Guest conductors, directors to highlight Music Festival

17 years ago

   FORT FAIRFIELD, Maine – Band and chorus students from throughout the region will perform at 3 p.m. Saturday at the All-Aroostook Music Festival to be held in the Fort Fairfield Middle-High School gymnasium.

    This year’s guest conductors and directors include:
• Craig Skeffington, who will be the High School All-Aroostook Band guest conductor. Skeffington has been the band director at South Portland High School for the past 12 years. His performing groups have won top honors at numerous jazz festivals during that time, including the Maine State Jazz Festival, the Berklee College of Music Festival, and MusicFest Orlando. In 2003, Skeffington was awarded Music Educator of the Year by the Maine Music Educators Association. He has been Maine’s Jazz Activities vice president, as well as its Instrumental Jazz Chair. He is currently president of the Maine Band Directors’ Association.
As a New England area trumpet player, Skeffington has a wide variety of performance credits. These include working with Natalie Cole, Barry Manilow, the Glenn Miller Band and touring with the Artie Shaw Orchestra. As a member of the New Hampshire-based Seacoast Big Band, Skeffington has performed with artists such as Bobby Shew, Louis Bellson, Bob Mintzer, Frank Foster and Bob Florence. As a composer and arranger, his pieces have appeared in the NYSSMA manual, as well as the IAJE Journal. Groups ranging from middle school jazz bands to college and military bands have performed his music. Skeffington currently resides in South Portland with his wife, Carrie, and their two daughters, Hannah and Molly.
• Erin Lowell, who will be the All-Aroostook High School Chorus guest director. Lowell graduated from the University of Maine in 1988 with a bachelor’s degree in music education. She studied conducting with Dr. Denis Cox and voice with Nancy Ogle. She has been the chorus teacher at Noble High School since 1993.
At Noble, she directs three choirs, Chorale, Treble Choir and Chamber Singers, in addition to teaching Music Appreciation and Guitar. In 2001, the Chamber Singers were awarded a Gold Medal at the Heritage Festival in Boston. They have also performed at the Maine Music Educator’s Association Conference.
Lowell has served on the board of the Maine Music Educator’s Association and has held several leadership positions with the District 1 Music Educators. She has also presented a number of workshops for educators around the state. Lowell is currently the president-elect of the Maine Chapter of the American Choral Director’s Association.
Lowell has sung with the Choral Arts Society of Maine under the direction of Dr. Robert Russell and the Portland Community Chorus with Rob Westerberg. In her spare time, Lowell enjoys gardening, horseback riding and renovating her 200-year-old farmhouse in Lebanon.
• Brad Ciechomski, who will be the All-Aroostook Middle School Band guest director. He is currently the director of bands at Harrison Middle School in Yarmouth. He conducts five concert bands and three jazz bands. Ciechomski received his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the University of New Hampshire, where he studied with Dave Seiler, Mark Devoto, Andrew Boyson Jr., Michael Annicchiarico and Mark DeTurk. He has been commissioned by Central College, Pella, Iowa, and his piece for soloist and band, Generto, was chosen to be showcased at MENC’s national conference in Minneapolis. Ciechomski’s fanfare for concert band, Microburst, is also published by Neil A. Kjos Music Co.
Aside from composing, Ciechomski is active in New England as a clinician, adjudicator and guest conductor at music festivals and competitions. Along with fellow jazz educators in Maine, he has refined jazz auditions at the state level. He also likes to take is boat out in the Casco Bay.
A performer at heart, Ciechomski is busy playing drums with local, regional and national artists in the greater New England area. He lives in Portland with his bass-playing wife and two musical daughters.
• Adam Scarpone, who will be the All-Aroostook Middle School Chorus guest director. He is the director of choirs at Marshwood Junior High School in Eliot, and currently directs chorus, chamber choir and faculty choir. During his five years at Marshwood, his choruses have had the honor of participating in performances with the South Berwick Community Choir, and Portsmouth music has led him to such positions as choral manager for the York County Junior Music Festival, and director of Chamber Music at MSYM, a summer music program for junior high and high school students.
Scarpone was recently invited to conduct for the District VI Middle Level Honors Chorus. He is an active member in the MMEA and the Maine ACDA. He received his bachelor of music education degree from the University of Maine in 2003.
Tickets, which are $3 for children, $4 for adults and $10 for families, will be available at the door or from schools whose music students are participating in the Festival.