Albany, N.Y., May 5— State Senator Tom O’Mara (R,C,I-Big Flats) and Assemblyman Phil Palmesano (R,C,I-Corning) hosted the New York Wine Industry Association’s (NYWIA) 3rd Annual “Sip and Sample” tasting event in Albany on Wednesday, May 4th.
This year’s event, held in The Well of the Legislative Office Building, featured wineries, cheese producers and other food manufacturers from the Finger Lakes, Capital Region, Central and Western New York, and the Hudson Valley – and it was also highlighted by a Special Guest, the Dundee Central School’s Symphonic Steel Drum Band, which performed throughout the reception.
In a joint statement, O’Mara and Palmesano said, “We’re proud to annually join the New York Wine Industry Association and our legislative colleagues to help promote the quality of New York State winemakers, cheese producers and other food manufacturers. It’s one of our state’s great cultural and economic success stories. This year, we'd like to give a special thank you to the directors and students comprising the Dundee Central School Symphonic Steel Drum Band for an outstanding and well-received performance throughout this year's reception. They are fantastic and we appreciated the Band being here to share their talent and some great music.”
Prior to the performance, O’Mara recognized the band in the Senate Chamber during Wednesday’s legislative session.
The band was formed in the late 1970's by then-Music Director Ronald K. Miller.
According to Randy and Lynnette Knapp, who currently direct the band, the band’s original set of drums, many of which are still being played, was built by Ellie Mannette, one of the founding fathers of steelpan music in Trinidad and Tobago.
Throughout the band’s history, groups have travelled and performed in Denmark, Germany, Scotland, Disney World, the 1982 World’s Fair in Knoxville, Tennessee, and many other events and venues around the nation and the world.
The band consists of students in grades 7-12. The current band members are: Michelle Conner, Whysper Davis, Haille Empson, Adele Fishbaugh, Collin Goodman, Cameron Howell, Colin Howell, Paul King, Isabella Levanduski, Tanor Morrison, Ronny Nissen (this year’s graduating senior), and Mercedez Roy.
The group was also accompanied to Albany by Tim and Arlene Kinsey, who volunteer a great deal of time and effort helping the band. Our Town RoCKS donated $400 to assist the band with travel expenses.