Chandra Downs, classroom specialist
Chandra Downs (Classroom Specialist) has been teaching music at Geneseo Central School for 19 years. For 18 of those years, she was the vocal music director of grades 6-12. This past school year, she began a new adventure at GCS, as the elementary music teacher of grades K-5.
Throughout her time with the upper grade levels, Chandra taught a variety of classes, including 6-8 grade General Music, Music Theory, Theatre Arts, Middle School Chorus, Middle School Show Choir, High School Chorus, and High School Show Choir. She was also the vocal music director of 18 musicals for the award winning Geneseo Drama Club. In addition, she was the advisor of the Geneseo Chapters of the National Honor Society and National Junior Honor Society. As high school vocal director, Chandra and her ensembles traveled to NYC several times, where they performed at such places as the Intrepid Sea, Air and Space Museum, and the Cathedral Church of Saint John the Divine. Locally, her students have also performed on 13WHAM, WROC, WBEE, and in the 2011 JCC production of Love, Luck and Laughter. In her new position at GCS, her 3-5 Grade Chorus recently performed a holiday concert at Strong Memorial Hospital. In her spare time, Chandra enjoys performing in musical theatre productions. She was one of the founders of the Livonia Community Players, and in addition to performing with this group, has also performed with the Geneseo Community Players, Webster Theatre Guild, and Blackfriars. Chandra earned a B.M. in Music Education from SUNY Fredonia, and a M.S. in Education from SUNY Brockport.
Jeremy Rath, Choral
Jeremy Rath (Choral Music) resides in Brockport and is the proud son of Pam and Tom Rath of Hamlin. In 2007, Jeremy earned his Bachelor of Science in Music Education (Organ and Voice) from Roberts Wesleyan College. He continued his studies at Roberts and received a Masters of Music in Music Education in 2012, graduating summa cum laude.
Rath currently teaches K-12 General and Choral Music at Elba Central School. At the Elementary level, Rath teaches K-6 General Music and directs the Elementary Chorus, a 4th-6th grade vocal ensemble. In the Jr. Sr. High School, he directs the High School Chorus (a 7th-12th grade vocal ensemble), and teaches voice lessons, a music class for Autistic students, and a Junior High Music in Our Lives course. When interest and time permits, he also directs a High School Glee Club as well as Womens’ and Mens’ choral ensembles. While at Elba, Rath has directed and assisted with many musicals, assemblies, and productions at all grade levels.
In addition to teaching at Elba Central, Rath has accompanied a number of All-County choirs in and surrounding Genesee County. This year he will accompany the Genesee-Wyoming High School All-County Chorus as well as the Erie Junior High All-County Chorus. This year will also mark his third year of providing piano accompaniment for the Pembroke High School musical productions.
Rath is a founding member and accompanist of the Kendall Community Chorus. He can also be found in Kendall playing organ and directing the choir at the Kendall Concordia Lutheran Church. Additionally, he plays organ and directs the choir at St. Paul Lutheran Church in Hilton. Jeremy enjoys being a part of music at the Genesee Country Village and Museum, where he sings in the Harmonics Society and offers informal recitals on historic instruments. He also instructs a number of private students on piano and organ.
Jeremy Rath is blessed and honored to be the recipient of this year’s RPO Award for Outstanding Choral Music Educator.
Kenneth Foster, Instrumental Music (Band)
Kenneth Foster (Instrumental Music – Band) teaches instrumental music at North St. Elementary School in Geneva. He earned his Bachelor of Music Education degree at The Crane School of Music at SUNY Potsdam and his Masters of Music in Saxophone Performance at the University of Nebraska at Lincoln. He also holds a Certificate of Advanced Study in Ed. Administration from SUNY Brockport. He began his career at the Schenevus UFSD teaching instrumental music grades 4–12. He spent fourteen years at the Waterloo Central School District, teaching instrumental and general music to grades 6–12. He served as middle school principal for four of those years. Ken was the principal of the Naples Jr. / Sr. High School for seven years and assisted with the Naples marching band. In his current position he has been an advocate for equity in access to the arts for all students regardless of financial status. At North Street, Ken directs the fourth and fifth grade bands. He has also started a fifth grade jazz band and combined fourth through eighth grade marching band. He maintains an active performing schedule with several groups, including the Greater Rochester Jazz Orchestra, Mainstream, and the Uniquely Different Ensemble.
Beth A. Remming, Instrumental Music (Strings)
Beth A. Remming (Instrumental Music – Strings) was born and raised in Rochester, NY. After attending Our Lady of Mercy High School, Beth earned a Bachelor of Music Education degree and a Certificate of Music in Special Education from SUNY Potsdam. She completed her Masters of Education degree at Nazareth College. For many years, Beth taught music for the Diocese of Rochester schools and is currently teaching strings at French Road Elementary School and Twelve Corners Middle School of Brighton Central School District. She also has a violin studio at the Hochstein School of Music and Dance. Beth is a member of the University of Rochester Symphony Orchestra (URSO) and of the Cordancia Chamber Ensemble. She also sings and plays electric violin with the acoustic group, “Lafayette.” In 2012, Beth was given the faculty service award from the Hochstein School of Music and Dance. Beth is also very proud of her four children--Andrew, Martin, Bridget, and Ian.
Rebecca Root Davis, Special Award
Rebecca Root Davis (Special Award) is the Instrumental and General Music teacher for grades 3–5 at South Seneca Elementary School in Interlaken, New York. Since joining the faculty at South Seneca a decade ago, she has created an inclusive band program, making “loaner” instruments available to every student by seeking and obtaining used instruments from around the Rochester and Finger Lakes areas. Her South Seneca Elementary Band students also present an annual “Coffee House/Talent Show” to raise money for new instruments. Student participation in the elementary band has increased to over 85% of the 4th and 5th grade enrollment and she has also augmented the program to include Jazz Band and Marching Band. Each year, Ms. Root Davis composes a new march for the Marching Band, which they perform in three local parades, serving the communities in their area. The South Seneca Elementary Marching Band has traveled as far as Holland, Michigan, where they participated in the Tulip Festival Kinder Parade.
Before beginning her public school teaching career at South Seneca, Ms. Root Davis performed as Principal Horn with the Rochester Philharmonic, the New Orleans Philharmonic, the Chautauqua Symphony, the Aspen Chamber Symphony, Central City Opera and the Chautauqua Opera, and as Third Horn with the Denver Symphony. She has served as adjunct faculty at Roberts Wesleyan College, Houghton College, Nazareth College, and as Horn Professor at the Chautauqua Music Festival. Many of her former students are now serving as professional musicians in orchestras and as teachers in colleges, universities, and public schools around the world. In December 2012, Ms. Root Davis presented a master class on “The Art of Teaching French Horn” for the New York State School Music Association Conference. Her South Seneca Horn Club, comprised of horn students in grades 4–12, performed her arrangements at the master class.