Linda Jackson began dance studies at the John Hayes O’Neill Studio of Dance in Rome when she was three years old. She furthered her training in New York City at the School of American Ballet and as a scholarship student of former New York City Ballet principal dancer Melissa Hayden. She made her professional debut with the Baltimore Ballet under the artistic direction of the late Alfonso Cata. Linda also worked with Eglevsky Ballet under the direction of Edward Villella and Michael Vernon.
In 1983, she joined Cleveland Ballet where she danced as a member of the company for 14 years. During that time, she performed principal and soloist roles choreographed by Dennis Nahat, George Balanchine, Agnes DeMille, Fleming Flindt and Donald McKayle, and with renowned guest artists such as Rudolph Nureyev and Cynthia Gregory. She served as President of American Alliance of Dance Artists from 1990-1997. As the Company’s Artistic Associate/Outreach Coordinator, she trained and coached 45 professional dancers.
Linda became the Dance and Audience Development Manager of PlayhouseSquare in 2000 where she was responsible for managing and programming the nation’s second largest performing arts center’s Ballet Series and managing many of its education programs and initiatives. She became Program Manager of the Community Engagement & Education Department in 2007 and was promoted to Assistant Director in 2012. In December 2014, Linda joined the staff of Cleveland’s renowned public health system, The MetroHealth System, as its first Director of Arts-in-Medicine. In this capacity, she integrates the visual, performing and therapeutic arts; transforming the environment and experience for the patients, families, caregivers and the greater community.
She has also performed with Cleveland Opera and was seen on television in the PBS production of Dennis Nahat’s Blue Suede Shoes and in the opening of ABC’s The Drew Carey Show. She is a member of International Performing Arts for Youth where she also serves as a member of the Selection Committee.
Margaret McLean Barcomb was born and raised in Rome, New York. She graduated magna cum laude from Boston College and earned her law degree from Boston College Law School. She practiced law as a criminal prosecutor and currently teaches law at Boston College’s Carroll School of Management.
She credits her legal background for driving her success as a fiction writer. When she was a prosecutor trying cases she’d survey the courtroom, noticing all the different characters and knew there was a book in what she was experiencing in her daily work. The result was a Boston-based legal thriller series featuring defense attorney Buddy Clancy. Under Fire from June 2011 is a courtroom drama about arson and the murder of a fireman in the line of duty. Under Oath (2012) is a legal thriller that blended aspects of the criminal cases she prosecuted in Lawrence and the infamous “code of silence” regarding criminal activity that once prevailed in parts of Charlestown. She has co-written a dramatic courtroom play based on her second novel, Under Oath, which is in development with the Playwrights/Directors Unit at the Actors Studio in New York City. Currently she is at work on the third book of the trilogy entitled Under Treason.
Margaret is the president of the New England Chapter of the Mystery Writers of America and is also co-chair of the New England Crime Bake. In 2010, she was hailed as one of the next faces of Boston crime fiction by The Boston Globe. Last year she finished Whitey on Trial, a non-fiction project documenting the Whitey Bulger Trial.
When she is not writing, she hosts a two-hour live online radio show called “It’s a Crime.” Listeners from across the United States tune in each week to hear her delve into topics relating to real life criminal investigations, law enforcement, and controversial court cases. Margaret also discusses the law as a legal analyst for a Boston television station and enjoys helping new authors who share with her that intense passion for writing and getting published.
Jake Meiss' earliest memories of music date back to when he was 18 months old and attended his first drum corps and marching band show. He started Euphonium in 4th grade. He is a proud alumnus of Rome Free Academy, where he had the opportunity to learn from several members of the Rome Arts Hall of Fame. There he played trombone, French horn and tuba. Jake majored in Music Education with a minor in Theatre at Pennsylvania State University where he performed and travelled with the Marching Blue Band and the Singing Lions Show Choir.
He student taught in Clearfield, PA, taught middle school chorus in Clinton NY, and then middle school and high school band in Mohawk, NY prior to being hired as RFA’s Band director in 2007. Since then, he has revived, expanded, and created several programs. The Wind Ensemble, Concert Band, and Jazz Band all attend adjudicated festivals annually, with Wind Ensemble earning Gold Ratings on level VI repertoire at the NYSSMA Major Organizations Festival. The Marching Black Knights have grown exponentially, and began competing in the fall of 2011 with musical arrangements and drills designed by Jake. Jake started RFA’s Rhapsody show choir in early 2011, creating their musical arrangements and choreography. He also produced the first annual Student & Alumni Cabaret in 2010. Jake has directed and choreographed two musicals for the Boys and Girls club, two for the Mohawk School District, and ten at RFA.
Jake has appeared on stage locally in many musical theatre productions, his first lead role as Billy Crocker in Anything Goes was on the RFA stage. Other favorite roles were Mark in Rent, Bobby in Company, Radames in Aida and the Beast in Beauty and the Beast. Jake also plays in pit orchestras, and has participated in the Rome Community Concert Band.
Mohawk Valley Frasers In 1973, four pipers from the western Mohawk Valley of New York State (Dr. William Forbes, Jim Clough, Tom Carl, and Frank Dugan, Jr.) created a new pipe band in Rome, NY. The band was named after the famed British 78th Regiment of Foot, who helped to build and guard Fort Stanwix during the winter of 1758-59 and who played a major role later that year in defeating the French at Québec. The 78th Regiment of Foot was commonly known as Fraser's Highlanders (for Highland chieftain Simon Fraser who raised the regiment). The new band was incorporated as the 78th Fraser's Highlanders.
The original band uniforms were designed to recreate the uniforms that the 18th century 78th Highland Regiment of Foot would have worn when they were garrisoned at Fort Stanwix. Soldiers of Fraser's Highlanders would have worn a great kilt (a belted plaid) in wool fabric issued by the British Military in the standard government pattern (now called the Black Watch). The Pipe Band chose modern kilts, rather than great kilts, in the Black Watch tartan. Plaids were worn in full dress. All band members wore loose shirts with ruffled fronts and cuffs, an authentic leather stock at the throat (to protect the neck from bayonet thrusts), long red wool vests with silver buttons, brown leather sporrans, and diced hose. Their bonnets had an impressive thatch of genuine bear fur. The band's attention to historic detail, coupled with their outstanding playing, made them popular performers at historic sites such as Fort Ticonderoga and Fort Ontario.
The 1980’s brought a change in uniforms and an enviable record of competition successes. The band won EUSPBA Supreme Championships four times, and, in 1982, became the first band ever to win two in one year, capturing the award for both Grades 3 and 4. When during the same year, a new Grade 1 band was incorporated in Ontario with a similar name resulted in confusion; the band voted to change their name. In 1987, the new name Mohawk Valley Frasers was chosen to continue to honor the Scotsmen who helped build Ft. Stanwix. In 1993 the band voted to change the tartan to the Modern MacGillivray which was worn with the blue-gray jacket and hose. The final change in uniform was made in the late 1990s when the blue-grey hose and jacket were traded for black vests, black jackets, and white hose occasionally accompanied by Inverness capes to keep the heavy wool kilts safe in inclement weather.
Under the direction of Pipe Major Jim Clough, the Mohawk Valley Frasers continue to be popular performers at parades, concerts, festivals, college commencements, Highland games, and other special events throughout the northeastern United States. The group has been recognized with numerous prizes and awards including first place in the Grade 3 Canadian Championship at Fort Erie in 2003 and third place in the North American Championship at Maxville.
Joan L. Tell joined the Rome Art Association (RAA) in 1968 and over the years, served on the organization’s Board of Directors as First Vice President, Recording Secretary and three terms as Board Member. She is now a “Life Member.” She chaired the RAA Committee for a float entered in the 1976 Bicentennial parade. The theme was a life-sized Paul Revere riding his horse through a small-scale village. The horse and rider were created by her husband, Jim who fashioned them from chicken wire and paper mache A Father-Daughter exhibit at the Rome Art and Community Center featured her paintings and those of her artist Father, H. Ernest King of Frankfort. She, along with fellow member Joyce Frank, established the William Payne Memorial Award which they presented at RAA Regional Exhibits from 1982 to 1990.
As a signature member of the Central New York Watercolor Society since 1985, Joan’s paintings have been displayed at Munson-Williams-Proctor Institute, Rome Art and Community Center, Old Forge Art Center, the Remington Museum, the Cooperstown Art Association and other galleries throughout the Northeast. Juried exhibits included Kirkland Art Center 1995 and 1997, RACC 1997-2003 winning two Special Awards, Gannet Gallery SUNYIT 1990 through 1998. Joan’s watercolors were consistently accepted for 20 years in the Munson Williams Proctor Institute Sidewalk Exhibitions and in 1996, she received a special award. Joan has won numerous awards including Best of Show (most recently in the 2014 Ava Dorfman annual exhibit).
Joan’s work reflects her travels to Europe, Iceland, and Canada and throughout the United States. It is displayed in the corporate collection of Dean Witter Reynolds Investment Corp, Syracuse and in private collections in Switzerland, Iceland and the United States. Currently Joan resides in Texas with her husband.
Edyth Walker was born in Hopewell, NY on March 27, 1867. She moved to Rome as a child residing at 407 N James Street (future site of B & L Bakery) where her father conducted a carriage making business. She attended Rome schools and taught music at Rome Academy from 1888-1891. She sang in the church choirs and became a featured soloist.
She entered and won a singing competition which provided her with a scholarship that enabled her to study singing in Europe. She came to Dresden, Germany in 1891 and was trained by Aglaia Orgeni. She later studied with Marianne Brandt in Vienna.
Edyth made her professional debut as a concert singer at the Gewandhaus in Leipzig in 1892. She made her professional opera debut on November 11, 1894 at the Berlin Stage Opera as Fides in Giacomo Meyerbeer’s Le Prophete. She became a contract singer with the Vienna State Opera from 1895-1903. In November of 1903 she made her Metropolitan Opera debut as Amneris in “Aida” (opposite Johanna Gadski and Enrico Caruso) singing there for four seasons.
After her retirement from the stage she became a noted voice instructor, first in France then in New York City. Among her students were future Metropolitan Opera singers Irene Dalis and Blanche Thebom. Her singing voice is preserved in the numerous recordings she made for the HMV Company (released on the Victor label in the US) between 1902 and 1908. She died at her New York City home in 1950 at the age of 83.