Mission of the Performing and Visual Arts Hall of Fame
The mission of the BH-BL Performing and Visual Arts Hall of Fame is to recognize outstanding artists, musicians, and thespians who have made significant contributions to the BH-BL Fine Arts Program through their service, performance, dedication, commitment and accomplishments.
The purpose is to:
- Establish in our students a motivating influence to excel in Fine Arts as well as the community
- Foster Pride, promote talent, scholarship and citizenship in our school and community
- Promote the pride and tradition of BH-BL Art, Music, and Theatre
Candidates for membership in the BH-BL Performing and Visual Arts Hall of Fame shall be alumni (former BH-BL artists, musicians, and thespians) who are nominated. Follow this link to access the Hall of Fame nomination form, which is also available in the Fine Arts Office at the high school.
Criteria for selection may include:
- Graduated from BH-BL 10 or more years ago
- Had artwork accepted into and displayed at local, regional, and/or national exhibitions
- Was accepted into NYSSMA Conference All-State
- Participated in Area All-State, Suburban Council, and All-County music festivals
- Was a lead in numerous BH-BL Drama and/or Musical productions
- Has pursued a college degree in the Performing or Visual Arts
- Has pursued a career in the Performing or Visual Arts
- Mentor/Contributor who has given leadership, guidance, inspiration, innovation, time, talent, and/or resources, to the BH-BL Fine Arts program, its staff and students.
Hall of Fame Inductees
Kate Snow, Class of 1987
Inducted in 2023, Kate Snow earned her undergraduate degree from Cornell University, and holds a masters in foreign service from Georgetown University.
Kate is a television journalist for NBC News, serving as Senior National Correspondent to various NBC platforms, including Today, NBC Nightly News, Dateline NBC, and MSNBC. Snow also anchors the Sunday edition of NBC Nightly News, and frequently substitutes for the weekday and Saturday broadcast. Snow also previously hosted MSNBC Live.
Before joining NBC News in 2010, she was a co-anchor for the weekend edition of Good Morning America on ABC from 2004 to 2010. Snow had also appeared on its weekday edition and World News as a fill-in anchor and correspondent. She was also a correspondent for the NBC newsmagazine Rock Center with Brian Williams.
Todd Sisley, Class of 1978
Inducted in 2023, pianist Todd Sisley has distinguished himself in the field of accompanying and chamber music, having performed at such prestigious venues as New York’s Lincoln Center and Town Hall, the Tanglewood Music Festival, the Brisbane Biennial of Music (Australia), as well as in London, Amsterdam, Barcelona, Heidelberg, and Uruguay. In addition to a 30-year musical partnership with internationally acclaimed classical saxophonist Harry White, he has collaborated with cellist Carlos Prieto, sopranos Anne Azema and Lucy Shelton, the Chester String Quartet, New York Chamber Ensemble, American Chamber Opera, Circle Repertory Theatre, Lake George Opera Festival, as well as New York City’s La Gran Scena Opera Co., for which he was music director-pianist.
He accompanied actress Jean Stapleton in the New York premiere and tour of American composer Lee Hoiby’s chamber operas The Italian Lesson and Bon Appétit!, and led the premiere of Mr. Hoiby’s one-act opera This Is the Rill Speaking the following season.
Through the years, he has enjoyed collaborating on piano, harpsichord, and organ in regional performances with vocalists, instrumentalists, and choral organizations such as the Burnt Hills Oratorio Society (now Saratoga Voices), Saratoga Chamber Singers, and Musicians of Ma’alwyck, to name a few. He also has held church music positions in New York City, New Jersey, and the Capital District.
After graduating from Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake Senior High School in 1978, Todd earned a bachelor of fine arts degree from the State University of New York at Purchase, where he studied with pianist Seymour Bernstein, and a master’s degree in accompanying and chamber music from the University of Michigan, where he studied with Martin Katz. He was awarded two consecutive fellowships to study collaborative piano at the Tanglewood Music Center.
Having recently retired as editor of The American Organist magazine, the world’s most widely read monthly journal devoted to organ and choral music, Todd is the interim director of music at St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church, Albany, and resides in Old Chatham, N.Y., with his partner Chris Trombley.
Alexander Doig, Class of 2006
Inducted in 2023, Alex is currently Chief Operating Officer at SYNDUIT, a technology platform focused on creating content and content delivery.
After graduating from BHBL in 2006, Alex attended Pratt Munson in Utica, then Pratt Institute in Brooklyn. Alex’s college career included numerous awards and recognized projects, notably as a finalist in an international ad competition for Doritos, working with Brookhaven National Laboratory Physicists to create media on the STAR detector, and creating scientific event posters that were used in CBS Sitcom The Big Bang Theory.
Graduating with full honors from Pratt Institute in 2010, Alex lived in NYC and continued to pursue a freelance career in illustration and design, working on digital novels, trading card games, interactive children’s apps, comics, and more.
Since 2013 Alex has been at SYNDUIT – merging print, digital, and web media with technology to generate personalized content for thousands of businesses around the world. In 2020 Alex founded One Mile Hike, a multidisciplinary agency working with thought leaders and influencers.
Alex currently lives in rural CNY with his wife and 4 kids.
Harry Allen Fawcett (aka Allen Fawcett), Class of 1965
Harry, son of Howard and Ruth Fawcett and brother to Ralph, attended BH-BL public schools from Kindergarten through Senior year, beginning his professional show business career after graduation in summer stock musicals at the age of eighteen. For the next 54 years, Allen (Harry) has acted in: thirty-five national commercials; 4 Broadway musicals, including Richard Rogers’ “Rex” (1974), “King of Hearts” (1976), “Shenandoah” (1978), and concluded his stage career starring as “Joseph,” for Andrew Lloyd Webber, in the original Broadway production of “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat” (1981). Allen’s TV/Film roles include: Two day-time soap operas, “The Edge of Night” – Kelly McGrath (1980-1982) and “General Hospital” – Lars Hansen (1989-1991); Two CBS TV movies; And Dick Clark’s wildly popular lip-synch game show, “Puttin’ on the Hits” (1984-1989), for which Allen served as both writer and host for 134 half hour episodes.
In 1986, Allen moved behind the camera and co-authored the highly acclaimed how-to book, “KidBiz: How To Help Your Child Succeed In Show Business,” with legendary New York talent agent, Nancy Carson (Carson-Adler Agency). “KidBiz” was published by Warner Books.
As of 2022, Allen is still acting and recently played roles on “House of Cards” with Kevin Spacey (2018), “The Mare of Easttown” (2021) with Kate Winslet, and “FBI MOST WANTED” (2022).
Allen holds a B.A. in English from American University. He believes his early life as a BH-BL ‘Spartan’ helped inspire his success. He hopes his achievements will serve as an inspiration to all BH-BL performing artists who awaken every morning believing that “Any Dream Will Do.” Break a leg. Go Spartans!
Ron Partch, Class of 1973
Music has always been the focus of my life. The exceptional music program at BH-BL was the inspiration for my decision to pursue a trombone performance degree. The Band and Jazz Band ensembles were widely considered among the very best in our region. I have fond memories of performing a Jazz Trombone feature at the NYS Music teachers conference in 1971 with the BH-BL Jazz Ensemble.That same school year the Jazz Ensemble won Best in Class at The Berkeley School of Music High School Jazz Band Competition. Thomas Brown was our Band and Jazz Band director. He was a gifted composer and arranger and was an accomplished vibraphonist. He was instrumental, no pun intended, in encouraging me to pursue a career in music.
After graduating from Temple University, studying with Philadelphia Orchestra members, and then completing musical instrument repair training, I settled in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. The music scene there was vibrant and I had no trouble combining trombone playing and repair work. I performed with the Buffalo Philharmonic, the Hamilton Philharmonic, the Toronto Symphony, the National Ballet of Canada, and the Canadian Opera Company, along with various Broadway shows and recording work. I’ve had a diverse and rich performing career.
During this time I also developed a reputation as a repair technician for both professional and amateur players and have been repairing and modifying brass instruments for musicians in most of North America’s professional orchestras and recording studios. I also have had a long standing design input with Yamaha Music Corporation; many of my design ideas and several entire instruments are in production today.
My other interests include collecting vinyl records, I have nearly four thousand. In the warmer months, I spend much of my time sailing on Lake Ontario.
Jennifer Goodwin Byrd, class of 2000
Jennifer Goodwin Byrd can be described as a Renaissance Woman, excelling in the arts and academia through her life. Growing up, she has always been known as the class artist, held over a 90% GPA and received multiple awards for her paintings and illustrations. Her most notable high school achievement was when her terracotta sculpture of Abraham Lincoln was chosen from an art class project to be professionally bronzed at the Seward Johnson Atelier. The finished piece became a part of the permanent display in the high school atrium. Jennifer was also voted “most artistic” in her class.
During her third year at Rochester Institute of Technology, Jennifer won a competition to design a large fiberglass tiger statue named “SpiRIT of Exploration” as a part of the community-wide Animal Scramble in Rochester, NY. The idea behind her design was the marriage between art and technology. The tiger went on permanent display above the entrance to Gracie’s Dining Hall on campus.
Although Jennifer has 15 years of web design & development under her belt, she never stopped creating music, animation and sculptures. In fact, one of her sculptures from her series, “Hats on Horses” was showcased in Saratoga Arts in Saratoga Springs, NY in the 2000’s. As of 2022, Jennifer has taken a hiatus from web development and is currently focusing on her love of sculpture and animation. She has a shop on Etsy.com called “Jenny’s Creature Shop”. Some of her work can be viewed on Instagram by the same name.
Lawrence Merritt (Maranville), Class of 1955
Lawrence Merritt (Maranville) spent his BH-BL days in the Drama Club, Art Club, Glee Club, and performing with Schenectady Light Opera Company. He was awarded a Gold Medal in Public Speaking.
Larry’s career as dancer, singer, actor spanned many genres: Eight Broadway shows, TV, film and nightclubs, including NO STRINGS, APPLAUSE, PIPPIN and EVITA, to mention a few. Lawrence appeared on TV specials for Kraft Music Hall, Ann-Margret, Anne Bancroft and many Ed Sullivan shows (live, of course!) He has performed many Night Club acts with Juliet Prowse, Ann-Margret, Raquel Welch’s World Tour, partnering with Ginger Rogers for a year and a half, including performances at London’s Palladium Theatre.
He studied at the British American Drama Academy at Oxford University in England. After a car accident involving a spinal cord injury and learning to walk again, Larry discovered his voice in acting, doing many major roles regionally and then for the last twenty or so years in New York. A number of years ago he became involved with Theatre Breaking Through Barriers, doing many varied readings and appearing in their 2013 ten-minute play festival, which was a wonderful experience.
His hope is to continue doing good work along this amazing journey. https://www.broadwayworld.com/people/Lawrence-Merritt/
Susan Boyajian, Class of 1981
Susan Boyajian has spent 25 years in Hollywood wearing many hats. After graduating from NYU / Tisch School of Performing Arts, she headed to Los Angeles where she studied and performed comedy at the renowned Groundlings Theater. She did various film and TV roles (best known for her recurring role as Mrs. Williams on the Fox show “Everybody Hates Chris,” but she ultimately found a passion in the voice-over world.
Sue loves anything with comedy and heart, and can do hundreds of voices and accents, so the voice-over world was a natural transition. Most notably, she played Patrick’s mom on “Sponge Bob Square Pants,” Mrs. Nasenpickle on “Squirrel Boy,” and Germama on “Kirby Buckets.” In addition to acting, Sue also directs animated films such as “Guardians of Oz” and “Monsters Island.” After years in front of the microphone, Sue learned enough to step behind it and start her own loop group. She’s been lucky enough to work on projects like “Bad Moms,” “Edge of Seventeen,” “American Made,” “Better Things,”(FX) “WACO,”(Paramount TV) “Scream,” (MTV) and the Oscar winner best screenplay “Get Ou.”
Sue believes in sharing her knowledge and passion. That philosophy led her to the Voice Over Connection — a V/O school for adults and kids. Sue LOVES teaching and running the school and believes it is just another extension of her acting talents. Those acting talents, by the way, began back in high school, where she starred in productions of “Once Upon A Mattress,” “Oklahoma,” “Music Man” and “Jack and the Beanstalk.”
It is with great respect and gratitude that Sue would like to thank Mrs. Strack who always believed in her and encouraged her love of acting. http://www.susanboyajian.com/
Col. Thomas Palmatier, Class of 1972
Colonel Thomas Palmatier culminated a distinguished military career spanning more than 37 years as the Leader and Commander of The United States Army Band “Pershing’s Own,” and was the senior musician in the U.S. Armed Forces. Previously he commanded the Musical Ambassadors of the Army, The U.S. Army Field Band, being the first Officer to command both of the Army’s top premier bands. Other postings included the founding Commandant (dean equivalent) of the U.S. Army School of Music, Commander and Conductor of the U.S. Army Europe Band and Chorus, Commander and Conductor of The U.S. Continental Army Band, and Associate Bandmaster of The U.S. Army Band “Pershing’s Own” where he directed The U.S. Army Herald Trumpets and The Army Brass Band.
His academic credentials include a Doctor of Music degree (Honorary) from the State University of New York, a Master of Strategic Studies degree from the U.S. Army War College, a Master of Fine Arts degree in Music Education from Truman State University, and a Bachelor of Music Education degree from the State University of New York at Potsdam’s Crane School of Music. He also received that institution’s Minerva Award for lifetime professional achievement. Military awards include the Army Distinguished Service Medal, three awards of the Legion of Merit, and seven Meritorious Service Medals. He was the first Army Music Officer to earn both Parachutist and Air Assault badges and earned the right to wear a Combat Service Identification Badge for service in El Salvador and Iraq.
Currently, he is an Adjunct Associate Professor of Music at Old Dominion University and active clinician. https://www.thomaspalmatier.com/
Stephen Kostyniak, Class of 1991
Stephen Kostyniak joined the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra as Associate Principal Horn in 2006 after being Associate Principal Horn in the Utah Symphony. By the time Kostyniak graduated from high school he had performed in major music centers in the U.S. and Europe, including the Mozarteum in Salzburg, the Musikverein in Vienna, the Tanglewood Music Center, the Kennedy Center and Tchaikovsky Hall in Leningrad. He also performed in Moscow, Prague, Budapest, Copenhagen, Stockholm and throughout Austria and Norway.
At age 17, Kostyniak entered The Juilliard School in New York City where he performed with the Philharmonic, the New Jersey and New Haven, Connecticut Symphonies, recorded with the Orchestra of St. Luke’s, and toured with the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra. On tour with the Pacific Music Festival Orchestra in 1995 he had the privilege of performing in the International Peace Concert broadcast worldwide from Hiroshima, Japan as part of the ceremony in memoriam of the 50th anniversary of the atomic bombing of that city.
After earning his Bachelor of Music degree, Kostyniak spent one season as acting Second Horn in the San Antonio Symphony. In 1996 he joined the Utah Symphony, with which he recorded and performed for 10 seasons, including at the Opening Ceremonies of the 2002 Salt Lake City Winter Olympics alongside such artists as Yo-Yo Ma, Sting, and the Dixie Chicks. He has also been an active studio musician, performing the music for ABC’s Wide World of Sports and numerous theatrical and made-for-TV movies. In addition to his performances with the PSO, Kostyniak is a conductor of the Pittsburgh Horn Club. https://pittsburghsymphony.org/pso_home/biographies/musicians/kostyniak-stephen
Paul Harding, Class of 1994
After high school Paul Harding went to the School of Visual and Performing Arts at Syracuse University and graduated with a degree in illustration in 1998. Hired in his final weeks of school, he moved to Manhattan to take a job as an interactive designer with iXL, New York. A couple of years later Paul became a Design Director of Motion Graphics for a smaller interactive firm. In August 2001, the company closed. It was fortunate for him because the office was located on Wall Street, just a few blocks from the World Trade Center. And so began Paul’s sixteen-year freelance journey designing and sculpting collectibles for DC Comics, Marvel Comics, Star Wars, and more. http://hardingstudios.com/
Andy Curlowe (Wojik), Class of 2002
Andy Curlowe’s artwork deals with the juxtaposition of nature and industry. Influenced by the mountainous landscape of his childhood, Cleveland’s industrial shadow and the sublime power of nature to both create and destroy, Curlowe’s paintings are a balance of structured lines and the ambiguity of billowing smoke. These works explore the blurred boundaries of natural forms and planes encountering the sharp geometry of human calculation. Geo-forms saturated in color, dance and grow amongst natural forms, which flatten as they expand. Lines streak in and out of focus inferring an architectural vernacular. Each line narrates the illusion- all while emphasizing the void. As society struggles, so does nature, yet we are one and the same. As humans, we struggle in vain to separate and distinguish ourselves from nature, these paintings seek to demonstrate the destruction, innovation and layered heritage of our landscape.
Raised by a wildly independent and creative mother, Andy and his sister were encouraged to wander the woods and paint teepees made from old bed sheets. Andy studied painting and drawing at Montserrat College of Art in Beverly Massachusetts. Soon after graduation, Andy and his wife Laura moved to Cleveland Ohio, in search of affordable living and studio space. There they discovered a dynamic and approachable art scene. After living and working in Cleveland since 2006, Andy feels a strong connection to his adopted city. Andy’s work references the landscapes of both his present and past. http://curlowe.com/home.html
Brian Czach, Class of 1994
Nashville session drummer Brian Czach (pronounced “Zack”) has devoted his life to being supremely creative and versatile with a pair of drumsticks. Born to a musical family in Schenectady NY, he has experience playing in every imaginable musical setting, from live shows, film & TV scores, artist sessions, tours, dance bands, and live theater, Brian’s musical experience has taken him around the world many times, and is vastly extensive.
Currently playing 3x/week at Skull’s Rainbow Room in Music City, Brian is an in-demand studio session & touring drummer based in Nashville, TN. Brian leads a tribute to Miles Davis called MILEStones which plays monthly in Nashville. He has toured/performed/recorded with: Jimmy Castor & The Bunch, Clayton Anderson, Guthrie Trapp, Dave Roe (Johnny Cash), Kenny Vaughan (Marty Stuart), Rick Monroe, Joshua Jones (Steel Magnolia), Dalton Gray, Scott Van Zen, Tony DeSare, Joe Piscopo, Martin Nievera, Clint Holmes, Rick Faugno, Zach Ryan, Amelia Eisenhauer Band, & Brynn Marie among many others. Production credits include: Mannheim Steamroller, Legendary Ladies of Country, Unraveling the Wilburys, Presley, Perkins, Lewis & Cash, Australian Bee Gees Show, You’ve Got A Friend, & Pin Up, as well as recording Film/TV credits “Gigolo” on Showtime Network & “I Am Rebel” on NGC.
Recording credits include Stacy Antonel, Dalton Gray, Joel Ferguson, Tony DeSare, Mike Frost, Justin Mather, Jeff Greenleaf, Guthrie Trapp, Steve Rutledge, Zach Ryan, Ben Hale and many more.
Brian holds endorsements with Istanbul Agop cymbals, Canopus snare drums & wires, Aquarian drumheads, Innovative Percussion drumsticks, and Humes & Berg Cases.
Felicia Benson-Kraft, Class of 1982
Felicia Benson-Kraft has a theatre career which spans many decades. Her education in theater started in the very halls of BH-BL where she made lasting friendships and cemented her love of the stage. Felicia was in several clubs, and was involved in all theatre and variety shows. Felicia would play Haversham/Maple Dupre in “What the Butler Saw”, Passionella in “Apple Tree”, and Lucy in “You’re a Good Man”. Her love for performing and the arts started with two of her teachers, Tim Koch and Ellie Strack.
Felicia attended SUNY at Albany where she graduated in 1987 with her BA in Theatre/Fine Arts. Felicia became one of the founding members of a SUNY Alumni theatre company, the A/NY Theatre company established in Manhattan, performing original works and well known plays. Felicia also studied the art of stand-up comedy and appeared in numerous comedy clubs throughout NYC including Don’t Tell Mama and Roses Turn.
In 1991, Felicia joined ABC News, becoming an Operations Manager on the Newsgathering Logistics Desk, working with crews for World News, Good Morning America, 20/20 and Nightline. Her love for broadcasting was first awoken by her teacher at BH-BL, Dan DiNicola.
Felicia’s theatre journey has led her to become a co-founder of the Hackensack Theatre
Company in Hackensack, NJ. The company has been running for 15 years and has a large repertoire of plays, musicals, and showcases. Felicia has been a producer, director and actor.
Her greatest joy is still her family. Husband, Jeff, daughter, Cassie and her husband, Abdul, son, Zachery and his girlfriend, Minyara but mostly, her grandson, Hunter.
Maureen Jeram, Class of 1989
Maureen Jeram finished her Bachelor of Fine Arts in painting at the Rhode Island School of Design in Providence Rhode Island, before moving to Italy to research classical painting. In 1998, she received a Fulbright grant in Florence, Italy for a project on contemporary frescoes. She moved to Berlin in 2000 and received her masters degree studying with the German artist Georg Baselitz at the Universität der Kunst. Through the use of staging and found gestures, her painting focuses on revealing underlying tensions between figures and objects establishing a pictorial space where human emotions begin to become tangible. Her paintings are exhibited in Europe and USA . She lives and works in Berlin.
Paul Suda, Class of 2003
Paul Suda (’03) was heavily involved in BH-BL arts; he played 2nd chair clarinet in Concert Band, sang Baritone in the Chorus (and in the 2002-2003 New York All-State and All-Eastern conference choruses), played bari sax in the jazz and pep bands, started an a capella group with some pals (Too Cool For Instruments), and performed in 8 high school drama productions along with numerous community theater plays in the Capital Region (his favorite role being Pat Gilbert in State Fair in 2002). Paul was also on the swimming and diving team, a 4-time varsity letter winner and scholar athlete.
Attending Emerson College in Boston and majoring in Acting, he graduated with honors in spring 2007. From 2007 through 2010, he worked for Medieval Times in Chicago, where he learned horsemanship and practiced stage fighting and stunt falls.
Since summer 2010, Paul has lived and worked in Los Angeles; his TV appearances include Deadliest Warrior, Full Metal Jousting, The Last Ship, General Hospital, Sam & Cat, and The Real O’Neals. In 2016 he produced Tower of Joy (a Game of Thrones FanFilm), and has spent the past two years writing two feature screenplays. He and his fiancé Anneliese are thrilled to be getting married in Saratoga in October 2019.
Joel Ossenfort, Class of 1976
Joel Ossenfort was born in Schenectady and graduated from BH-BL High School in 1976. He went on to college at the School of the Museum of Fine Arts and Tufts University in Boston, receiving a Bachelor’s degree in fine art. After college he designed toys for The Toy Works in Middle Falls, NY. He moved to NYC and continued graduate studies in set design, and painting at Parsons School of Design, and The Studio and Forum of Painting and Set Design. After designing sets for off Broadway Theater productions for a couple of years and working at Evergreen Decorative Painting company, he then worked on two John Sayles movies: Matewan 1987, and Eight Men Out 1988. In 1989 he got into Local 829 United Scenic Artists Union, and has continued to work on many movies,TV commercials, TV shows and theater productions.
Some of the films he has worked on are: Mr. Wonderful 1993, Sabrina 1994, Sleepers 1995, The Mirror Has Two Faces 1996, The Stepford Wives 2004, War of the Worlds 2005, The Interpreter 2006,The Devil Wears Prada 2006, The Departed 2006 , Fur 2007, The Bourne Ultimatum 2008, Burn After Reading 2008.
Some TV commercials he has worked on are Geico, TD Bank. Budlight, L’Oréal, FX,Macintosh, Macy’s, Maybelline.
TV shows include: Law And Order SVU, Molly Brown, She’s Gotta Have It, Elementary, Person of Interest, The Affair, The Path, FBI, The Village.
Currently he has been working on a HBO series in Poughkeepsie, NY featuring Mark Ruffalo called, I Know This Much is True.
Joel lives in Brooklyn NY with his wife and daughter.
Doug Sertl, Class of 1979
Born in Schenectady on April 23rd, 1961, Doug Sertl was handed his first trombone at age 10 because “that’s what we’re short of in the band”. By the time he was in high school he was taking private lessons and by his senior year he was involved in local freelance work in local pit orchestras and performing with top name entertainers at SPAC. Mentored by Tom Brown, Doug graduated from BH-BL in 1979 while continuing private lessons with Don Paulson.
He attended the Crane School of Music in Potsdam, New York from 1979 to 1980, when he got a call to go on the road with Paul Anka. For the next few years he traveled and toured with various Pop and jazz singers and then returned to New York’s Hudson Valley.
His first album as a leader, Doug Sertl & The Jazz Menagerie, was released in 1983 and received a 4.5 star review in Downbeat magazine. This began a 20-year association with legendary baritone saxophonist Nick Brignola with whom Doug would record a half dozen albums.
Throughout the 80s and 90s Doug continued to build a reputation as one of the best jazz, freelance and studio trombonists releasing big band and small group albums, and performing at jazz festivals, colleges and with his quartet and quintet. He’s recorded and/or performed with artists including Tony Bennett, Paul Anka, Andy Williams, Sammy Davis, Jr, Mark Murphy, Kenny Barron, Freddie Hubbard, Dizzy Gillespie, Joe Lovano, Randy Brecker, Phil Woods, Slide Hampton, Nick Brignola, and Carl Fontana.
Doug resides in the Hudson Valley and continues freelance, recording and guest artist appearances. New albums are being released and in production. He is the Artistic Director of The Bop Island Big Band, made up of 16 of today’s leading studio and jazz musicians.
Kristen Hansen, Class of 1988
Kristen S. Hansen is currently a Senior Lecturer in Music in the Schwob School of Music at Columbus State University (Georgia) and at CSU has taught horn, music theory, music history and humanities. She holds the DMA and the MM in Horn Performance and Literature from the Eastman School of Music and the Bachelor of Music summa cum laude from St. Olaf College. Her teachers in horn have included Peter Kurau, Kendall Betts, and Verne Reynolds. She has taught and performed at the Kendall Betts Horn Camp, and has appeared as a Regional Artist and a lecturer at annual conventions of the International Horn Society and the Southeast Horn Workshop. S
he was a founding member of the Barry Tuckwell Institute and for ten years held the position of second horn with the Columbus Symphony Orchestra. Dr. Hansen also founded the performing Baroque Consortium at CSU, as well as re-creating a 17th-century masque with students and community performers. She has served several times as a faculty member or site director for study abroad programs in Oxford, Copenhagen, and Paris.
She has authored an undergraduate theory text (A Plaine and Easy Guide to Music Theory), now associated with Artusi’s online theory platform; a short text on Wellness for Musicians; she also assisted in the 2018 publication of Horns of the Bate from Oxford University Press.
Hansen now teaches online humanities courses and coordinates academic scheduling and advising for CSU’s Schwob School of Music, while also acting as Minister in Music at First Lutheran Church in Nashville where she has also joined the group Early Music City as a collaborating member.
Jeremy Hansen, Class of 1994
Dr. Jeremy C. Hansen is the professor of horn at Tennessee Technological University, a position he has held since 2007. In addition to horn, he teaches music theory, aural training, chamber music and acoustics. He is the principal horn with the Bryan Symphony and hornist with the Cumberland Wind Quintet. He holds the degree Doctor of Musical Arts in horn performance and pedagogy from the University of Iowa, Master of Music in Horn Performance and Literature from the Eastman School of Music, and the Bachelor of Music degrees in horn performance and education from St. Olaf College. Dr. Hansen’s doctoral thesis analyzed the works for horn and piano of Paul Hindemith, connecting to the pedagogy of post-tonal works. He has formerly held positions at Eastern Illinois University and Columbus State University, and is a past member of the Quad Cities Symphony and the Terre Haute Symphony. He performs regularly at the Southeast Horn Workshop and hosted the event with his horn studio in 2012. Dr. Hansen is an avid fan of diverse solo horn literature and is a specialist in the performance of natural horn.
Christianne Smith, Class of 1991
In 2001, Christianne L. Smith established Designsmith Studio, a multidisciplinary design firm specializing in the development of graphic images and materials to support product/company branding, print, web, and architectural design.
Prior to establishing Designsmith Studio, Christianne served as a senior designer and art director at Fassino Design in Boston, where she managed a number of award winning programs for several biotechnology companies, industry organizations, and financial institutions, as well as universities and major medical centers. Prior to joining Fassino Design in 1998, Christianne was a senior designer at Chermayeff & Geismar in New York, where she developed identity programs and collateral materials for a number of major performing arts clients and corporations, including the International Society for Performing Arts, Lincoln Center Programs, Mobil Oil, Alvin Ailey Dance Company, National Building Museum, New 42nd Street Inc., New York Public Library, World Policy Journal and ShowTime. Christianne also collaborated with several New York graphic design studios (Frankfurt Balkind Partners, Inc., Carbone Smolan Associates, Vignelli Associates, Troller Associates) to create campaigns for The San Francisco Ballet, Knight Ridder, PBS, and Mustang Jeans, to name a few.
For nearly five years, Christianne has taught graphic design at the Massachusetts College of Art in Boston, Massachusetts, and has taught at the College of Saint Rose in Albany, New York since 2001. Courses include Intro to Graphic Design, Typography, Graphic Design Applications, Design In The Real World, and Synthesis of Typography & Photographic Image. She studied graphic design and communications at Alfred University, where she earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree. Christianne has won numerous honors and awards for her work, including the Mobil Oil Award of Merit and an honorary showing at The Albany Museum, NY. On multiple occasions, she has been named ‘Best of Graphic Design’ in Metroland Newspaper.
Christopher Howard, Class of 2004
Christopher Howard recently completed his fourth US tour with the Broadway show “Anastasia” as Dance Captain and male swing. Previously spending two years on the road with the 1st National Tour of “An American In Paris” as Resident Dance Supervisor, Dance Captain, and Fight Captain, Christopher is now a freelance artist, teacher, and group fitness instructor. He has also traveled with “The Phantom of the Opera” (Assistant Dance Captain, Swing), “Billy Elliot” (Older Billy), and “A Chorus Line” (Larry) as well as dancing for Dayton Ballet and performing with Celebrity Cruise Lines.
Regionally, Christopher has worked at Capital Repertory Theatre in “The Full Monty” (Keno, Dance Captain) and Paper Mill Playhouse in their recent production of “Cinderella” (Dance Captain). He has also had extensive teaching experience at numerous accredited dance schools, universities, and companies nationwide. He has taught six years for Broadway Connection, was twice invited to be an instructor for Playhouse Square’s Broadway Summer Camp in Cleveland, Ohio, and has been a guest artist for USC’s Kaufman School of Dance, Wright State University, the Dayton Ballet Academy, University at Buffalo, and the Greater Lansing Ballet Company, among many others. Christopher’s training includes a BFA in Music Theatre and a BA in Dance from SUNY Buffalo and he was a scholarship student to the world-renowned Joffrey Ballet School in New York City.
At Burnt Hills – Ballston Lake high school, Christopher was a consistent member of chorus, band, and Select Choir and was a frequent NYSSMA participant, going on to sing for both All-State and All-Eastern chorus festivals. His noteworthy performances while at BH-BL include “Anything Goes,” “State Fair,” “Into the Woods,” and the memorable “Singin’ in the Rain,” featuring a real raining set on stage! Locally he also sang for Albany Pro Musica and was in numerous productions with Schenectady Light Opera Company.
Jill Nyhan Zygo, Class of 1997
In high school, Jill acted in all four musicals, was captain of the field hockey team, and was student body Vice President. She attended SUNY Geneseo where she was captain of her division III field hockey team. She graduated with honors, earning a degree in Theatre with a minor in Musical Theatre.
Jill has been a professional performer since she was sixteen years old, touring to 49 of the 50 states singing and acting. A highlight for Jill was performing at Proctor’s Theatre as Ado Annie in the first national tour of the Broadway musical Oklahoma! Her portrayal of Fanny Brice in Funny Girl earned Jill an AriZoni Award for Best Actress.
While living in NYC, she was a founding member of the Child Guardian Union on Broadway where she worked on the productions of ONCE, ANNIE and LES MISERABLES. Now, Jill has returned home to Burnt Hills where she has continued teaching and nurturing her love of theatre and music in the Capital District. Jill is currently working at Saratoga Performing Arts Center as the Education Program Manager. Her job is to introduce the Classical Arts to the youth of today and to help cultivate a love and appreciation for music and dance.
Josh Preseissen, Class of 1994
While working toward a BA in Art Illustration at the Fashion Institute of Technology, Josh Presseisen and his indie band, Marumari, signed with MCA Universal/Zero Hour records. Marumari was featured in many magazines, on MTV and in various TV shows and commercials. Marumari toured nationally and internationally and was invited to play in multiple festivals. Alternative Press Magazine gave Marumari 5 stars for The Wolves Hollow Album. Spin Magazine named Marumari one of the Best Laptop albums of 2000.
Back to Art. Josh’s 3D artwork won First Place for Best 3D Rendering from Big Kahuna Awards. Josh also won First Place for Best Video in DV Magazine and Second Place in the Story Telling category for 3D Magazine. In 2000, Josh was the Art Director at Neoscape, a 3D architectural rendering studio in Boston, where he directed a project that received an Emmy Award Nomination.
Josh created the video game Ravensword, and subsequently started his company called Crescent Moon Games. He creates, develops and publishes video games and has won various gold awards and was nominated for Best Publisher 2010-2015 by Pocket Gamer Awards. Morphite received the Gamer Gold and Apple ‘Game of the Day’ Awards. His company has released three number one role playing games on IOS, the number one game on iPad and has won Editors Choice Awards from Apple with games featured in the Apple stores.