The Buffalo Niagara Youth Chorus Team
Kristen Smith — Artistic Director and Chamber Choir Director: Kristen Smith was appointed Artistic Director & Chamber Choir Director of the Buffalo Niagara Youth Chorus with the start of the 2018-19 season, following the 30-year tenure of the founder, John Fleischman, Jr. Originally from Elma, Mrs. Smith earned her music education degree from SUNY Fredonia and went on to complete her Master of Music degree in Voice Performance at the New England Conservatory. While there, Mrs. Smith studied voice with acclaimed lyric coloratura Carole Haber and performed the roles of Queen of the Night in Die Zauberflöte, Governess in The Turn of the Screw, and Rosalinde in Die Fledermaus. After graduating, Mrs.Smith taught middle school general music and chorus in both Massachusetts and Texas public schools with great success, taking her choirs to state competitions and receiving superior ratings. In 2016 she returned to Buffalo after spending eight years in Boston, MA with a year stint in the Dallas-Ft.Worth area. Mrs. Smith is currently the Choir Director at Buffalo Academy of the Sacred Heart. She and her countertenor husband lead Kids’ Worship at their church, Life Church Buffalo in West Seneca and reside with their son, Cohen, in Hamburg.
David G. Curtis — Concert Choir Accompanist: David G. Curtis is currently the Director of Choral Activities at Niagara Wheatfield High School, Organist/Choir Master at the Oakfield United Methodist Church, and is the former director of the Niagara County Community College Choir. Mr. Curtis is a graduate of the State University of New York at Buffalo, receiving the Bachelor and Master of Music degrees in Music Education. He frequently conducts and accompanies All-County and Honors Choirs throughout New York State and has presented numerous workshops in Music Education and Choral Conducting to Music Educators. His choirs have earned numerous awards at State Evaluations and National Choral Competitions. The Niagara Wheatfield Choirs, under his direction, have performed for many music conferences, served as a model choir for college practicum students, and was the featured choir at Carnegie Hall for the National Youth Concert Series in March of 2009, and 2011. In 2015, he was the recipient of the “Choral Music Educator of the Year” award from Buffalo State College.
Andrea Shurtliffe — Concert Choir Director: Andrea Shurtliffe, a Pennsylvania native, received her Bachelor of Music Education from The Pennsylvania State University and continued her musical training at Duquesne University and The Eastman School of Music. Over the course of her nearly 20-year career, Mrs. Shurtliffe has worked with students of all ages. Much of her time was spent in the public schools of Pennsylvania where she taught K-12 general music and choral music in addition to directing several musical theater productions. She has served as a guest conductor for a choral festival in Vermont and a clinician at the American Choral Directors Association Eastern Division Conference. Currently, she serves as the Artistic Director of the Cheektowaga Chorale and teaches music at the Orchard Park Cooperative Preschool, a program in which she started. As a singer, Mrs. Shurtliffe has served as a soprano soloist and section leader with the Bach Choir of Pittsburgh, Buffalo Philharmonic Chorus, First Presbyterian Church of East Aurora and is a charter member of the newly formed Buffalo Women’s Choir. She lives in Colden, New York with her husband Brett, and 2 daughters, Madelyn and Ashlyn.
Andy Clark — Concert Choir Accompanist: is in his twenty-fourth year of service at the Pembroke Central Schools where he teaches Elementary Vocal Music. Over these many years he has taught General Music classes, directed choruses and musicals, and even started the first-ever elementary Show Choir in Pembroke and accompanied any group whenever needed. Mr. Clark also enjoys composing and has written songs for personal use and some for school including an elementary musical entitled “Welcome to Looneyville!” In 2015, Mr. Clark received the Pembroke Teacher Federation’s Teacher of the Year award for outstanding service to the Pembroke students. He earned his Bachelor of Music degree from Roberts Wesleyan College in Rochester, NY, and his Master’s Degree from SUNY Fredonia. He resides in Corfu with his wife, Jeanna, and his three kids and three step-kids. He has been playing the piano since the age of eight and would like to take this opportunity to thank his mom for teaching him to play.