Mohawk Valley Chorus Announces Annual Scholarship Winner

Jesse E. Conti, a senior at Niskayuna High School, has been named 2005's winner of the Mohawk Valley Chorus’ annual $500 scholarship.

As such, he will perform during the chorus’s Classics Concert at 3 p.m. Sunday, March 13, at St. Mary’s Church in Amsterdam.

Conti, the son of Mr. and Mrs. Paul Conti of Ashford Lane, Niskayuna, has an extensive musical background, both vocally and instrumentally, and intends to study music education in college.

He has been honored with the Mendelssohn Club’s Joel Dolven Award and the Burnt Hills Oratorio Society’s vocal award in 2004.

At school, he has sung with the Bel Canto Voices, a select a cappella madrigal group, and the Studio Singers, which specialize in pop and jazz, the past four years. He is member of the Niskayuna Concert Chorale and appeared with the All-State Mixed and the Area All-State choruses. He has participated in New York State School Music Association and American Music Festival competitions, traveled to Europe with the American Music Abroad Honors Band and Chorus and attended two Crane Youth Music programs at Potsdam. Conti also sings with the Niskayuna Reformed Church choir.

This year, he was cast as Jean Valjean for the high school’s production of Les Miserables and has also played Rapunzel’s Prince in Into the Woods; Harry in Crazy for You and J. Bruce Ismay in Titanic.

His high school choral director, Paula Brinkman, says the baritone “not only sings his music accurately but with superb musicianship. His phrasing and expression are lovely and he sells every song he sings with great passion.”

Echoing that was Myron Hermance, who has been working him privately. “Jesse has continued his outstanding efforts in developing his performing skills as a baritone with extended tenor range, very unusual for a 17 year old, and holds an unusually poised presence with a high degree of professionalism.”

Among his other music teachers are Chad Ploss, Ted Mackenzie and Tony Britt, percussion; Ruth Rice, voice; and Mary Morran, piano.

Instrumentally, he has been a percussionist with the symphonic band, the symphonic orchestra, Orchestra Winds and was one of the founders of the school’s Percussion Ensemble. Conti has written and arranged music for the ensemble.

Song writing and digital composition are among his hobbies, along with web designing, skiing and biking. Conti is also senior news editor for the high school’s weekly newspaper; secretary of Amnesty International; assistant director of the Drama Club; and a member of Visibility GSA and the National Honor Society.

Press Contact: Ellen Snyder, 374-6807