Tag Archives: Musicians

A Letter to the Board

Dear Roxie and GSO Board,
It doesn’t seem possible it has been 70 years since we started the orchestra!  I received the GSO pamphlet yesterday and read every word. The season concerts sound wonderful! I do so wish I could be there to hear them. When you are at a rehearsal please say “Hi!” for me to the orchestra, especially members who still remember me.
I remember playing Scheherazade many, many years ago in the 1st violin section, long before taking up the viola. Carl Frank played the solo violin part at the time. It is such a great number and the audience will love it.
I just wanted to let you know how pleased I am with the GSO’s leadership and devotion. After having 48 wonderful years of joy playing in the orchestra, I feel blessed, as there is no other experience like it.                                                                                            Sincerely,
Helen Grapka                                                                                                                 GSO Charter Member

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Dave Hollenbeck

Dave Hollenbeck

Congratulations to Dave Hollenbeck, Tubist with the GSO, who has recently auditioned and been selected as a Tubist with the United States Army Bands!

Dave has been Tubist with the orchestra for three seasons. He is a native of Albion, NY and was graduated from SUNY Fredonia in 2012, with a degree in Music Performance. In addition to the GSO, Dave plays with several groups in the Western New York area, including the Batavia Concert Band, The Hitmen Brass Band from Rochester, and The Easy Street Big Band out of the Buffalo area.

Hollenbeck has auditioned for several musical organizations over the past several years, many of which have been military bands. Dave relates, “I’ve had the chance to catch a few of the various service bands live, and have always been blown away by the incredible performances. I’m excited and honored to be offered a chance to join them.”

Dave leaves for Basic Combat Training at the end of June. He will continue his training with nine weeks at the Army School of Music beginning in September. After  graduation, he will be placed in one of the several Army Bands.

To learn more about the United States Army Bands visit their website at http://www.music.army.mil/.

~Dave Porter

High Notes – Q&A with Musician Marjorie Fulmer

highnotesdec2015Musician:  Marjorie Fulmer
Residence: LeRoy, New York
Occupation:  Retired Instrumental Music            Teacher
Years with the GSO:  25 years






Q.  Which instrument/s do you play?                                                                                A.  Flute, Organ, and Piano

Q.  What was your first instrument? When and why did you start playing?                        A.  Piano.  We had my grandmother’s baby grand piano and I couldn’t wait to play!  I was about 8 years old.

Q.  What are your fondest musical memories?                                                                  A.  Seeing both of my parents play in bands and orchestras – And then finally playing in a band myself.

Q.  What advice would you give to beginning instrumental students?                               A.  No matter what instrument you play, you will love it if you practice consistently.  Your rapid progress will be so rewarding!

Q.  People would be surprised to know that I….                                                               A.  Married a man who is totally unmusical!

Q.  List 3 adjectives that best describe you.                                                                      A.  Energetic, Loyal, and Joyful

Q.  What would you like to be doing in 5 years?                                                                A.  The same things I’m doing right now – Playing the flute, tennis, and golf.  Biking, sewing, and spending time with my family.

Q.  What famous musician/composer would you most like to meet?                                 A.  J.S. Bach

Q.  If you could play another instrument what would it be?                                                A.  Cello

Q.  What do you enjoy most about being a musician?                                                       A.  Collaborating with other musicians


Guest Artist Lars Kirvan, Cello

Guest Artist Lars Kirvan, Cello

Guest Artist Lars Kirvan, Cello

Cellist Lars Kirvan grew up in Fairfax, Virginia, where he began his cello studies with Loran Stephenson of the National Symphony Orchestra. He later earned his bachelor’s degree from the Cleveland Institute of Music where he was a student of the Cleveland Orchestra’s renowned principal cellist, Stephen Geber.

Kirvan was a member of the Verbier Festival Orchestra in Switzerland and the Verbier Chamber Orchestra where he served as a principal, and also was a member and principal of the New World Symphony Orchestra under the direction of Michael Tilson Thomas. Kirvan has traveled all over the world performing in its most prestigious concert halls and has been fortunate to collaborate in chamber music performances with artists such as Maxim Vengerov, James Buswell, Leonidas Kavakos, Dimitry Sitkovesky, Heinrich Schiff, Laurence Lesser, Jon Kimura Parker, and many more. He was recently invited to join the World Orchestra for Peace, conducted by Valery Gergiev.

Most recently, Kirvan became the assistant principal cellist of the Chautauqua Symphony Orchestra. Kirvan joined the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra in 2008. In the 2014-15 season, he served as principal cellist of the RPO.

High Notes – Q&A with Musician Edward VanZandt

highernotesept2015The GSO core group of musicians is exceptionally talented and dedicated!   In a Q & A format, High Notes will feature a member of the GSO core group in each of our quarterly newsletters.

Musician:  Edward VanZandt
Residence:  Castile, New York
Occupation:  Retired Instrumental Music Teacher – Letchworth Central School District (35 years)
Years with the GSO:  25 years

  1. Which instrument/s do you play?              A.  Trumpet
  2. What was your first instrument? When and why did you start playing?                  A.  Trumpet was my first instrument.  I attended a try-out with the band director when I was in 3rd grade.  He said I was a natural trumpet player.  The day before, I had attended the string meeting and the orchestra director told me I was a natural cellist!  Ultimately, my dad made the decision, citing the fact that I might not break the trumpet as quickly!
  3. What are your fondest musical memories?                                                       A.  There are so many!  High school wind ensemble – Our band was one of the really good H.S. bands in NY State at the time.  I was the first student to be featured with the Albany Symphony, and was very fortunate to play in the first Albany Symphony Youth Orchestra.  Receiving private lessons from Seymour Rosenfeld of the Philadelphia Orchestra is a memory I will always cherish.
  4. What advice would you give to beginning instrumental students?                  A. As a beginner, the best piece of advice I would give would be:  “Listen.  Be a very good listener.  Listen to your teacher, listen to concerts, recordings, and TV shows.  Especially listen to the music being played by your instrument, and imitate what you hear.”
  5. People would be surprised to know that I….                                                      A.  Have been making wine for the past 10 years, and that I run the Castile Emergency Food Pantry.
  6. List 3 adjectives that best describe you.                                                            A.  Humorous, Organized, and Motivated
  7. What would you like to be doing in 5 years?                                                       A.  I pray I can stay healthy enough to continue playing with the symphony; enjoy traveling with my wife, Marcy; and visit my grandchildren to take in their many concerts and sporting events.
  8. What famous musician/composer would you most like to meet?                  A.  Musician – Innovative Jazz leader and trumpet player Louis Armstrong.  Composer – Aaron Copeland.
  9. If you could play another instrument what would it be?                                  A.  Acoustic guitar.  I enjoy singing and know if I could just learn a few chords, I’d be the life of a party!
  10. What do you enjoy most about being a musician?                                           A.  Music challenges me both mentally and physically.  It gets into my soul….and the best thing about being a musician is I know it affects everyone around me the very same way!

Guest Artist Raymond Feng, Piano

Guest Artist Raymond Feng, Piano

Guest Artist Raymond Feng, Piano

A pupil of Elier Suárez since age five, 13 year-old Raymond Feng has been a prizewinner of international and national competitions since age 9. He was First Prize winner of Thousand Islands Chopin International, Cooper Piano Festival at Oberlin Conservatory, and Duquesne National Young Artist, among others. As a national finalist of 2015 Music Teachers National Association Competition in junior piano performance, Raymond performed at the national conference held in Las Vegas. Raymond was named the 2015 winner of several concerto competitions including Genesee Symphony Orchestra Young Artist, Greater Buffalo Youth Orchestra Piano Concerto and Cayuga Chamber Orchestra Concerto Competitions. Raymond was recently accepted to the prestigious Morningside Music Bridge Festival in Calgary, Canada with full scholarship for summer 2015.

As piano soloist, Raymond had his orchestral debut at age eleven with the Ashdod Symphony Orchestra in Perugia, Italy, and locally performed with the Hochstein Youth Symphony Orchestra at age 12. Raymond also plays violin under the guidance of Nancy Hunt. A mathlete as well, Raymond has been the NY State Champion of MathCounts for three successive years, 2012-2015. For community service, Raymond often performs solo recitals at senior living facilities around Greater Rochester. Raymond’s other interests include computer programming and music improvisation. His favorite sports are tennis and competitive swimming.