I’m originally from Savannah, NY, which is a small town right between Rochester and Syracuse. Almost my entire upper-level education has been in the arts–specifically vocal performance and arts administration.
I went to school for vocal performance. I got my Bachelor’s degree at SUNY Oneonta, but before I ended up there, I went to Monroe Community College where I was trained by Eastman professors. Eastman and Juilliard are always competing for the top ranking in the country for performance so I was very lucky in my training there. After I completed my undergraduate studies, I decided I didn’t want to be a performer and always competing for my next job, so I went into the administrative side and received my Master’s Degree in Arts Administration from Drexel University. While in that program, I met the Executive Director for the Erie Philharmonic and received my first job in Erie working for the orchestras, which ultimately led me to my job here.
I moved to the West side of Binghamton in May 2014. While I wasn’t born or raised in Broome County, working and living here the last few years as Executive Director for the Binghamton Philharmonic has been very rewarding. In a region of around 250,000 people, to have a professional orchestra that is the quality of a $500 million orchestra, is fantastic. When I came for my visit before accepting the position, I attended a concert, and the quality of music performed right here at the Binghamton Forum was of the highest caliber for an orchestra of our budget size.
We’re very lucky to have the Binghamton Philharmonic and I’m benefitting from the Philharmonic being here–as well as the area’s arts scene in general.
Broome County has an amazing arts culture. Binghamton alone has 72 arts organizations! For a city this size, that’s amazing. I can literally go to a different type of arts performance every single night here. Aside from the variety, our local arts community is not averse to change either. To lead an organization where being an innovator is acceptable, and welcomed, in order to see what the changes in the next generation are going to bring has been fantastic. It’s a great opportunity that the Philharmonic can be one of the leaders of this charge and the cultural revitalization in the area. I believe my personal life has benefitted just as much as my professional life from being in Broome County, if not more.
The arts community here–as well as the community at large–is just so welcoming, especially to new-comers. I moved away from family to take this position, so having my work family and the friends I’ve made living here be my pseudo-family has just made my life better.
To be surrounded by a community that’s large enough so you’re meeting new people all the time, but also small enough where there’s that strong bond and desire to help out your neighbors–that small town connection–really makes Broome one of the best places to live. The quality of life that you receive in Broome is incredible too. The cost of living is low, but all the quality of life pieces are so high. You can do absolutely anything here as this area is so full of resources–both natural and those resources that help you live a better, fuller life. The topography and location of our region are so amazing. The seasons are gorgeous here. We have great activities to do in the winter and in the summer. We have these beautiful, rolling hills and a landscape where you can go hiking, biking and roller-skating, drive to Greek Peak for skiing or to the city for a visit–it’s fantastic.
I have a dog so going to the dog park in the spring and summer is always a highlight of my day whenever I can. And who doesn’t love to eat? Water Street Brewing Company is at the top of my list–their beer is amazing! To have as many strong, local restaurants as we do is unbelievable. I never have to go to a chain restaurant, and to know that by going to our local restaurants, I’m benefiting this community with my dollars and business is priceless.
To me, a good life is a feeling more than anything. I don’t know if you can put descriptive words on it so I relate it to music.
No one can really tell you what a piece of music is about–it’s all about that feeling you have when you listen. That’s almost how I feel about Broome County. It’s this wonderful, warm feeling that you know you’re in the right spot.
The Binghamton Philharmonic is part of why #Broomeisgood.