Frederick A. Normand, was born in Utica, NY and graduated from Rome Free Academy, Mohawk Valley Community College, and Utica College. He retired in 1989 from Rome Labatory where he worked as a Computer Scientist.
Fred has been a member of nearly every volunteer organization in Rome and has served as an officer or board member for many including the Rome Historical Society, Rome Academy of Sciences, Jervis Public Library Association, PTA at Ridge Mills Elementary School, Lake Delta Kiwanis, Habitat for Humanity, Rome Art and Community Center, Welcome Hall, The Salvation Army, Rome Rotary Club and the Theater Association of New York State. He has served as a board member and chairman of the grants committee for the Rome Community Foundation.
Fred has received many awards for set design from the Rome Community Theater where he served as a board member and officer for more than fifty years. He helped to layout/design a stagehouse expansion at RCT, designed the stage platforms and designed and helped build two storage floors in the back stage area.
Fred has served as a member of the Capitol Theatre’s Board of Directors and as a member of the Rome Grand Theatre Organ Society, he was part of the group that helped restore the Capitol’s Moller Theatre Organ. He also helped design a platform to restore a hydraulic lifting mechanism to elevate the organ console for ease of viewing by the audience. Fred also headed up the effort to rebuild the Capitol’s 1939 ticket booth.
Helen Adele Phillips was born on May 5, 1936 in West Middlesex, Pennsylvania. Her family moved to Farrell, Pennsylvania where she graduated from Farrell Senior High in 1954. Helen’s interest in music began at an early age with piano lessons. She studied music education at SUNY, Fredonia where she received a Bachelor of Science Degree in Music Education in 1958. Her graduate studies were accomplished at Crane School of Music at SUNY, Potsdam.
Her first teaching assignments were as vocal music teacher in the Holland Patent Elementary School and the Remsen Central School. In 1959, Mrs. Phillips-Hannah began her teaching career in the Rome City School District where she taught vocal music at Ridge Mills, Stokes, Harvey Alter, Louis V. Denti and DeWitt Clinton elementary schools before retiring from Denti school in June 1991. During the years devoted to teaching music to Rome’s youngsters, Helen also served her community as organist and pianist for the Immanuel Baptist Church in Rome. She also found time to sing with the Rome Community Chorus and the Rome Choral Society and give private piano lessons.
Helen explored other areas of the performing arts as a member of the Rome Community Theater’s cast of “Guys and Dolls” and as Bessie (along with Jeanne McDowell as Sadie) in the story of the Delany Sisters, “Having Our Say” for the Wednesday Morning Club. Additional musical endeavors include accompanying area vocalists on programs for the National Association for the advancement of Colored People and the Afro American Heritage Association. She also served the NAACP as treasurer for four years.
Richard Patrick DeLutis, Jr. was born in Rome, New York on March 24, 1953. He attended Rome Public Schools and graduated from Rome Free Academy in June 1971. Richard began music lessons on the clarinet in the fifth grade. He subsequently switched to the trumpet in the tenth grade. He received an Associate Degree in Music from Onondaga Community College in Syracuse, in May 1973. He continued his formal music education at Syracuse University where he received a Bachelor of Music Degree in 1975. He was awarded a graduate assistantship in Music Education at Ithaca College where he earned a Masters Degree in Music in 1984.
Richard taught instrumental music in the Rome Catholic Schools and music in the Herkimer school system before beginning his teaching duties in the Rome Public School system. Mr. DeLutis has played trumpet and trombone in a variety of musical ensembles including the Rome Civic Band, the Boonville Concert Band, the Mohawk Valley Community College Concert Band, and the MVCC Jazz Band. He co-founded with his former junior high school band director Calvin Dening; “Just Brass”, a brass quintet.
Richard has been a member of the Utica Symphony trumpet section for more than thirty years. He founded the Westernville Trombone Choir, a group of twelve area trombonists who perform annually during the Christmas season. He has also played in the pit orchestra for many area high school musical productions. His instrumental music teaching duties in 2012 are performed in Rome’s Staley Upper Elementary School.
Rick Montalbano, born in Rome in 1949 was performing professionally by the time he was thirteen. Rick credits several area musicians as having heavily influenced his musical career. Among them are Jack Palmer, Dolores and Sammy Mancuso, Sal Amico, Chick Esposito, Johnny Salerno, JR Montrose, Sal Alberico, Billy Bartell, Paulie Gentile and Vinnie Petrucci. An early learning experience that Rick says was an important one is his work as keyboard accompanist to a group of young singers and dancers called The Rhythm-Lites.
For a part of the 1960s, Rick traveled in a van with a road band playing rock gigs up and down the East Coast and into Middle America. His next stop was with a band called Fuel, which included Vinnie Esposito, Dave and Dean Blask and Carmen Caramonica. During this time, Rick began composing and arranging which he continued throughout the rest of his career. Between musical gigs, Rick worked as an on air personality for radio stations WRNY and WTLB. He toured with Lou Rawls as conductor, piano player and organist through much of the 1970s. In the 1980s, Rick, along with Al Serway and Scott Rutledge played numerous area events as Ovation. During that time, he also was involved with a recording studio called The Music Factory. He served as music director and pianist for the Three Rivers Inn near Syracuse. Rick worked as a contractor and pianist for the Turning Stone Casino Show Room where he performed with some of the most recognizable names in the entertainment world.
Area venues have included a club called Birdland in the old Baggs Square area of Utica, Pastabilities in Syracuse and Rome’s Savoy where Rick has played solo piano for more than twenty years. Rick has taught jazz piano at Colgate University, Hamilton College and Syracuse University. He has served as assistant music director for the Central New York Jazz Orchestra. Additionally, he has performed and recorded with the Syracuse Symphony.
Coley Worth was born Coleman Rothmund at the family homestead at 1011 North George Street in Rome on July 3, 1908. The son of musician and local theatrical impresario Otto Rothmund, Coley grew up in show business. He attended Rome schools and was a member of the undefeated Rome Free Academy football team in 1924. At the age of 13 he began to work in vaudeville during the summer months, appearing with his sister Grace and his brother, Lon in an act they called “Gracie Worth and Her Worthless Brothers.” He left RFA at the end of his junior year to go into vaudeville full-time, and eventually appeared in legitimate theater on Broadway as well, making his debut with sister Grace in a small part in the musical comedy À la Carte in 1927. After appearing in supporting parts in 1929’s Earl Carroll’s Sketch Book on Broadway, he and Grace took the lead roles in the national tour.
He spent the remainder of his career, which lasted more than 60 years, in vaudeville, legitimate theater (including the original Broadway cast of A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum), regional theater, and television (appearing twice on The Jackie Gleason Show in the 1960’s). He also appeared several times in the ‘50’s, ‘60’s, and ‘70’s in operettas at the New York City Opera, his signature role being that of Frosh, the jailer in Die Fledermaus.
Coley Worth passed away in October of 1987 and is survived by his wife, Marcia Ray Worth, with whom he had been performing since their marriage in 1934. Coley’s heritage is carried on by his family: his daughter Caroline Worth-Tyrrell is executive director of a New Jersey dance studio, and his daughter Penny Worth is a noted stage performer whose credits include the starring role of Roxie Hart in the national tour of Chicago in 1977. Coley also has grandchildren in show business, Luke Darnell, a television actor and stunt man, and Coleman Anderson, who performs in the rock band Greasy Hands.
Doug Magee is a photojournalist, screenplay writer, children’s book author, death penalty activist, film producer and director, war protestor, college football player and amateur musician. He attended Rome Free Academy, Amherst College and Union Theological Seminary. Doug worked as a photojournalist for a number of years and was published in many major magazines and newspapers including a New York Times front-page photo of violence in Portugal.
He is the author of Slow Coming Dark, a book of interviews with death row inmates and What Murder Leaves Behind: The Victim’s Family, profiles of families of murder victims. Doug is passionately opposed to state-sanctioned killing. Never Wave Goodbye, his first novel was published in June 2010 and his second novel, Darkness All Around was published in October 2011. In addition, he has written three children’s books; All Aboard ABC, Let’s Fly From A to Z, and Trucks You Can Count On.
His films include the HBO movie Somebody Has to Shoot the Picture and the Showtime movie Beyond the Call. He enjoys playing softball with the Writers Guild of America East team and playing trombone with the East River Jazz Band. He refers to New York’s Spanish Harlem where he has lived for many years, as “One of the beating hearts of the city”.
Susan Briggs Flanders Davidson was born October 7, 1949 in Rome. After graduation from RFA, she attended Skidmore College and received a Bachelor of Science degree in 1971 with a major in Art Education/Weaving. Susan continued her education accumulating more than one hundred hours in graduate studies. She taught art in the Rome City School system for thirty years until her retirement in 2005. During the final six years of her teaching assignments, Susan served as the Teacher Coordinator for the Art Department.
Some special projects during her teaching years included ROSIE (Rome’s Outdoor Summer Instructional Experience); Rome Area Chamber of Commerce/RCSD Student Art Exhibits; Chin-America, Rome’s Sister-City project with Xinyu, Jiangxi Province; “It’s a Zoo” Theatre Competition and the fourth graders’ Mural project on downtown Rome windows with Main Street Alliance.
As a member of the Rome Art Association, she was responsible for the
Student Artist of the Month Program. Her volunteer activities included the Rome Art and Community Center, where she was a weaving instructor, coordinator for the Center’s Summer Craft Days, a member of the Board of Directors and the Board of Trustees. Susan was a fitness instructor for the Rome Family Y. She has served on the Board of Deacons and the Board of Trustees at Rome’s First Presbyterian Church where she is also a member of the Senior Choir, the Hand Bell Choir and is substitute Organist.
Other memberships include Delta Kappa Gamma, Honor Society for Outstanding Women Educators; Wednesday Morning Club; Heather Twig; Rome Teachers Association; Retired Teachers Association; Central New York Watercolor Society; Lake Delta Yacht Club and Teugega Country Club. She is a member of the Herbert T. Dyett Foundation Grant Committee and an Alumnae Admissions Correspondent for Skidmore College. In 2012, Susan received the Rome College Foundation Star Student Teacher Award. She was selected by Randy Linderman.
Susan Davidson’s accomplishments as an artist have been recognized by the Cooperstown National Juried Art Exhibition and Sculpture Space. She has demonstrated traditional crafts at the Madison County Historical Society’s Craft Fair and at Constable Hall’s Craft Fair.