Broome County Music Educators Association

2019 Directors Bios



Festival I

Grades 5 & 6 Orchestra

Kimberly Handman - Guest Conductor

Mrs. Kimberly Handman is a string teacher at LaGrange Middle School in the Arlington Central School District located in LaGrangeville, NY. Under her direction, Arlington students have consistently received the highest ratings at NYSSMA Majors and Music in the Parks festivals. Through the Stringendo Orchestra and Fiddle program, she teaches at Summer Strings, and from 2002 - 2009, Mrs. Handman spent Saturday mornings conducting an orchestra at The Stringendo Orchestra School of the Hudson Valley. She has been a guest conductor for numerous regional events including the Vermont ASTA “Day for Strings” and the NYASTA String Institute. As a clinician, Kim has presented innovative topics at the 2016 NYSSMA Summer Conference and at the 2015 New Jersey Music Educator’s Association State Conference. She is also an active performer with the Woodstock Chamber Orchestra and the Handman Quartet. Kimberly received her Bachelor’s Degree in Music Education from the Crane School of Music at SUNY Potsdam and a Master’s Degree in Music Education from the Hartt School at the University of Hartford. Mrs. Handman resides in Poughkeepsie, NY with her husband, Jonathan and their two sons Jack and TJ.

Grades 7-9 Chorus

Louis Shafer - Guest Conductor

Mr. Shafer grew up in the Rochester area and graduated from the Fredonia School of Music. While living in New York City, Mr. Shafer was the tenor section leader and assistant conductor of the Grammy Award-winning Gregg Smith Singers, with whom he performed, recorded and toured internationally. As a choir member and conductor, Mr. Shafer has been lucky enough to share the stage with Dave Brubeck, Bobby Millitello, The Swingle Singers, The Platters, St. Luke's Orchestra, Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra, Harmonia Chamber Singers, Vocalis and more. He has been a tenor soloist at St. Patrick's Cathedral, St. John's in the Village and Park Avenue Presbyterian church, New York City as well as St. Joseph Cathedral, Buffalo. He has been a tenor soloist with Erie County Wind Ensemble, Amherst Symphony Orchestra, Buffalo Niagara Youth Chorus, New York Swing Exchange, Buffalo's Curtain Up, O'Connell and Company and others.

Mr. Shafer is currently in his 22nd year of teaching and his 5th year as Choral Director at Frontier High School. He has guest conducted throughout New York and the northeast at All-County and Area-All State festivals with choirs from grades 4-12 as well as collegiate ensembles. An avid composer and arranger, Mr. Shafer's creations have been performed and recorded by area choirs, vocal jazz ensembles and cappella groups, notably, Buffalo's own, The Lake Effect. He is a member of ECMEA, NYSSMA, ACDA and MENC. He is proud and honored to be selected to work with the fine musicians of Broome County!

Grades 10-12 Band

A. Daniel Miller - Guest Conductor

Dan Miller is currently the high school band director and the curriculum coordinator for music, visual arts and LOTE in the Spencer-Van Etten School District in Spencer, New York, where he directs the High School concert band and jazz band, teaches music theory classes, and is the stage director for the high school musicals. Outside of school, Dan teaches saxophone at Binghamton University, co-directs the Teen Jazz Project, and spends each summer as a band director for the American Music Abroad Red Tour of Europe. He also serves as the Music Caption Head for the Vestal High School Marching Band and recently was honored with the Outstanding Jazz Educator Award from the National Band Association.

Dan is a native of Endicott, NY and received his Bachelor of Music Education degree with Performance Honors from Syracuse University. He received his Masters of Music Education degree from Ithaca College. Dan can regularly be seen performing with the Southern Tier Concert Band, the Empire Saxophone Quartet, and Rooster and the Roadhouse Horns.

Dan is a past president of the Tioga County Music Educators Association and regularly works as an adjudicator, guest conductor and clinician throughout the Southern Tier of New York state and Pennsylvania. Dan and his wife Eileen live in Apalachin, New York, and have three children.


Festival II

Grades 5 & 6 Chorus

Ernest Backus - Guest Conductor

Ernest Backus holds a Master of Music in Vocal Music Education and Bachelors of Music in Percussion Performance, Instrumental Music Education, and Music Theory from Ithaca College, a Master of Arts in Ritual Chant and Song from the University of Limerick, Ireland, and a Level II Certificate from the Choral Music Experience Institute.

He currently teaches general music and directs four choruses, the musical, and the spring drama at Maine-Endwell Middle School. Recently, he has been the pit director for the Vestal High School Musical for three years, the director of the Parlor City Boys’ Chorus, and an instructor at the Binghamton High School Percussion Camp. He also performs with the Island Hoppers Steel Drum Band and with the Compline Choir at St. Paul's Episcopal Church in Owego. A graduate of Binghamton High School, he currently resides with his wife Aimee and puppy Paddington on the South Side of Binghamton.

Grades 7-9 Band

Scott Kelley - Guest Conductor

Scott Kelley, a native of Binghamton, NY, graduated from Binghamton Central High School and studied trumpet with Bernard Shifrin throughout his high school years. He was also a member of the Binghamton Youth Symphony and the Harper College Jazz Ensemble at SUNY Binghamton. Scott received his bachelor degree in music education from Ithaca College and his master’s degree in music performance from SUNY Binghamton. Just recently retired from the Elmira City School District after thirty-two years as director of bands at Elmira Free Academy High School and also from Elmira College, after twenty five years, Scott currently is teaching instrumental music at The Alternative School For Math And Science in Corning, NY. ASMS is a private school, grades 6-8 where every student is enrolled in band. In addition, Scott co conducts the Corning Area Community Concert Band and is the instrumental music director at the First Presbyterian Church in Elmira. Professionally, Scott performs with the Orchestra Of The Southern Finger Lakes, various brass groups and as a soloist throughout the region.

Grades 10-12 Orchestra

Daniel McCarter - Guest Conductor

Daniel McCarter dedicates his career to bringing great music to students and audiences. He directs the highly successful orchestral program at Suffern High School, where for the past 19 years his students have performed both masterpieces and their own compositions in concert. He conducts Suffern’s two curricular symphony orchestras, directs the co-curricular chamber orchestra, and serves as the music director, conductor, technical director, and producer of Suffern’s acclaimed theater program. Mr. McCarter and his Suffern orchestras have been recognized by the Rockland County Executive and by the Rockland County Veterans Missing in America Project for their outstanding community service through music. Mr. McCarter has received the Suffern Rotary’s Excellence in Teaching Award for his contributions to music education, and has led festival orchestras in performances of both new and classic works.

Born and raised in Southeastern Pennsylvania, Mr. McCarter earned his Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees from the Ithaca College School of Music, where he studied composition with Gregory Woodward and Dana Wilson, cello with Elizabeth Simkin and Heidi Hoffman, and violin with Debra Moree. He also holds a Certificate of Advanced Graduate Study in Educational Administration from Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts.

Mr. McCarter has performed as a cellist with orchestras and chamber ensembles throughout the New York metropolitan region, and his compositions have been performed at Ithaca College, Columbia University, Stockton University, the North American Saxophone Alliance Conference at West Point, by the Greater Newburgh Symphony Orchestra, and by many New York-based chamber musicians. His Symphony for Kristallnacht earned high praise at its premier performance by the Bay Atlantic Symphony Orchestra. He combines his passions for composition and education through group composition projects with his students, culminating in a concert of original student music each year.


Festival III

Grades 10-12 Jazz Band

Steven Frank - Guest Conductor

Steve Frank, recently retired from the West Genesee Central School District, Camillus, New York, has enjoyed a long career in music education, with over thirty-five years of experience as a band and jazz band director at the elementary, middle, high school, and college and university level. He has also served as the Education Program Director for the internationally acclaimed Syracuse Jazz Fest, Frank Malfitano, Executive Director, from 2003 through 2013.

Steve is currently a member of the adjunct faculty at the Setnor School of Music, Syracuse University, Syracuse, N.Y., where he serves as both a course instructor in the music education department as well as a university appointed supervisor of student teachers.

He has studied as a trombone performance major at the doctoral level at the Eastman School of Music, Rochester, N.Y., and holds a M.M. in Music Performance from Youngstown State University, Youngstown, Ohio, and a B.M. in Music Education from the Crane School of Music, Potsdam, New York.

Among his many awards and honors, Steve was inducted into the Syracuse Area Music Awards (SAMMY) Hall Of Fame as the 2010 Music Educator of the Year. In 2006, he received a special award granted by International Association for Jazz Education (IAJE) in recognition of his “outstanding contributions” and “tireless dedication and leadership” in promoting and facilitating scholastic jazz education in Central New York, and in 2002, he was honored to be named an “Outstanding Music Educator in the field of Instrumental Music- Band” by the musicians of the Syracuse Symphony Orchestra. In 2001, Steve received the Onondaga Community College Faculty Appreciation Award in recognition of his “outstanding and dedicated service to the college.”

As a free-lance professional trombonist, Steve has performed and recorded with groups as diverse as the Syracuse Symphony Orchestra, the Detroit Concert Band (Leonard B. Smith, director), the rock band La La Land, and a multitude of jazz and swing bands. He is also a composer and arranger, with published compositions for elementary concert band (Alfred Music Publishing, C. L. Barnhouse Company) and for trombone and trombone ensemble (Ensemble Publications) among his many works. His instrumental music supplement series, The Good Book (Frankenbush Publishing), has been used for years by music teachers across New York State. Steve’s composition “Variations on Barnacle Bill, the Sailor” has been performed and recorded by trombonists from around the world, including Charlie Vernon, bass trombonist of the Chicago Symphony.

Grades 5 & 6 Band

Jackie Kovacs - Guest Conductor

Jacquelin Kovacs received her undergraduate education at Trenton State College, (now The College of New Jersey), where she earned a Bachelor of Music Education degree, cum laude. In 1993, she moved from New Jersey to begin her teaching career at W.A. Perry Middle School in Columbia, South Carolina. After relocating to New York State, she earned her Master of Music Education degree from Ithaca College. She taught for nine years in the Cincinnatus Central School District where her responsibilities included teaching elementary and middle school general music, instrumental music and lessons for grades five through twelve, conducting the 7th-12th grade jazz band, and directing a parade/marching band. Ms. Kovacs is currently the Director of Bands at Maine-Endwell High School. She has been at Maine-Endwell Central Schools for fourteen years. Her current responsibilities include the High School Symphonic Band, Jazz Band and Wind Ensemble and small group lessons at the High School and Middle School. She is also the director of the district’s Pep Band. She serves as the lead teacher for the M-E Music Department.

Ms. Kovacs is an active member of the National Association for Music Education, New York State School Music Association, Broome County Music Educators Association, serving as 2nd Vice President, and the New York State Band Directors Association, serving as the Region 3 Representative. Ms. Kovacs is a recipient of the regional 2002 Apple for the Teacher Award, which recognizes excellence in education, the October 2017 Liberty Mutual and META Teacher of the Month Award and New York recipient of “50 Directors Who Make a Difference” in the 20th annual School Band and Orchestra Magazine.

In addition to her public school teaching, Ms. Kovacs maintains an active performance schedule. As a saxophonist, she performs regularly with the Southern Tier Concert Band. She also enjoys playing in the pit orchestras for the local musicals. Ms. Kovacs resides in Binghamton, NY. In her free time she enjoys running, biking, yoga and working on her 1966 Mustang. She values her time spent with her family and friends, their love and support make everything possible.

Grades 7-9 Orchestra

Cheryl Rogers - Guest Conductor

Cheryl J Rogers is passionate about music and about sharing all the gifts that music has to offer. Retired from Oswego High School after 35 years in public education, Rogers spent a career encouraging, shaping and molding her students into skilled young musicians and performers. With a Bachelor of Music Education from Edinboro University majoring in Viola and minoring in Percussion and a Masters of Science in Music Education majoring in voice from Duquesne University in Pittsburgh, Ms. Rogers studied viola with Dr. Clifford Cox, Percussion with Cosmo Barbaro and voice and the Alexander Technique with Dr Pamela Lewis. After starting her career in music in Wellsville, NY as the 4-12 String teacher for the district, in 1984 Mrs. Rogers was invited to join the Oswego City School District to design and implement a string program for the district to complement the already successful band and choral programs. This program now includes 4 string teachers and over 300 string students. She retired in 2016 as the high school orchestra director and K 12 Music Team Leader.

Having a wide range of musical experiences Mrs. Rogers has been a guest conductor for elementary, junior and senior high school ensembles at the All-County and Area All-State levels, is certified as a NYSSMA adjudicator and field band judge and has served as a front ensemble instructor for marching bands and drum and bugle corps. She travels across the country to run events and judge for USBands, and traveled from 2011-2015 with The Cadets Drum and Bugle Corps from Allentown PA. As a music Educator, she has immersed herself in all aspect's of the district's music programs including musicals, and teaching the marching band.

Mrs. Rogers has been recognized locally and nationally for her outstanding contributions to the community and music education and is a member of Who's Who in American Teachers, was the recipient of the Golden Apple Award for Teaching Excellence and the NY Woman of Distinction in NY State Award from Senator Patty Richie, and the Amelia Earhart Woman of Achievement Award from Zonta International. She is a member of NYSSMA, NAFME, SAI and a board member of the Port City Education Foundation and Plus One Performance Ensembles.

Not completely embracing retirement Mrs. Rogers presently resides in Oswego, New York where she stays active subbing for the instrumental music departments in two districts and continues to advocate for our public school music programs.

Grades 10-12 Chorus

Dennis Creighton - Guest Conductor

A native of Potsdam, Mr. Creighton is a graduate of the Crane School of Music where he received both his Bachelors and Masters in Music Education. He also holds a Masters of Liberal Studies with a Literature focus as well as a Masters from Stony Brook in their Educational District Leadership program.

Mr. Creighton is the conductor of the Shoreham-Wading River High School Concert Choir. This groups past performances include: Carmina Burana by Orff, The Chichester Psalms by Bernstein, and many pieces by modern composers such as Arnesen, Runestad and Whitacre. He serves as the musical vocal director, and directs Vocal Express, a choir specializing in the collegiate a cappella style. His schools recent performances include West Side Story, Kiss Me, Kate, and under his theatrical and vocal direction.

Mr. Creighton is also an active performer. He has appeared in several shows in the past year including: Bridges of Madison County (Bud), We Will Rock You (Buddy), and Fun Home (Bruce). He also performs as a guest soloist with ensembles around Long Island.

Mr. Creighton has served as a guest conductor for several Area-All State and All-County festivals across New York State. He is thrilled to have been given the opportunity to return to the Southern Tier. He would like to thank the chair people, the students, their teachers, and the student’s parents for their hard work and dedication in making this concert a success.

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Last Update November 1, 2018