About the New England Music Festival Association (NEMFA)
The New England Music Festival Association has enjoyed a long and proud history of providing quality music performance opportunities for school-age singers, string and wind players and percussionists since 1928. The Festival has undergone many changes since that initial beginning, and as the process has been refined, the experience has become one that continues to attract students wishing to perform in a challenging and professional-like environment.
The process begins for the students as soon as the year’s Concert Festival has concluded. Students and their music teachers start examining the next year’s Solo List and find a selection that seems to fit the performing ability of the student. Then the process of practicing and preparing the selection starts for the next year’s Solo and Ensemble Festival performances. When completed, the students’ performance ratings are used to select the highest achievers to form a Wind Ensemble, Orchestra and Concert Chorus. These students are sent their music and spend hours preparing for the advent of rehearsals. Each year a different community in the six New England states hosts the Festival, housing students in local homes, and providing space and an environment that is conducive to quality music making. Conductors of national and international stature are contracted to lead these students in rehearsal and in the two Festival performances. The result is a high level of music making and a musical experience that will last a lifetime.
The first four New England Music Festivals, through 1931, were held in Boston and then continued to be held yearly until 1943, when the records simply state "WAR". In 1944, the Festival was "attempted", and in 1945 it was canceled due to "restrictions". The Festival resumed in 1946 and seems to have continued uninterrupted right up to the present. During those years, we have had some of the most outstanding and prestigious musicians in the country conduct our groups; as a matter of fact, some of them actually got their start by working with our students!
Orchestra conductors have included: Francis Findlay, Paul White, Irving Cheyette, Albert Wassell, Robert Sault, J. Leo Messier, Thomas Nassi, Paul Painter, David Robertson, Louis Wersen, D. Ray Yerger, Moshe Paranov, Guy Taylor, Marvin Rabin, Alan H. Bone, Artin Arslanian, Walter Eisenberg, Harold B. Weaver, Jon Borowitz, Alan Grishman, Vytautas Marijosius, Benjamin Zander, Victor Yampolsky, Charles Lichter, Max Culpepper, Larry Livingston, E. Wayne Abercrombie, Jack Heller, Pamela Gearhart, Philip Ventre, Carol Sykes, Emily Freeman-Brown, Paul Phillips, Manuel Alvarez, Peter Cokkinias, Nathan Gottschalk, Stanley DeRusha, Peter Sacco, Timothy Muffitt, James River-Jones, Daniel Harp, Ann Danis, Patrick Smith,Harry Davidson, John Eels, Daniel D’Addio, Federico Cortese, James Tapia, Ronald Feldman, Adam Glaser, Andrew King, and David Rudge .
Symphonic Band conductors have included: Paul Wiggin, Capt. Charles O’Neill, Albert Dorr, Raymond Leach, Alton Robinson, Stephen Farnum, Richard Otto, William D. Revelli, Frank Simon, Paul Van Bodegraven, L. Bruce Jones, Lee Chrisman, Keith Wilson, Al G. Wright, Dale Harris, Paul Yoder, Walter Beeler, Leonard B. Smith, Allan Gillespie, Frank Scimonelli, Donald Mattran, Donald Burns, Frank Battisti, Frederick Fennell, Willis Traphagan, Donald E. McGinness, Thomas Elliot, William Gaver, Walter Chesnut, Vaclav Nelhybel, Peter Demos, Harry Blake, Malcolm W. Rowell, Jr., Larry Rachleff, Nedo Pandolfi, Stanley DeRusha, Mark Scatterday, Ronald Socciarelli, Carl St. Clair, Gary Green, Jerry Junkin, Lt. Col. Steven Grimo, Jeffrey Renshaw, Gladys Stone Wright, H. Robert Reynolds, Michael J. Colburn, Charles Peltz, Curvin G. Farnham, George R. Bedell, Anthony J. Maiello, Allen McMurray, Virginia Allen, Kevin M. Geraldi, Richard Clary, Glen Adsit, Sarah McKoin, James Patrick Miller, Carolyn Barber, and Bradley Genevro .
Chorus conductors have included: Charles Woodbury, Walter Butterfield, Luther Churchill, Lara Hoggard, John Raymond, Morton Luvaas, Olaf C. Christiansen, Warner Larson, Don Craig, Moshe Paranov, Helen Hosmer, Gerald Mack, Allen Lannom, Ivan Trussler, Lorna Cooke de Varon, Aliapoulios Apostolis, Arpad Darazs, Carl Druba, Joseph Huszti, Thomas Vasil, Brock McElheran, Peter Bagley, Evelyn Davidson White, E. Wayne Abercrombie, Dennis Cox, Alexander Dashnaw, Rodney Eichenberger, Iwan Edwards, Robert Russell, Andre Thomas, Eph Ely, Patrick Gardner, Granville Oldham, James McCray, Aimee Beckmann-Collier, Paul E. Oakley, Ann Howard-Jones,Greg Funfgeld, Jerry Blackstone, Kenneth Fulton, Michelle Holt, Dan Gordon, Rebecca Reames, Paul Head, Rollo Dilworth, Daniel Gordon, and Sandra Snow .