HISTORY

Founded in 1903, B Sharp has brought the highest quality musical and dramatic entertainment to residents of the Mohawk Valley for 118 years. The brain child of 13 women, B Sharp’s first concerts were held at the New Century Club in Utica, in area churches and in the homes of its members.

In 1908, B Sharp developed a concert series that featured some of the greatest classical artists of the day, Lilly Pons, Fritz Kreisler, Serge Rachmaninoff, Yehudi Menhuin, Ignace Ian Paderewski, Rosa Ponsell, Percy Grainger, The Trapp Family Singers, and the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, to name a few. This endeavor inspired the Great Artist Series, which continued to bring famous names in musical entertainment to our area for 82 years until its finale in 2014.

Jr. B Sharp for talented young musicians in the area was established in 1916 to augment the musical offerings of the schools and private teachers. Through regular monthly meetings, student members receive opportunities for solo and ensemble performance, contact with other outstanding area music students, and involvement in special programs and workshops presented by guest professionals.

In 1916, B Sharp also established the music room at the Utica Public Library.

Through the 1920’s and 1930’s, B Sharp expanded its influence in the community, bringing concerts into the schools. Originally, an all-female organization, B Sharp now welcomed men on their recitals.

In the 1940’s, B Sharp awarded its first scholarships. Endowed scholarships were established in the 1950’s. Today, B Sharp awards over $5000 annually to talented young musicians through its competitive scholarship auditions, held in March. These auditions are adjudicated by highly qualified judges from colleges and universities throughout New York State.

In the 1960’s, B Sharp began its relationship with the Munson Williams Proctor Arts Institute, a liaison that continues today. Many of our concerts, as well as our scholarship auditions, are held in its auditorium. B Sharp thanks MWPAI for its continued support of B Sharp’s programs.

Within this 116 year span, other musical organizations have come and gone, but B Sharp has prevailed. Today, we are a vital, dynamic and growing organization which continues to mentor young musicians through Jr. B Sharp, supports talented teens with our competitive scholarships, reaches out to the community through our Extensions Program, bringing performances to residents of nursing homes and senior living facilities, and still provides the best in the performing arts through our free concerts.


CHARTER MEMBERS 1903

Miss Mary P. Kernan

Miss Josephine Sheehan

Mrs. Mabel Wheeler Crouse

Mrs. Walter Kernan

Mrs. Margaret Wittemore Wells

Mrs. W. B. Crouse

Miss Eleanor MacLean


Mrs. Russell Wheeler

Mrs. F. F. Ellinwood

Miss Mary Merwin

Mrs. Aras Williams

Mrs. J. E. Gage

Mrs. D. N Crouse



B SHARP PRESIDENTS

Mrs. F. F. Ellinwood 1903-1907

Mrs. W. B. Crouse 1907-1929

Mrs. Harold V. Owens 1929-1932

Mrs. George E. Bannigan 1932-1935

Mrs. Fred MacMackin 1935-1936

Mrs. Robert Bothwell 1936-1939

Miss Margaret Griffith 1939-1942

Mrs. C. Eugene Fague 1942-1945

Mrs. Tracy Humphrey 1945-1948

Mrs. F. Henry Kassing 1948-1949

Mrs. Carleton N. Watts 1949-1952

Miss Sally Blatt 1952-1954

Mrs. James A, Hickey 1954-1957

Mrs. Anthony Mosca 1957-1960

Miss Cornelia M. Griffin 1960-1962

Miss Marjorie E. Newlove 1962-1964

Mrs. Vincent R. McGinty 1964-1966

Mrs. H. Russell Johnson 1966-1968

Miss Helen Ehlinger 1968-1970

Mrs. Robert A. Jones 1970-1972

Mrs. Bertram E. Humphries 1972-1974

Mrs. Melvin Kowalski 1974-1976



Mrs. George Vogel 1976-1978

Mrs. Anthony Zangrilli 1978-1980

Mrs. Roger Moore 1980-1982

Mrs. Bertram E. Humphries 1982-1983

Mrs. Robert C. Axelson 1983-1985

Mrs. Robert B. Curtis 1985-1987

Mrs. Marcia Dailey 1987-1989

Mrs. Rodney Engstrom 1989-1991

Mrs. Valerie Ludlum Wright 1991-1993

Mrs. Rocco Brindisi 1993-1996

Mrs. Albert V. Payne 1996-1998

Mrs. Robert A. Jones 1998-1999

Mrs. Richard A. Frye 1999-2001

Ms. Beverly Nelson 2001-2004

Mrs. JoElyn Wakefield-Wright 2004-2007

Mrs. Lauralyn Kolb 2007-2009

Ms. Kathleen Tooley Austin 2009-2011

Mr. Peter Costianes 2011-2013

Ms. Kathleen Tooley Austin 2013-2015

Mr. Peter Costianes 2015-2016

Mr. John Murphy 2016-2019

Ms. Judy Marchione 2019-2021