Claudette McGraw Wire is a homegrown Roman who had the benefits of being raised in and around music. Rome Free Academy brought her to Concert Band and Marching Band throughout high school.  While in marching band, teacher/director John Wise instilled in her the love of marching music.

Pat Besl was born in Brooklyn, NY in 1947.  When she was two years old her family moved upstate to Florence.  She loved to draw the flora and fauna on her parents’ dairy farm.  She attended school in Camden where she was encouraged to pursue her love of art.  Ms. Besl received a BS in Art Education from SUNY College at Buffalo in 1969.

Thomas Besl was born in Cheektowaga, NY, in the winter of 1947.  He pursued his BS in Art Education at the SUNY College at Buffalo.  He was a founding member of the Fine Arts Board, the group’s first president and was instrumental in establishing the first student gallery on campus.  Mr. Besl graduated in 1969 and continued graduate work at Buffalo State, and later at SUNY Oswego.  He was hired by the Canastota School District in 1969

Matthew Pitcher was born on November 1, 1978 in Rome, N.Y.  As a student he was in many productions in the Capitol Theatre Rising Stars program, SummerStage, and O’Neill Dance Studio productions of The Nutcracker.  At ages 16-18 Matthew attended the School of American Ballet affiliated with the New York City Ballet. 

Anthony Elliott, a native of Rome, New York, is the son of long time Rome residents, Anthony and Charlie Mae Elliott.  He has had a multi-faceted career as a conductor, cellist, and teacher.  He has conducted for symphony, opera, and ballet.  He has conducted the San Antonio Symphony, the Scott Joplin Chamber Orchestra, the Sphinx Symphony Orchestra, the CAMMAC Orchestra, Vancouver Chamber Players, the Prince George’s Philharmonic, the Plymouth Symphony,

Native Roman Roberta Guaspari received a Bachelor of Music degree from SUNY Fredonia, and a Master of Music degree from Boston University School for the Arts.  Among the many awards and honors she has received are honorary doctorates from the New England Conservatory of Music, S.U.N.Y. Fredonia, and Mount Holyoke College.  She began her remarkable teaching career in three East Harlem public schools in 1980.