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CSO’s ‘Cabaret’ a big success

Jake Patterson steps in for his dad, Paul, who won the coveted ‘guest conductor’ honors to lead the Catskill Symphony Orchestra’s Cabaret finale. [Photo courtesy of David Treanor.] 

The Catskill Symphony Orchestra’s Cabaret fundraiser on March 26 raised more than $44,000 – not including ticket sales – attracting a sell-out crowd of some 550 attendees to SUNY Oneonta’s Alumni Field House.

“This is one of the most successful Cabarets, ever, in the more than 20 years we’ve been doing it,” says CSO Chair Sarah Patterson, who has volunteered with the CSO for more than a decade and whose husband, Paul, won this year’s guest conductor competition.

Paul, a retired fleet master and director of Oneonta Public Transit, competed against Stagecoach Coffee’s Matt Grady and SUNY Oneonta’s Dr. Tracy Allen to raise the most money for the CSO and win the prize of conducting the orchestra in the finale of the Cabaret. As Paul and Sarah could not be at the event, their son Jake stepped in his father’s place, wearing a bus driver’s uniform in the style of Jackie Gleason.

The performance was the first time the full, 52-piece orchestra has performed as a group under new Music Director Maciej Zoltowski, who had not conducted the full orchestra since he joined the CSO in 2020. Cabaret featured guest performer Mandy Harvey, a deaf pop and jazz singer who rose to prominence as a finalist on America’s Got Talent. 

To show support for Ukraine, the CSO opened the concert with the Ukrainian National Anthem and collected $861 in donations for St. Volodymyr Ukrainian Catholic Church in Utica, where CSO violinist and Ukrainian national Taras Bohach is a member. The CSO will present a concert of music by American composers, including Florence Price and Amy Beach, at 7 p.m. Saturday, May 14, at SUNY Oneonta’s Alumni Field House. For more information, visit


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