Classical Music Festival Series
Coordinated by John Sikora

This Series is Not Now Active

If there is sufficient interest, we might start it up again

There are four Classical Music Festivals held each year. Usually, three are held in the Blue Frog Coffeehouse, and one (summer) in the Courthouse Park as part of the Art Festival organized by the Cultural Council of Cortland County. The indoor festivals are four hours long; and the summer festival 6-8 hours. Each performer or group typically provides 1/2 hour of music, but this could be more or less. Styles typically include: classical, international, theater and some jazz.

Professional and semi-professional musicians can receive some compensation for their effort. Definitions and compensation guidelines are given below.

Proposed Musician Categories and Compensation

There is a wide range of experience, ability and education among local musicians; such a wide range that the categories already seem inadequate. But I wanted to make an attempt at creating a fair and reasonable set of definitions.


  • Volunteer: includes those who would otherwise be included in one of the paid categories of musician, but have decided to waive the compensation offered.

  • Professional: includes those who
    • Work full time as a musician OR
    • Have a PhD or DMA in music, regardless of employment

  • Semi-Professional: includes those who
    • Are employed on a regular basis as church musicians, in pit orchestras, as accompanists for NYSSMA soloists, etc. OR
    • Have, or are working on a degree in music at the college level, regardless of employment

  • Student: includes those enrolled in a music program that is not at the college level (eg high school).

  • Amateur: includes anyone who wants to be in this category.

  • Mentor: includes music teachers who bring in and support student performance at a festival. For example, a teacher who brings in students to perform in an ensemble where the teacher has prepared the students with outside rehearsals etc., regardless of whether or not the teacher is part of the ensemble. This would also include someone who serves as accompanist for a student. This is strongly encouraged.
  • Individual Concert: is an event where an individual or group gives a performance that is not part of a festival. Cortland Music will arrange for a suitable venue, provide publicity, technical support and musician fees. Only a few of these events are possible each year.


  • Professional: $50 per half-hour per musician
  • Mentor: $50 per half-hour. One mentor per half hour segment.
  • Semi-Professional: $25 per half-hour per musician up to $100 per half-hour for a group
  • Students and Amateurs: no compensation, except for the experience.
  • Individual Concert: $150 per musician for an hour long concert.
Most of the events have been hosted by The Blue Frog Coffeehouse in Cortland. Music was also provided for the Arts in the Park Festival on Saturday July 30, 2005 (Courthouse Park), and again at Arts in the Park 2006. Music will continue to be provided for the summer Wine and Arts Festivals, with the overall events organized by the Cultural Council of Cortland County. For details, check the history page.

I hope to encourage more members of the community to take part in the events, both as listeners and as musicians. In the events so far, I have relied on people that I happen to know. This is not enough if the series is to continue. If you are a musician, whether student, amateur or professional, please contact me (John Sikora about participating in an upcoming Classical Music Festival. The music, by the way, is not ALL Classical. I am looking for music that is generally not available in a public setting. In addition to Classical music we have had some Jazz and some non-pop Hispanic music (e.g. folksongs of the Spanish Poet Garcia Lorca) mixed in.

This is a great opportunity for students to give a public performance in a relatively informal setting. If you need an accompanist, contact us early so that it can be arranged.

Teachers, please encourage your students to take advantage of both the Festivals and Classical Open Mic.

Amateurs are also encouraged to participate both in the Festivals and in Classical Open Mic. Regular performance in a semi-public setting like this can ease performance jitters. It is also a great motivation for regular practice and gives a purpose to all those hours of study.

This series is supported by a
NYSCA Decentralization Grant
obtained through St. Mary's Church and the
Cultural Resources Council of Onondaga County