Music
Music students on the Usdan stage

Our Summer Music Program

The music summer program at Usdan features excellent instruction and the practice and excitement of performing. Our faculty features experienced music educators as well as professional musicians and concert artists. Whether you are excited about playing in a big orchestra, an intimate chamber music ensemble, a lively concert band, or a dynamic jazz ensemble, our music summer program will give you the chance to learn and grow as a musician.

 

Usdan's celebrated music program features four orchestras, four bands, two choruses, chamber and jazz ensembles, rock bands, and instruction in strings, brass, reeds, woodwind, and percussion. Piano, guitar, and ukulele students work on technique and perspective through individual and ensemble practice and performance. With classes for absolute beginners to advanced students, budding musicians of every level can find a place for themselves in our music department. Musicians will have unique opportunities to work and collaborate with contemporary composers and artists-in-residence. 

Classes, rehearsals, and performances take place in studios sized for each group and specialty. Throughout the summer, our music students have opportunities to present their summer’s work to family, friends, and the entire Usdan community. Select performances will take place in the McKinley Amphitheater. 

2020 MAJORS

Advanced Jazz Ensemble; Concert Band (Flute, Clarinet, Oboe, Bassoon, Trumpet, Saxophone, French Horn, Trombone, Baritone, Tuba, Percussion); Guitar;  Intermediate Piano; Intermediate/Advanced Piano; Instrumental Ensemble: Traditional Classical Chamber; Instrumental Ensemble: Contemporary Classical Chamber; Instrumental Ensemble: Jazz Ensemble;  Instrumental Ensemble: Silent Film Orchestra; Instrumental Ensemble: Rock Band; Jazz Ensemble (Trumpet, Saxophone, Trombone, Guitar, Bass, Drum Set, Piano); Junior Chamber Ensemble; Orchestra (Violin, Viola, Cello, String Bass); Vocal Ensemble; 

2020 MINORS

Absolute Beginner Brass; Absolute Beginner Guitar; Absolute Beginner Lower Strings;  Absolute Beginner Piano; Absolute Beginner Ukulele; Absolute Beginner Upper Strings; Absolute Beginner Woodwind; Advanced Beginner Piano; Chamber Music (Flute, Clarinet, Oboe, Bassoon, Trumpet, Saxophone, French Horn, Trombone, Baritone, Tuba, Percussion, Violin, Viola, Cello, String Bass, Piano); Guitar & Songwriting;  Jazz Ensemble (Trumpet, Saxophone, Trombone, Guitar, Bass, Drum Set, Piano); Rock Band; Senior Vocal Ensemble.

 

 

2019 Faculty

Percussion, Lead Teacher

Patrick Armann

Music, Department Chair; and Junior Bands, Conductor

Mark Bligh

Mark Bligh is the director of the Denton Ave Elementary Band (Herricks UFSD) where he teaches winds, brass and percussion for grades 3-5. The Denton Ave Band regularly attends NYSSMA Majors and consistently earns Gold with Distinction honors. Mark Bligh is an active NMEA member who has chaired several All-County festivals and presented at the Balanced Mind Conference. The past few years, he conducted the Winds, Brass and Percussion sectional for the NYSSMA All-State Symphonic Orchestra and will conduct the 2018 SCMEA Division 1 Central All-County Band. Mark performs regularly as Principal Alto Saxophone for the Northwinds Symphonic Band, has performed with the Atlantic Wind Symphony as well as various chamber recitals. Mark is a past member of SCMEA and current member of NMEA, NYSSMA, NYSBDA and NafME.

Trumpet, Lead Teacher

Michael Blutman

Michael Blutman enjoys a diverse career as a trumpeter and music educator. A graduate of Juilliard and the University of Maryland, his teaching, performing, and recording credits include: Ithaca College, Five Towns College, Usdan Summer Camp for the Arts, Sting, Orchestra of St. Luke’s, Paragon Ragtime Orchestra, Orpheus Chamber Orch, Broadway shows, and many others. Michael also co-founded the music education publishing company Pinnacle Music Press (www.pinmusicpress.com).

Viola, Lead Teacher

Boris Deviatov

Boris Deviatov is an award-winning violinist and conductor. After earning his doctorate of music in his native Ukraine, Boris toured the major concert halls of North America and Europe as a member of the Leontovich String Quartet. He teaches viola at Usdan.

Horn, Lead Teacher

Aaron Korn

Aaron Korn is a freelance horn player, performer, and educator. He has played alongside the Jerusalem Symphony Orchestra, Princeton Symphony, and Allentown Symphony Orchestra. Aaron’s musical credits include Cinderella on Broadway, Rocktopia on Broadway, and the Christmas Spectacular at Radio City Music Hall. He currently teaches in the Music Advancement Program at the Julliard School.

Piano and Choral Coordinator, Piano Accompanist

Marilyn Lehman

Senior Choruses, Conductor

Karen Lehman DiMartino

Cello, Lead Teacher

Sue Lehr

Sue Lehr is a musical director, teacher, and freelance musician, who is returning to Usdan for her 20th summer as cello instructor. Sue served as orchestra director at the Waldorf School for 20 years and continues to teach freelance today. She maintains a teaching studio in Freeport, NY and her quartet performs often at special occasions across Long Island.

Piano, Lead Teacher

Andrew Ranaudo

Andrew Ranaudo is an award-winning performer, teacher, and composer. Andrew has played, toured, and recorded with top musicians at historic venues across the United States and Europe. His penchant for contemporary avant-garde music and eclectic artistic partnerships has seen his music played at MOMA PS1, Clay Center for the Arts and Sciences, and the Mattress Factory Museum. For the last 18 years, Andrew has maintained an active teaching studio in Brooklyn and he looks forward to another summer teaching piano at Usdan.

Junior Orchestra, Conductor; and Bass, Lead Teacher

Kageki Nagao

Dr. Kegeki Nagao is an acclaimed musician and educator who has performed under conductors such as Leonard Bernstein, Sergiu Comissiona, Paul Zukofsky, James DePriest, and Sixten Ehrling. A soloist, orchestral player, and chamber music performer, he has served as principal bass for the Westchester Chamber and Symphony Orchestras, Merrick Symphony, Atlantic Philharmonic, Strauss Symphony of America, Berkshire Opera, and the Transfiguration Chamber Ensemble. He currently directs the string department of Long Island Lutheran Middle and High School, and serves as Double Bass Instructor and Orchestra Director at Usdan.

Senior Bands, Conductor

David Schecher

Dave Schecher returns to Usdan this summer for his 31st season. He is a trombonist, private music instructor and retired public school teacher who has also been the Director of The Long Island Brass Guild for many years.

Guitar and Rock Band, Lead Teacher

Zac Selissen

Zac Selissen is a guitarist, composer, arranger, and teacher. He has studied and performed across genres -- from rock and avant-garde to classical and tango. Since relocating to New York City, Zac has composed and performed scores for films, theater productions, ballets, and modern dance pieces. He is currently a teaching artist at Trinity Wall Street and teaches guitar and rock band at Usdan.

Saxophone, Lead Teacher

Andrew Steinberg

Andrew R. Steinberg is an accomplished saxophonist, lecturer, and educator. In addition to teaching saxophone at Usdan, Andrew is a doctoral candidate at New England Conservatory and serves as Music Director of Megalopolis Saxophone Orchestra. As a music historian, Andrew has revived numerous neglected works and lectured at leading universities and conservatories.

Jazz Ensemble, Assistant to the Conductor

Amrom Svay

Amrom Svay is a jazz saxophonist, multi-instrumentalist, and music educator. He instructs students in saxophone, clarinet, flute, and jazz theory. Amrom has studied and performed alongside Ralph Lalama, Eric Alexander, Kenny Washington, and Jon Faddis at notable venues across the country, including The Blue Note and Dizzy’s Club.

Absolute Beginner Strings, Lead Teacher

Kate Stocker

Band, Assistant Teacher

Ethan Usoskin

Band, Assistant Teacher

Richard Blake

Band, Senior Assistant to the Conductor

Alex Della Ratta

Discovery, Lead Teacher

Morgan Hartley

Double Bass, Assistant Teacher

Thomas Brody

Flute, Lead Teacher

Michelle LaPorte

As a performer, educator, and world chamber music advocate, Michelle LaPorte tours extensively as flutist/founding member of the award-winning flute and guitar ensemble, Serenade Duo. She is an acclaimed Miyazawa Flutes Performing Artist, Centaur Recording Artist, and is the Professor of Flute at Suffolk County Community College in New York. She also maintains a private teaching studio, Serenade Music Academy, located in Saint James. She is happy to be a part of the creative team at Usdan! 

Guitar and Ukulele, Lead Teacher

James Labrosse

James Labrosse is a musician, songwriter, and Usdan guitar teacher. James grew up in a French-Canadian household in a Spanish-speaking neighborhood in South Florida, instilling a love of world music. He moved to Spain when he was 18 to pursue his love of Flamenco music and performance, and went on to graduate from Berklee College of Music.

Jazz Ensemble, Conductor

Sam Dillon

Junior Chorus, Accompanist

Brianna Brickman

Junior Chorus, Assistant to the Conductor

Steven Alexander

Junior Chorus, Conductor

Benjamin Rabinowitz

Low Brass, Lead Teacher

Donald Sherman

Music Librarian

Oscar Martinez

Music, Department Coordinator

Cindy Giron

Cindy Giron is a composer, performer, music educator, and arts administrator currently living in The Hague, Netherlands. Her studies include stops at Boston’s New England Conservatory Preparatory School, Manhattan School of Music, New York University, and the Royal Conservatory of The Hague. She enjoys writing music for ensembles and has collaborated with dancers, visual art installations, and live electronics. Cindy is Usdan’s Music Department Coordinator.

Musical Theater, Musical Director

Carl Ferrara

Oboe, Lead Teacher

Shane Helfner

Orchestra, Assistant Teacher

Claire Ezratty

Claire Ezratty is a current student at the Crane School of Music at SUNY Potsdam, studying Music Education with concentrations in cello and classical guitar. She has performed and worked in many orchestral programs, including the Metropolitan Youth Orchestra of New York, New York State Summer School for the Arts, the Crane Symphony and Chamber Orchestras, as well as various string festivals on Long Island. Claire gives lessons on beginner cello and guitar with her private music instruction studio and performs avidly in both areas.

Orchestra, Senior Assistant to the Conductor

Shannon Haselton

Percussion, Assistant

John Viviani

Piano, Lead Teacher

Paula Berardinelli

Paula Berardinelli is a pianist, organist, and doctor of music. She is a freelance performer and has often accompanied major pop artists. She was featured at the Chelsea Center Concert Series and appeared with the Minnewaska Chamber Music Society. Paula currently teaches piano at Hofstra University, Molloy College, and Usdan. 

Senior Orchestra, Conductor

Nell Flanders

Violin, Lead Teacher

Lila Pollack

Lila Pollack is a NYC based violinist. She made her solo debut at eight years old. Since then she has performed  at venues around the world including Carnegie Hall, Royal Festival Hall, Avery Fisher Hall, and in countries outside the U.S. including Spain, Czech Republic, Great Britain, Wales, China and Holland.  She received a Bachelor of Music degree in violin performance from the Eastman School of Music, and graduated from the Royal Academy of Music (UK) with a Masters degree in violin performance. There she earned her licentiate of the Royal Academy of Music (LRAM) teaching certificate and was awarded first place of the Wolfe Wolfinsohn Prize 2011. As well, she has completed the two-year Suzuki certification program at School for Strings. Ms. Pollack is on faculty at Avenues: The World School for Lower and Upper School as both strings teacher and Private Music Lessons Coordinator.

Departments

Art

Art

Chess

Creative Writing

Creative Writing

Dance

Dance

music-summer-program

Music

Nature

Nature

summer-arts-camps-for-kids

Discovery

recreational-arts

Recreational Arts

summer-theater-program

Theater

Art

 

Campers love Usdan’s summer art programs because our diverse class offerings allow for both deep engagement and exploration.

Seventy open-air studios dot the forested campus and create a sense of flow and community among artists.  Each studio is tailored to its medium with materials, equipment and software. Studios feature large skylights, as well as courtyards that take advantage of natural light and the inspiration of nature, which is a distinguishing feature of Usdan’s summer art programs. Throughout the summer, campers can visit the campus art gallery which mounts student, faculty, and visiting-artist exhibitions.

2020 MAJORS

Animation;  Art Adventure; Ceramics; Comic Art; Cosplay; Metalsmithing; Painting & Drawing; Photography; Sculpture; Sculpture & Ceramics; Sewing & Fashion Design.

2020 MINORS

Comic Art; Lego Design; Painting & Drawing; Photography;

For detailed class descriptions, please visit our Classes page.

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Chess

Usdan’s chess summer camp program follows the principles of the National Scholastic Chess Foundation and is uniquely designed to meet the needs of each student, whether they are new to chess or are experienced competitors. The Usdan Chess Ladder groups students in varying levels, from absolute novices to advanced tournament players. New players learn rules, notation, and the opening, middle, and end games. Advanced players develop a vast repertoire of complex strategies and the ability to apply them shrewdly in-game. All of our chess players benefit from improved problem solving, critical thinking, and concentration.  Students hone their skills through game-play and tutoring in competitive chess tournaments and exciting team competitions. Individual and group lessons are conducted by highly-ranked tournament players with decades of experience.  A major highlight of our chess summer camp is that celebrated chess masters come to Usdan to serve as guest teachers and share their expertise with our young players.

For more detailed information, please visit our Classes page.

 

For detailed class descriptions, please visit our Classes page.

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Creative Writing

Creative Writing at Usdan takes full advantage of New York City’s pool of exceptional writers to lead our summer creative writing programs. Our faculty is comprised of accomplished authors who are also experienced in nurturing students in the discipline and art of writing.

Whether their preferred form is poetry, plays, short stories, novels, or non-fiction, our young storytellers get to practice their writing in small, collaborative groups. Working in peaceful, open air writing studios, our writers build imaginative narratives and find their creative voices, while experimenting with the core elements of storytelling like style, structure, setting, point of view, conflict and resolution.  One vital element of our teaching involves encouraging our students to experience empathy, both as an ingredient and a result of their writing practice.  Finally, all writing students gain invaluable editorial experience by shaping and contributing their works to a new installment of Usdan’s literary magazine, Painting with Words.

2020 Majors

Creative Writing; Making Magic & Monsters; 

2020 Minors

Creative Writing; Performance Poetry & Podcasting;

 

For detailed class descriptions, please visit our Classes page.

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Dance

In our summer dance program, our dancers study technique, classic repertory, and original choreography with nationally renowned dancers and choreographers. We offer classes across a wide range of styles and traditions, including contemporary dance, ballet, jazz, hip hop, funk and tap. 

Instruction at our dance camp is rigorous, caring and fun.  Our studios are spacious and mirrored, with soft floors and generous skylights that give an open-air effect. Each class culminates in a freshly choreographed dance performance for the entire community, including friends and family, in the dance department studios or on Usdan’s main stage.

Ranking Model

Students participating in the Dance Department will rank their class choices according to the listed offerings. On the enrollment form, students will be asked to rank their first, second, and third choice for their major, minor or recreational activity. After review in late January, Usdan will announce Dance class offerings based on student interest. A placement form will be sent after enrollment. Usdan staff will try to place students in their top ranked class, however, it may not always be possible based on levels and scheduling. 

Please note, Junior students, with the exception of 4th graders, who choose to major in Dance will have two classes to rank instead of three.  

Junior Majors (2nd-3rd)

  • Dance Adventure
  • Choreography

Junior Majors (4th)

  • Dance Adventure
  • Contemporary Forms
  • Choreography

Junior Majors (5th & 6th)

  • Contemporary Forms
  • Choreography

Senior Majors (6th-12th)

  • Contemporary Forms
  • Choreography
  • Ballet
  • Hip Hop
  • Ballet/Hip Hop

Junior Minors (2nd-6th)

  • Tap
  • Broadway Jazz
  • Contemporary Forms
  • West African Fusion
  • Hip Hop

Senior Minors (6th-12th)

  • Tap
  • Broadway Jazz
  • Contemporary Forms
  • West African Fusion
  • Hip Hop

2020 MAJORS

Ballet; Ballet/Hip Hop; Choreography; Contemporary Forms; Dance Adventure; Hip Hop;

2020 MINORS

Broadway Jazz; Contemporary Forms; Hip Hop; Tap; West African Fusion; Yoga.

 

For detailed class descriptions, please visit our Classes page.

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Music

 

Usdan's celebrated music program features four orchestras, four bands, two choruses, chamber and jazz ensembles, rock bands, and instruction in strings, brass, reeds, woodwind, and percussion. Piano, guitar, and ukulele students work on technique and perspective through individual and ensemble practice and performance. With classes for absolute beginners to advanced students, budding musicians of every level can find a place for themselves in our music department. Musicians will have unique opportunities to work and collaborate with contemporary composers and artists-in-residence. 

Classes, rehearsals, and performances take place in studios sized for each group and specialty. Throughout the summer, our music students have opportunities to present their summer’s work to family, friends, and the entire Usdan community. Select performances will take place in the McKinley Amphitheater. 

2020 MAJORS

Advanced Jazz Ensemble; Concert Band (Flute, Clarinet, Oboe, Bassoon, Trumpet, Saxophone, French Horn, Trombone, Baritone, Tuba, Percussion); Guitar;  Intermediate Piano; Intermediate/Advanced Piano; Instrumental Ensemble: Traditional Classical Chamber; Instrumental Ensemble: Contemporary Classical Chamber; Instrumental Ensemble: Jazz Ensemble;  Instrumental Ensemble: Silent Film Orchestra; Instrumental Ensemble: Rock Band; Jazz Ensemble (Trumpet, Saxophone, Trombone, Guitar, Bass, Drum Set, Piano); Junior Chamber Ensemble; Orchestra (Violin, Viola, Cello, String Bass); Vocal Ensemble; 

2020 MINORS

Absolute Beginner Brass; Absolute Beginner Guitar; Absolute Beginner Lower Strings;  Absolute Beginner Piano; Absolute Beginner Ukulele; Absolute Beginner Upper Strings; Absolute Beginner Woodwind; Advanced Beginner Piano; Chamber Music (Flute, Clarinet, Oboe, Bassoon, Trumpet, Saxophone, French Horn, Trombone, Baritone, Tuba, Percussion, Violin, Viola, Cello, String Bass, Piano); Guitar & Songwriting;  Jazz Ensemble (Trumpet, Saxophone, Trombone, Guitar, Bass, Drum Set, Piano); Rock Band; Senior Vocal Ensemble.

 

 

For detailed class descriptions, please visit our Classes page.

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Nature

 

In our hands-on nature program, students study the art of planting, growing and cultivating food by caring for Usdan’s own fruit and vegetable gardens. Exploring the flora and fauna in Usdan’s idyllic woodland forest allows students to understand the delicate relationships at the heart of Long Island’s vibrant local ecosystem. In an innovative course on sustainable art, students are challenged to combine art, science and empathy to identify creative and sustainable solutions to pressing environmental problems. Students also care for the Nature Department's pet snakes, lizards, and tortoise.

 

2020 Majors

Nature, Ecology & Design; Sustainable Design.

2020 Minors

Nature, Ecology & Design; Garden to Table.

For detailed class descriptions, please visit our Classes page.

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Discovery

Play and exploration are at the heart of Discovery, where children enjoy music, art, dance and swim multiple times a week.  Rather than select a major and minor, Discovery students experience a special multi-disciplinary program tailored for their age group.  Discovery students experience the arts through hands-on practice with Usdan's esteemed faculty. Each class is led by a minimum of four adults who provide individualized attention and support.

Throughout the summer, Discovery campers attend select Festival Performances performed by professional and student artists. In addition to the core program, additional activities draw from Usdan's diverse offerings such as theater, nature, archery, chess and photography. With the Discovery Center as a base, campers explore the arts together in small groups with dedicated college-age counselors to guide them throughout their adventurous day.  

Children from all over the New York metropolitan area choose Usdan’s Discovery program because it is a singular summer arts camp for kids who share a common love for the arts.

Typical Day
9:30 a.m. : Children are helped off of their bus by one of the Discovery counselors
10:05 a.m. : Music
10:45 a.m. : Snack
11:05 a.m. : Art  
12:00 p.m. : Swim
1:00 p.m. : Lunch / Supervised Play 
2:05 p.m. : Discovery Period*
3:00 p.m. : Ice Cream and children are brought back to their buses

* The "Discovery Period" is an activity that is scheduled weekly such as theatre or a scheduled visit to one of the junior/senior classes such as chess, archery, or sewing. 

 

For detailed class descriptions, please visit our Classes page.

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Recreational Arts

 

The Recreational Arts program augments Usdan’s core mission to support campers’ creative development by encouraging physical fitness and an appreciation of the natural world. This comprehensive approach to our children’s creative, spiritual, and physical development makes Usdan unique among camps in our region.  Set in an idyllic woodland forest, our campus spaces are joined together by walking paths and are designed for optimal enjoyment of fresh air and natural light.  Across campus, students can enjoy nature walks, splash in two large outdoor swimming pools, play sports on multiple playing fields, as well as practice yoga and archery.

 

Each day, students spend a dedicated period enjoying a Recreational Activity of their choice. Each of these activities, with the exception of Recreational Swim, can also be chosen as a Minor.

2020 Recreational Arts classes

Archery; Beginner Tennis; Free Swim & Poolside Games; Gaga & Basketball; Instructional Swim & Poolside Games; Quidditch; Tennis; Yoga.

(Each of these classes can also be selected as a Minor, except for Free Swim.)

 

 

For detailed class descriptions, please visit our Classes page.

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Theater

 

The dynamic hub of the Usdan theater program is the extraordinary Lemberg Drama Center, which includes an air-conditioned indoor theater, two outdoor theaters, and rehearsal studios, as well as costume, prop, and set shops. With offerings in both drama and musical theater, our students have several opportunities to experience the full of cycle of staging and performing a play or musical throughout the summer.  Recent productions include Into the Woods, Frog and Toad, Finian’s Rainbow, and Oliver!

High-school aged students may audition for The Usdan Troupe which presents one fully staged musical production every year.  Former company members describe it as "summer stock theater for teens."

2020 MAJORS

Curtain Up; Drama Lab; Musical Theater; Musical Theater Adventure; Theater Tech Workshop; The Usdan Troupe.

2020 MINORS

Improvisation; Performance Poetry & Podcasting (also listed under Creative Writing).

 

 

 

For detailed class descriptions, please visit our Classes page.

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