Catskill Symphony Orchestra happy to be back in the ‘cabaret’


Tickets available now for the gala on March 26

Pandemic restrictions have prohibited it, but this year the Catskill Symphony Orchestra picks up where it left off and presents its annual fundraiser for the Cabaret Concert and Guest Conductor Competition with headliner Mandy Harvey. on Saturday, March 26 at SUNY Oneonta’s Alumni Field House.

They do it with flair, of course – presenting the same program they had planned for Cabaret 2020 which was canceled by COVID closures just two days before its performance. CSO Executive Director Cassandra Miller said the event marks a new and special rebirth for the Orchestra.

“This is the first time the entire symphony will be together for performance in two years,” she said. “We will have the full band of over 50 musicians on the same stage, and this is the first time the new Maestro will lead the band as one.”

Maestro Maciej Zoltowski has become the CSO’s new conductor for its 2021-22 season.

“This is an event the community looks forward to, not only to hear our awesome orchestra perform popular music with a headliner, but also because people love the guest conductor competition,” said Sarah Patterson , president of the board of directors of the CSO.

This year’s guest conductor nominees: Dr. Tracy Allen, Dean of SUNY Oneonta (“The Geologist”), Matt Grady, Co-Owner of Stagecoach Coffee (“The Geek”) and former Oneonta Executive Transit Paul Patterson (“The Fleetmeister”). Whoever of the three raises the most funds for the Orchestra wins the privilege of conducting the Cabaret finale, “The Stars and Stripes Forever.”

“People love competition,” Ms. Miller said. “The contestants use all kinds of creativity to craft their pitch in an attempt to win the conductor’s baton for this final. It’s really fun!”

The annual fundraiser draws large crowds every year, and Ms. Miller said the CSO will take careful precautions this year to follow public health protocol. As of press time, she said they plan to require guests to wear masks during the event and will distribute tables throughout the Field House – accommodating fewer guests but acknowledging social distancing requirements .

A silent auction begins the evening at 6 p.m. with Oneonta radio host Leslie Ann Parmerter as emcee, with the concert beginning at 7 p.m. with a performance of Slavic Dances by Dvorak and A Night in Venice Overture by Strauss. The guest conductor candidates make their final calls before intermission, followed by the second half of the concert featuring jazz-pop singer Mandy Harvey; she will sing popular songs ranging from standards (“In The Wee Small Hours of the Morning”) to contemporary classics like “Creep” by Radiohead, backed by her band and the orchestra.

Ms. Harvey won the gold buzzer on America’s Got Talent on the popular show 12and season, an inspirational speaker who lost her residual hearing at the age of 19. She travels the world performing her original music and presenting her never giving up story.

Tickets for the event are $50 and include the concert and light refreshments. Visit for more information and tickets and/or to vote for guest conductor nominees.


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