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About Essex Community Concerts
Address: c/o Essex Community Church
2743 NYS Route 22, PO Box 125, Essex, NY 12936

Phone: 518-962-2688
E-mail: info@essexcommunityconcerts.org
Location Map (courtesy of Google)

The Essex Community Concert Series (formerly Essex Organ Committee) was formed in 1990 to maintain and program the use of the Cross Memorial Pipe Organ, a gift to the community from a long time Essex resident.

Since 1990, the Committee has sponsored a series of summer organ concerts. Several years ago, the Committee acquired a grand piano that enabled it to also feature pianists. Ultimately, the Committee expanded the classical music offerings to include vocalists and other instrumentalists (strings, brass, and, percussion). ECC is trying to maintain a good balance between their unique resource, the Cross tracker organ, which was built in Holland and reassembled in Essex, and the numerous genres and artists that can be hosted for audiences enjoyment.

The Committee, while officially affiliated with the Essex Community Church, is a non denominational and broadly representative of the community at large.

In the mid '90s, the summer Mid Day concert series was begun, featuring an eclectic ix of musical genres and local talent. That successful program will continue in 2014 with at least four performances on Thursdays at 11:30 AM.

Committee Members: Grace Drummond, Herb Longware, Dean Caveney, Jim LaForest, Norma Goff, Jennifer Moore, Lee Ackley, Jim Davis, John Hunn, Ben Brewster and Peggy Staats

Committee Member Bios

Peggy Staats, Committee Chairman
Peggy Staats grew up in Indian Lake, NY. She earned a BA in English at the University of Vermont and a MS in Elementary Education from the College of St. Rose in Albany, NY. She was the co director of the North Woods Club in Minerva, NY for 7 years with her husband. For the past 18 years, she has been raising her 8 children. She is an active member of Essex Community Church and presently works at the Essex Farm Institute in Essex NY. Peggy was the secretary of the Concert Committee for a year and was then asked to take the chairmanship.

Grace Drummond, Treasurer
Grace purchased property in Essex in 1969, becoming involved in Essex Community Church, serving on various committees and as secretary for the Administrative Board for many years, retiring recently. She was very interested in Town government, serving as Secretary to town Planning Board and then to the Zoning Board of Appeals. Grace served as an election inspector and a member of the Assessment Board of Review. She was elected Town Clerk and served in that capacity for six years. She became a NYS certified real estate assessor and served in that position for 10 years, retiring in 2011 at the age of 85. Grace has been the treasurer of the Concert Committee since it began in 1990.

Jennifer Moore, Artistic Director
Pianist, Jennifer Moore, is currently the music teacher for the Willsboro School District. She is very active as a teacher, choral conductor for school and festival ensembles, music director and pianist for regional musical theater projects, and pianist/choral director for St. John's Episcopal Church here in Essex. She has established a traditional music learning community at the school with the generous support of some of the North East's finest bluegrass and traditional musicians in support of SUNY Plattsburgh's Bluegrass for the Next Generation program. Additionally, each spring, Jennifer brings students and their teachers from the region to the renowned Ithaca College High School Gospel Choir Festival where they have the chance to work with some of the leading conductors, practitioners and scholars of this genre. Due to a love of world music and a growing interest in the theraputic benefits of group music making, she also offers a community drumming program and serves as facilitator along with guest percussion specialists.

Jennifer holds a BFA in piano performance from Purchase College, SUNY. She spent a year abroad studying piano and choral conducting at the Hilversum Conservatorium in Holland before beginning her master's work in vocal accompanying and coaching at Westminster Choir College of Rider University. While at Westminster, Jennifer had the opportunity to sing with the Westminster Symphonic Choir more than a dozen times at Lincoln Center with the New York Philharmonic and was awarded a New Jersey Symphony Orchestra scholarship for her work at the college. Before leaving Westminster, Jennifer performed at UNESCO in Paris, France for a special debut recital with soprano, Susanna Giannacopoulou.

Upon moving to Chigaco, Jennifer served as accompanist for the Young Artist's Program at the Lyric Opera and accompanist for Russian soprano, Elena Kolganova at the Chicago Cultural Center. She also had the great privilege of assisting renowned American baritone, William Warfield at Northwestern University.

A growing family and a love of the Lake Champlain region brought Jennifer and her family back home. She returned to college in recent years in order to become a teacher within the public school system. She now holds a BME from the Crane School of Music, SUNY Potsdam and is completing graduate studies this year.