|Music Director -- John Saint Amour||Associate Director -- Joseph Denti||Composer in Residence -- Roger Firestone|
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John A. Saint Amour earned
his bachelor’s of music degree in music education from the
Crane School of Music at Potsdam College (NY). While
still a student, he began his conducting and music directing career
when he was selected to serve as musical director for productions at
College and Clarkson University.
Mr. Saint Amour began his professional career as a musical theatre actor in Syracuse, NY, performing in five main stage productions during his first season. He later put his education degree to use as the chorus teacher and drama director at Union Springs Jr./Sr. High School. While there he directed each year’s spring musical and a community theatre performance of Gian Carlo Menotti’s operetta “Amahl and the Night Visitors” (1996). He also served as a Guest Panelist for the program “Building Music Theatre Programs in Schools” at the 1995 NYSSMA State Conference.
In 1998 he moved to Greensboro, NC, and became the Director of Bands and Chorus at Thomasville City High School. His band earned numerous awards and superior music ratings and his students were selected to participate in all-county and all-state regional festivals. Two of his conducting students went on to become drum majors at Appalachian State University. Mr. Saint Amour returned to the theatre once again in City Arts/CTG production of “Forever Plaid” where he earned a 1999-2000 Harlequin Best Actor Nomination.
In 2001, he moved to Washington, DC, to pursue a master’s degree in instrumental conducting at George Mason University, which he completed in 2003. Linking his theatre experience with his conducting experience, Mr. Saint Amour’s graduate research focused on the use of theatre games as an aid in helping undergraduate students of conducting to become more expressive conductors.
During those same years, Mr. Saint Amour served as the Assitant Conductor of the Washington Symphony Orchestra under Maestro Kirk E. Wilke for the 2002-2003 season, served as guest conductor of the 2002 Columbus (OH) Horn Day and as conductor for St Mark’s Catholic Church’s production of “Guys and Dolls” (2003) in Vienna, Stonewall Jackson High School’s production of “Anything Goes” (2002) in Manassas, and George Mason University’s Dance Company production of David Parson’s “The Envelope” (2002).
Mr. Saint Amour studied conducting with Maestro Anthony Maiello, Director of Instrumental Studies at George Mason University, and with Dr. Timothy Topolewski, conductor of the Crane School of Music Wind Ensemble and former solo clarinetist with the U.S. Army Band, “Pershing’s Own.”
An avid (French) horn player and baritone singer, Mr. Saint Amour has performed with the Library of Congress Chorale, Philharmonia of Greensboro, Onondaga County MEA Wind Ensemble, Virginia Grand Military Band, Syracuse Vocal Ensemble and most recently was selected to sing with the National Philharmonic Chorale.
In addition to his duties with the Vienna Community Band, Mr. Saint Amour is the Music Director of Arts United of Washington, D.C., a growing performing arts company with the mission to unite music, dance, and theatre for unique professional performances and to provide training for youths in each art form. He is also a Copyright Examiner in the Performing Arts Section of the U.S. Copyright Office.
Contact Mr. Saint Amour by clicking here.
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bachelor’s degree in music
education in 1998 and master’s degree in music education with
conducting concentration in 2002 from
conducting and tuba instructors include
Anthony Maiello, Robert Cameron, and Neal Tidwell. Joe serves as a
conductor, clinician, and adjudicator for band and orchestra in the
Composer in Residence
A Washington, DC native, Roger M. Firestone nevertheless grew up from the age of 1 year in St. Paul, Minnesota, and began his musical education there at the age of four, studying piano with Agnes Lisowsky in St. Paul, MN. Mrs. Lisowsky passed away in late 2005 at the age of 99, teaching voice and piano almost to the end.
Dr. Firestone selected the flute as his wind instrument in elementary school, studying with Shirley Stettner Jackson and John Nyberg from the fifth grade into high school. High school was also where he first studied composition and orchestration, under band director Fred Daniels, who also provided instruction on French horn, clarinet, and percussion to Dr. Firestone. Peter Lisowsky, Agnes’ late husband, also offered advice and guidance in orchestration principles; Peter was the founder and long-time conductor of the St. Paul Center Orchestra.
Dr. Firestone performed instrumental music through high school, in college with the Brown University Band, in graduate school with two orchestras and one band at New York University, and there after with such groups as the St. Paul Center Orchestra (under Dr. James Sample, Peter Lisowsky having passed away by that time), the Yu’val Chamber Orchestra in Minneapolis, the St. Thomas College Band (St. Paul), the Ambler (Pa.) Symphony, The Philadelphia Doctors’ Symphony, the Lower Merion (Pa.) Symphony, the Merion Musical Society Band, and the Philadelphia JYC Orchestra. While living in St. Paul, during and after graduate school, Dr. Firestone studied privately with Emil Opava, principal flutist of the Minnesota Orchestra (1935-1944 and 1953-69).
After moving to Northern Virginia in 1987, Dr. Firestone served as a temporary replacement with the Mclean Symphony under Dingwall Fleary, and later that year joined the Vienna Community Band in a 3rd Flute chair, playing that year’s Father’s Day concert “cold.”
The development of music scoring software facilitated music arrangement and composition even more than word processing software did for writing, and that led Dr. Firestone to take up composing and orchestration again, in the late 1980s. Early software did not support the number of instruments in a concert band, so he concentrated on material for chamber groups, particularly the wind quintet. Some of these were performed by members of the Vienna Community Band when a wind quintet was organized for a brief period. Others were heard more recently in the form of duets for flute and oboe, also performed by Vienna Community Band musicians.
As later software with the capacity for handling large scores became available, Dr. Firestone turned to works for band. The first of these to be performed by the Vienna Community Band was an arrangement of the third movement of Johann Nepomuk Hummel’s concerto for trumpet. A number of other works have followed in recent years, both arrangements of works by other composers not commonly heard in the band setting (such as vocal pieces by Ludwig Lewandowski) and original compositions (“Day of Light, Day of Joy,” “Dawson Masonic March,” “Hornpipe for Fat Cats”).
Dr. Firestone holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Brown University, master’s and doctor’s degrees from New York University--Courant Institute of Mathematical Sciences, and an MBA from the University of St. Thomas.
Dr. Firestone has served as Musician of Henry Lodge No. 57, Ancient Free and Accepted Masons of Virginia since 1990, and was appointed General Grand Musician of the General Grand Council of Cryptic Masons, International for the 2002-05 Triennium. He is the author of articles on the relationship between music and Freemasonry, notably "Mozart's Other Masonic Opera," discussing the Masonic elements of Mozart's "Abduction From the Seraglio", which has been widely reprinted.
Dr. Firestone has also performed in the “pit” for a number of musical theater productions (in the Twin Cities, Philadelphia area, and northern Virginia), while his vocal skills have seen him on the “boards” for more than three dozen musicals, dramas, comedies, and two films. He is listed in Marquis’ Who’s Who in America.