February 2021
 CNYAMT Mission
"We desire to promote enrichment
and education in the musical arts
for teachers and their students."
President's Message
From our President, Bernadette Kessler

It’s a new year with new opportunities and CNYAMT has adapted to a new way of functioning to carry on our mission of service to our members and their students. Our events and competitions have been revised to include virtual submissions as well as in-person events guided by the recommendations of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.  

A very special thank you to our Board Members, Chairs, and Committees for their diligence and hard work. Please refer to the calendar for updated dates and deadlines.   

Friday Teacher Forum: Mary Whittington
Maple Downs Community Outreach: Kim Farrell, Robbie Padilla 
The Baroque, Classical, and Sonatina Piano Festival: James Lee Vatter, Lynn Moroz
Artist Pianos Advanced Piano Competition: Ya-Wei Tseng, Ida Tili-Trebicka
Instrumental Competition: James Krehbiel, Dana DiGennaro
Vocal Competition: Neva Pilgrim, Gayle Ross, Patti Thompson Buechner
Senior Scholarship Competition: Dana DiGennaro
Senior Merit Scholarship: Barbara Irwin

We welcome all members to join us for our Virtual Board Meetings. The calendar lists the dates and times. For an invitation, email me at:

CNYAMT Calendar

Take a look at all of the exciting events we have coming up in our
CNYAMT year!

Welcome to our newest Members!

Susan French, Syracuse, NY - Violin & Viola
Asami Hagiwara, Syracuse, NY - Piano
Will Knuth, Liverpool, NY - Violin & Viola  
Virtual Valentine Concert

In lieu of our Valentine outreach recital that was originally scheduled at Maple Downs on February 14th this year, CNYAMT students connected with the residents there and performed a virtual Valentine recital titled The Love of Music. Kim Farrell worked with the manager from Maple Downs to connect each student personally to a resident by sending them a Valentine's card, or dedicating their piece specifically to that resident on the video. 

21 students performed on a wide variety of instruments: piano, strings, voice, and woodwinds. Each video was unique and fabulous in its own special way. Thank you to Robbie Padilla who collected all the videos and created a "heart-felt" recital and Kim Farrell for putting together a "lovely" program! And thank you also to the "loveable" teachers who participated and helped with their students' videos: Patricia DeAngelis, Dana DiGennaro, Kim Farrell, Susan French, Kathleen Freer, Bernadette Kessler, Neva Pilgrim, Gayle Ross, Mary Whittington, and Michelle Wilcox. Congratulations to all!

Friday Morning Forum

Take some time for you and join your fellow teachers for an informal open discussion with topics relevant to your studio. This is a great opportunity to ask questions, gain insight, and share your experience. The topics will vary, but this month as we look forward to virtual recitals, festivals, and other events in 2021, you may find yourself wondering about:

  • how to guide your students and parents though the home recording process
  • discussing performance dress code and other standards in the current Zoom-casual era
  • tools, resources, tips and tricks for successful virtual performances
  • and, as always, whatever ideas or thoughts are on your mind!

This monthly event happens on the 2nd Friday of each month. It’s a great way to stay connected and share ideas. Bring your coffee or tea and share what's on your mind! Next Forum: February 12th, 11 am. Zoom link to follow.

Mary Whittington, Chair
Thank You Donors!
CNYAMT has remarkable people that have stepped up to contribute to our events, competitions, and student tuition assistance program.  It is because of their generosity that we can continue to carry out our mission to promote enrichment and education in the musical arts for teachers and their students.  We thank you and greatly appreciate your support in making a difference in the lives of others.  
Patti Thompson Buechner
Paul Burgay
Patricia DeAngelis
JoBeth Dellinger
Phil Eisenman & Gayle Ross
Kevin Moore
A Friend of CNYAMT

 “A single act of kindness throws out roots in all directions, and the roots spring up and make new trees.” Amelia Earhart
Baroque, Classical, & Sonatina
Piano Festival
The piano festival will be held at Artist Pianos in East Syracuse on March 20th. The judge is Jacob Ertl of Nazareth College and the event is open to all CNYAMT piano teachers and their students of all levels. This will be an evaluation activity where students may enter all 3 areas or just 1, and prepare a piece from each area. Arranged, simplified, and original compositions may be used. Memorization is not required. If you have a student preparing a Sonatina in the Classical period you may enter in 2 areas, both Classical and Sonatina.

The Festival has been held for the last 5 years and has been a very positive event for students of all levels. Each student will receive a numerical score for each piece. Depending on the score, a trophy, medal, or ribbon will be awarded. All forms, rules, and information are posted on the website:

Festival Date: Saturday, March 20, 2021 
Place: Artist Pianos, 5780 Celi Drive, East Syracuse, NY
Forms due: February 22, 2021
Fees: $20 for each area or all 3 for $50

Send entry forms to:
James Lee Vatter, 5780 Celi Drive, East Syracuse, NY  13057
For further questions, email James Lee Vatter:
Syracuse Sounds of Music - Music Matters Auction

Music Matters is an event that brings together music supporters in an evening dedicated to honoring a musician or music educator from our community. In light of the unusual events of 2020, we would like to honor you, our supporters, and name you as SSMA Ovation People of the Year! You helped us continue our work through your membership, monetary donations, Encore Thrift Shop patronage, and abiding engagement with Central New York music organizations.

We anticipate extending thousands of dollars in grants to local non-profit music organizations this winter, and we look forward to selecting two winners for our yearly Sally Whittle Memorial Scholarship this spring. CNYAMT is thankful for the support of SSMA for their Grants in Music which provide funds for our Tuition Assistance Program and Student Masterclasses.

In lieu of an in-person Music Matters event, there will be a virtual, on-line only Silent Auction, featuring many valuable donated items, allowing you to bid from the safety of your home. To view and bid on many valuable donated items, register at:  

The auction will begin at noon on Sunday, February 21st and close at 8:00 pm on Saturday, February 27th.  For assistance, email us at
Artist Pianos Advanced Piano Competition
The 2021 Artist Pianos Advanced Piano Competition will be held by virtual YouTube submission. Piano students, ages 8 through high school may enter the competition.  

Age groups are broken down into four levels:
Elementary: ages 8-9
Junior: ages 10-12
Intermediate: ages 13-14
Senior: ages 15 and up

Competition dates for all applicants:
Entry deadline: March 20, 2021
Video performance submissions due: April 17, 2021

The Winners’ Recital will be posted on the CNYAMT YouTube Channel.

Refer to the attached application for details and information.
For further questions contact:
Elementary/Junior Levels: Ya-Wei Tseng,
Intermediate/Senior Levels: Bernadette Kessler,

Senior Scholarship Competition

Teachers with graduating seniors, it's time to plan ahead for the Senior Scholarship Competition! The competition is open to any senior student of a CNYAMT member who plans to continue musical activities in college (does not have to be a music major). Two prizes may be awarded in the amounts of $1,000 and $500.

Please check out all of the details, rules, and requirements on the application form linked below. The written application deadline is April 15, 2021. YouTube audition videos are due May 1, 2021.

CNYAMT Instrumental Competition
We are pleased to announce the Central New York Association of Music Teachers Instrumental Competition, which will be held virtually this year. The competition is open to all wind, brass, percussion, and string students, ages 10 through 18, in two divisions. CNYAMT membership is not required to participate.

We are hoping that the competition will help motivate our students during these challenging times! All entrants will receive a certificate of participation and written comments from professional judges. Winners will receive monetary prizes and may be featured on the CNYAMT website.
The deadline for applications is April 16, 2021, and YouTube video performances are due on May 1, 2021. An application and pertinent information can be found on our website at: under the festivals and competitions tab.
We appreciate your consideration, and hope that you will enter your students for this invaluable experience. Should you have any questions, please feel free to contact either of us. Also, please pass along this information to anyone you think might be interested!

Dana DiGennaro (
James Krehbiel (
Competition Chairs

Syracuse Friends of Chamber Music Youth Chamber
Music Competition
The 2021 competition will be a virtual event. 
Participating students must be in grades 7–12 and enrolled in a New York school district within 90 miles of Syracuse or homeschooled in one of those districts (this includes Ithaca, Utica, Watertown, and Rochester).

Ensembles must be comprised of 3 to 8 musicians playing on standard orchestral instruments. Some of the ensembles competing in past years have included string trios and quartets (sometimes with an added piano or wind instrument), woodwind and brass quintets, and ensembles of all the same instrument (e.g., cello or saxophone quartets). 

Classical repertoire that has been composed for the designated instruments is preferred— arrangements and transcriptions are discouraged. The music performed must include contrasting sections/movements of a single composition or consist of contrasting pieces, with a total duration of 5 to 15 minutes.
Application: Please use the online Youth Competition Entry Form to apply.
Application Deadline: March 5, 2021. Expect to receive a receipt confirmation within a day.
Deadline for submission of recordings: April 5, 2021
Email video recording or link to: Expect to receive a receipt confirmation within a day.
Please contact us if you have questions about the suitability of your repertoire.

Email questions to or call 315-682-7720.
Click the link below for details concerning the submission of video recordings and competition rules. Youth Competition Rules

Ida Tili-Trebicka, SFCM board member
Congratulations to Bernadette Kessler!
Our president, Bernadette Kessler, has been awarded the Civic Morning Musicals 2020 Ruth Edson Award for outstanding contribution to the Syracuse music community! We cannot think of anyone who is more deserving. Congratulations Bernadette, from all of us!!
Need more info? Check out our website!