colorado Boulder in 2010. During her time at Twin Towers, she has taught 6th grade band as well as 7th and 8th grade Concert Band. Allegra has also conducted the student Pit Band for the annual Musical and co-founded the Full Orchestra.

Taming the Beast- How to Approach a Large Concert Band and Love It! – Marni Conte and Williamsville South Wind Symphony

Photo of Williamsville South Wind Symphony
Williamsville South Wind Symphony

Clinic Abstract: Many challenges often come with the non-auditioned, mixed ability concert band. With the proper approach you can create beautiful music all while maintaining the integrity of the large band heritage. In this clinic we will share ideas to overcome obstacles such as instrumentation issues, balance, intonation, and the “2nd band syndrome’.

Photo of Marni Conte
Marni Conte

Marni Conte has been teaching music for twenty-two years and is in her tenth year as the director of the Wind Symphony at Williamsville South H.S.. Prior to teaching at South, Mrs. Conte spent nine years at Williamsville’s Mill M.S., four years at Grand Island M.S., and one year at St. Paul’s in Kenmore, NY. A native to Ohio, Mrs. Conte holds a Bachelor’s degree in music Education from The Ohio State University in Columbus, Ohio and a Masters in Music Education from The State University College at Fredonia. Mrs. Conte has been the guest conductor for All-County bands in Orange County, Orleans County, Chautauqua County and Erie County. Mrs. Conte is a conductor and staff member with American Music Abroad and has traveled and conducted in Austria, Croatia, Slovenia, and Italy. Mrs. Conte’s band performed and presented at the Symposium for the New York State Band Directors Association in 2000 and again in 2007. Mrs. Conte was presented with the award for “Excellence in Music Education” from the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra and the Erie County Council of Music Coordinators in May of 2006.

Eastman Community Music School Jazz Educators Ensemble – Bill Tiberio, Director

The Eastman Community Music School Jazz Educators Ensemble has been performing in the Rochester area for a decade under the direction of Fairport HS Band Director Bill Tiberio. Comprised of current music educators, related professionals, and some retired teachers, this band has specialized in performing contemporary large ensemble music in its “home” at Eastman School’s Kilbourn Hall as well as the Jazz Street Stage in the Xerox Rochester International Jazz Festival each year. Bill is a 33-year veteran teacher who directs jazz ensembles at Fairport HS, University of Rochester, Ithaca College, and SUNY Geneseo and is active as a saxophonist in the Rochester area.

Photo of Eastman Community Music School Jazz Ensemble
Eastman Community Music School Jazz Ensemble

Middle School and High SchoolHonor Band Leadership Sessions – Ronald Sutherland

Ronald Sutherland retired from the Clarence (NY) Central School District in 1996 after twenty-five years of teaching instrumental music and conducting the Clarence Wind Ensemble. Ron also taught at Williamsville North High School for two years and started his teaching career at Silver Creek Central School in September of 1961. The Clarence High School Wind Ensemble and Symphonic Band featured many artists including Vaclav Nelhybel, Karel Husa, Sigurd Rascher, Carl St. Clair, Williams Willet, Donald Schleicher, Frank Erickson, Alan Vizzuti, and Rhythm and Brass. Under Mr. Sutherland’s direction, the Clarence Bands toured throughout the Eastern United States and Canada. In 1976, a combined Clarence High School Band participated in an International Youth Festival in Aberdeen, Scotland and London, England. In the summer of 1990, the band toured and performed in Austria and Italy. In addition to many guest conducting, clinics, consulting, and adjudication appearances, Ron has led many student leadership workshops throughout New York State. Each summer Mr. Sutherland travels to Europe with a select Band and Chorus under the auspices of American Music Abroad. Ron was active in the New York State School Music Association having served as president in 1984-1985. He and his wife Cathy are currently the co-head chaperones for NYSSMA’s 900 All-State students at the Winter Conference.

Hiding in Plain Sight: An Arbitrary Discussion About Old & New Literature and How to Teach It To Students and Audiencs – Dr. Evan Feldman

Clinic Abstract: This session will focus on the interplay between teaching our students, teaching our audiences, and how each can inform the other. It will explore how breaking down a piece during rehearsal using the same processes we use during score study can not only improve a student’s understanding of the music, but also improve the way they perform it.

Photo of Evan Feldman
Evan Feldman

Dr. Evan Feldman conducts the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill Wind Ensemble and Symphony Band. Under his direction, the UNC Wind Ensemble has been invited to perform at the North Carolina Music Educators Association annual convention and the College Band Directors National Convention. He also serves as Music Director of the Triangle Wind Ensemble and the Greensboro Concert Band. He earned the Doctor of Musical Arts in Conducting from the Eastman School of Music, where he studied with Donald Hunsberger and Mendi Rodan and served as an assistant conductor for the Eastman Wind Ensemble and Eastman Wind Orchestra. He received his Masters in Conducting from Ithaca College and his BA in Music from Duke University.

“Bone-apetite” A Healthy Serving of Trombone Ensemble Literature and Strategies

Clinic Abstract: A review of quality trombone ensemble literature and best practices, featuring a performance by Bones East. Discussions will feature trombone specific pedagogy, trombone performance practices, and how to start a trombone choir in your community.

Jamming With Your Students and On-The-Spot Arranging – Timothy Savage

Photo of Tim Savage
Tim Savage

Clinic Abstract: Information and techniques for working with groups of standard or varying instrumentation will be shared. This session will use a scales-to-intervals-to-chords approach and incorporate The Real Easy Book: Three Horn Edition, which makes On-The-Spot Arranging a very manageable process. Participants should bring an instrument of their choice – as this session is designed to be participatory in nature. In an age of Emerging Ensembles in our public school music programs, you are promised to find this session functional – and fun!

Tim Savage is a native of Malone, N.Y. He holds a Bachelor of Science and Masters in Music Education from the Crane School of Music, SUNY Potsdam. Since 1998, Tim has been the Director of Bands for Grades 7-12 at Canton Central School where he also teaches High School Music Theory and Music Alternatives in a constructivist context. He has been an Adjunct Professor at St. Lawrence University since 2005, Tim has directed the Wind Ensemble, the Chamber Winds and in Fall 2007 launched the SLU Improv Lab, with which he is currently engaged. Tim remains active as a professional musician. He currently plays baritone sax in Northern Symphonic Winds and the Wally Siebel All Star Big Band, keyboards and horns with a variety of small jazz and rock groups, and performs in and conducts pit orchestras for area high school, university, and community musicals. Over the past 30 years, Tim has conducted a number of All-District, All-County, and Area All-State Bands and Orchestras. Tim is currently president of the board of directors of the Orchestra of Northern New York, treasurer of the Crane School of Music Alumni Association, and chairperson for the New York State Band Directors Association Honor Jazz Ensemble.

Repertoire is the Curriculum – Matthew Sisia and Oyster Bay H.S. Wind Ensemble

Clinic Abstratc: With each concert cycle, music directors are tasked with the all-encompassing responsibility of choosing their curriculum and essentially defining their programs in the form of the repertoire they choose.

The purpose of this session is to help conductors clarify this daunting process and provide questions to ponder as they approach this pivotal task. Through live performance with the Oyster Bay High School Wind Ensemble and honest reflections on our chosen repertoire, we will discuss when to teach basic skills, how to choose your core repertoire, the importance of chamber music in building independent musicianship, and ways to keep programming fresh and energizing for students and conductors alike.

photo of Matt Sisia
Matthew Sisia

Matthew Sisia is in his fourteenth year as the Director of Bands at Oyster Bay High School where he conducts the Wind Ensemble, Symphonic Band, Jazz Ensemble, and Pit Orchestra. An advocate for new music, Mr. Sisia and the OBHS bands have collaborated with several of today’s leading composers including Paul Moravec, Joel Puckett, Roger Zare, Samuel Adler, Thomas Duffy, Shelley Hanson, Rossano Galante, Julie Giroux and Frank Ticheli. The OBHS bands have commissioned works from Shelley Hanson and Roger Zare and participated in consortiums to commission Rolf Rudin, Joel Puckett, and Pulitzer Prize-winning composers Michael Colgrass and Paul Moravec.

The OBHS bands have twice performed at Carnegie Hall, most recently in 2014.

Outside of his work in the public schools, Mr. Sisia is the founder and former director of the New York Chamber Ensemble and was recently named principal conductor of the Long Island Wind Ensemble. He is the Director of Bands at Adelphi University and previously served as both the Associate Conductor and adjunct professor in music education at Long Island University.

Mr. Sisia holds degrees from SUNY Potsdam’s Crane School of Music and The Pennsylvania State University with advanced doctoral studies at the Hartt School. His conducting teachers include Timothy Topolewski, Dennis Glocke, and Glen Adsit as well as additional studies with Michael Haithcock, Jerry Junkin, and H. Robert Reynolds. He has studied saxophone with Timothy McAllister and Carrie Koffman.

For the last decade, Mr. Sisia has proudly dedicated his time as a member of the executive board of the New York State Band Directors Association and was awarded their Distinguished Service Award in 2015. A recipient of the 2013 Distinguished Music Educator Award from Yale University, Mr. Sisia is also a member of the National Association for Music Education, the College Band Directors National Association, and the Nassau Music Educators Association. Mr. Sisia lives in Long Island with his wife, Nicolle, and two sons, Jason and Nathaniel.

Music Tech Curriculum Review and Its Relationship with Performing Ensembles – Corey Riley

Photo of Corey Riley
Corey Riley

Clinic Abstract: An overview of the Skaneateles High School Music Technology Program. Band directors today are being asked to do more than just band. Have you thought about starting a music technology curriculum? Topics include project ideas for all levels, equipment needs and concerns, grant writing, and collaboration across various disciplines including performing ensembles.

Corey Riley has been teaching music in the public schools since 2010. His experience has primarily been in instrumental music where he has served as a band director in both Ohio and New York. He is currently the middle school band director at Skaneateles Middle School where he directs the 6th Grade Band, 7th and 8th Grade Band, the Jazz Lab Band, and teaches middle school lessons. In addition to his middle school responsibilities, Corey teaches music technology at Skaneateles High School and directs both the MIDI Ensemble and the Skaneateles Big Band. Corey is also contracted through DCMO BOCES to remotely teach music technology at the high school level. Corey Riley graduated from The Ohio State University in 2010 with bachelor’s degrees in Music Education and Euphonium Performance. He is currently pursuing a master’s degree in Instructional Technology from Syracuse University. Corey also serves on the New York State Band Director’s Association Executive Board as the at-large commission chair.

SOUNDINGS: Developing Beautiful Ensemble Tone – Ray Cramer

Ask any professional musician what the most important aspect of their playing is and invariably the answer will be tone production. It is no different with ensemble performance. The top priority with my ensembles has always focused on generating the best sound possible given the talent, instrumentation and size of that particular group. This clinic will draw attention to rehearsal techniques, tonal goals and ways to maintain students interest and motivation while building the foundation of ensemble sound.

Photo of Ray Cramer
Ray E. Crame

Our 2017 “Living Legend”, Ray Cramer, holds a BA in Education from Western Illinois University, an MFA from the University of Iowa, Honorary Doctorates from Western Illinois University and the VanderCook College of Music. In 2009 he was awarded an Honorary Professorship at the Musashino Academia of Musicae in Tokyo.

Ray E. Cramer was a member of the Indiana University Jacob’s School of Music faculty from the fall of 1969 through May 2005. In 1982, Mr. Cramer was appointed Director of Bands. Under his leadership the Indiana University Wind Ensemble earned an international reputation for outstanding musical performances.

Engaging Your Ensemble with Positive Psychology – Curt Ebersole

Clinic Abstract: Positive psychology is the science of human success. Today we can assess and develop those habits of thinking, feeling, and relating that consistently create the best opportunity for success. We can help those engaged in the enterprise of education learn and practice these habits, and we can develop cultures in schools that foster and sustain these habits. Researchers are challenging traditional psychology’s focus on deficit and weakness and are asking questions about how to build the qualities of life that make it worth living from a strengths perspective. This clinic will present the concept of Social-Emotional Leadership as a pathway to engaging your ensemble for success.

Photo of Curt Ebasole
Curt Ebasole

Curt Ebersole has served as the Conductor/Music Director of the Westchester Symphonic Winds (John P. Paynter Memorial Conductor’s Chair) in Tarrytown, NY since 2008, and currently teaches at The Masters School (Dobbs Ferry, NY). In 2013, he retired from Northern Valley Regional High School at Old Tappan, NJ, where he served as Director of Instrumental Music for 31 years. At NVOT, he conducted the String Ensemble, Wind Symphony, Concert Band, Marching Band, and Musical Theater productions, earning recurring accolades and establishing the annual Prism Concert as a local rite of spring.

Mr. Ebersole has served as a guest conductor and clinician for numerous county, region, all-state bands and orchestras, and adult community ensembles across the nation, including performances in Carnegie Hall, Avery Fisher Hall, Symphony Space, and the Caramoor Festival, as well as performances in Las Vegas, South Korea and Australia. He is the founding coordinator of the Music Educators of Bergen County Wind Conducting Symposium. He served as a clinician at the 2009 Midwest International Band and Orchestra Clinic in Chicago, IL, and the 2015 & 2016 Temple University Wind Conducting and Teaching Workshops in Philadelphia, PA.

Mr. Ebersole was selected as the Northern Valley District Teacher of the Year in 1994 and the Bergen County Teacher of the Year in 1995. The NJ Music Educators Association chose him as the recipient of the 2003 NJ Master Music Teacher Award. Yale University presented him with their Distinguished Music Educator Award in June 2011.

Round Table for New Teachers – Bradley Morrison & David Wilber

This group discussion will deal with real issues that new teachers face everday that may not have been taught in undergraduate courses. The panel will include music administrators, retired teachers, rural teachers, and urban school teachers. Please bring your questions for this expert panel!

Westchester Symphonic Winds – Curt Ebersole, conductor

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Westchester Symphonic Winds

Westchester Symphonic Winds, an adult community-based 60-piece wind and percussion ensemble, celebrates its 29th season in 2016-2017. We exist to promote music in our area, instill pride in our nation and heritage, provide opportunities for personal expression and growth within our membership, and nurture the love of music by offering an exceptional musical experience for people of all ages. The ensemble was founded by Rachel Eckhaus, Robert LaPorta, and the group’s first conductor, James D. Wayne, who conducted the band from 1988-2004. Dr. Luis Fernando Jimenez was conductor from 2005-2008. Curt Ebersole was invited to conduct the 20th Anniversary Gala Concert in 2008, and was subsequently invited to stay on permanently as Conductor and Music Director. Since 2008, guest conductors and clinicians have included Dr. Mallory Thompson, Dr. John Lynch, Dr. Tom McCauley, Dr. Shelley Axelson, Travis Cross, and Joseph Greco.


NYSBDA is again sponsoring a conducting clinic as part of the Directors’ Reading Band on Sunday morning, March 5, 2017. Our guest clinician and “Interview with a Legend” subject, Mr. Ray Cramer, has agreed to work with three conductors from our membership in master class format. The repertoire to select from includes these works, hand-picked by Professor Cramer:

Percy Grainger– Lincolnshire Posy Mvmts. 1,2,5, or 6
Eric Whitacre– Seal Lullaby
Kevin Walczyk – Children’s Folksong Suite
Gustav Holst – Second Suite in F (any movement)

If you are interested in applying for this conducting clinic, please complete the application online.

Photo of Ray E. Cramer
Ray E. Cramer

Ray E. Cramer holds a BA in Education from Western Illinois University, an MFA from the University of Iowa, Honorary Doctorates from Western Illinois University and the VanderCook College of Music. In 2009 he was awarded an Honorary Professorship at the Musashino Academia of Musicae in Tokyo. Ray E. Cramer was a member of the Indiana University Jacob’s School of Music faculty from the fall of 1969 through May 2005. In 1982, Mr. Cramer was appointed Director of Bands. Under his leadership the Indiana University Wind Ensemble earned an international reputation for outstanding musical performances.

He is a past National President of the College Band Directors National Association, The American Bandmasters Association and has served as president of the Indiana Bandmasters Association, the North Central Division of CBDNA and the Big Ten Band Directors Association. He is the Past President of the Midwest Clinic, an international band and orchestra convention held in Chicago each December.

Mr. Cramer has received numerous awards over the years including the Edwin Franko Goldman award (2002), The MENC Lowell Mason Fellow medallion (2003), Midwest Clinic Medal of Honor (2005), Bands of America Hall of Fame (2006), The Northshore Concert Band Lifetime Achievement Award(2006). He has received the 17th Japan Academic Society of Winds, Percussion and Band Award (2007). In December of 2008 he was named The Academy of Wind and Percussion Arts honoree by the National Band Association. In 2009 the John Paynter Lifetime Achievement Award. Also in 2009 he was elected into the prestigious National Band Association “Hall of Fame of Distinguished Conductors”.

Mr. Cramer remains actively involved in clinics and guest conducting engagements nationally and internationally. He serves as a regular guest conductor for the Musashino Academia of Music in Tokyo, Japan that began in the fall of 1990 and continues to the present. He has conducted the Musashino Wind Ensemble on tours throughout Japan and two performances at the Midwest Clinic in 1995 and 2006.

He and his wife of 52 years, Molly, reside in Colorado Springs because they love the mountains and to be closer to family, and grandchildren.

Interview with a Legend: Ray Cramer – Gary Stith, Interviewer

Gary Stith once again lends us his skills as an interviewer, probing the depths of Ray Cramer’s musical, pedagogical, experiential and personal background, giving us insight into this musician.