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About the Conductor


Composer, tuba player, and conductor, Sy Brandon, brings over a half-century of professional experience to the position of conductor of the Cottonwood Community Band. After receiving his Bachelor of Science and Masters of Science degrees in Music Education from Ithaca College, Brandon went on to receive a Doctor of Musical Arts in Composition from the University of Arizona.


His teaching experience includes being a band director in the Haverling Central Schools in Bath New York, Orchestra and Jazz Ensemble Director at Blue Mountain Community College in Pendleton Oregon, and Professor of Music at Millersville University of Pennsylvania. He has guest conducted the University of Arizona Orchestra, the York (PA) Symphony Orchestra and Chorus, the Sun City (AZ) Pops Band, and the Prescott (AZ) Pops Orchestra.

As a low brass performer, Brandon has been a member of organizations such as The Colorado Springs Symphony and Opera Orchestras, the Sun Valley Music Festival Orchestra, the York Symphony Orchestra, the Keystone Brass Quintet, and numerous summer bands. He was also active as a soloist on trombone, euphonium, and tuba. He moved from Pennsylvania to Cottonwood in 2009 where he joined the Cottonwood Community Band on tuba.

Dr. Sy Brandon

Brandon’s composing honors include first prizes in the WITF-FM's 25th Anniversary Composition Contest, the El Dorado Sacred Music Composition Contest, Franklin and Marshall College’s Wind Ensemble Composition Contest, the New England String Ensemble Composition Competition, the Quadre Composition Competition, the Hillcrest Wind Ensemble Composition Contest, and the Bassoon Chamber Music Competition. He has received commissions from organizations that include the Boise Philharmonic, York Symphony Orchestra, the Twentieth Moravian Music Festival, the Arizona Commission on the Arts to compose the band composition celebrating the Arizona Centennial during 2011-12, and the 2018 Thor Johnson Memorial Commission from the Delta Omicron Foundation. He received Honorable Mention in the 2016 American Prize for chamber music composition and has had live and broadcast performances of his throughout the United States and abroad, including performances by the United States Army, Navy, and Air Force Bands. His music is recorded by the Czech National Symphony Orchestra on the Albany Records Label and the Philharmonia Bulgarica and the Kiev Philharmonic on the ERM Label.


Brandon has authored two books on music: A Composer’s Guide To Understanding Music in 2005 and Dr. B’s Music Practice Guide in 2015.



The Cottonwood Community Band will help celebrate our Verde River at 10:00 AM on September 28, 2019 at Dead Horse Ranch State Park in Cottonwood.  Arizona State Parks will waive the park entrance fees for all visitors attending this 31st annual event. All of the activities are at no cost, thanks to the many exhibitors and sponsors.
The Cottonwood Community Band, Verde Valley Voices, Dave Joslin and the Jerome Ukulele Orchestra are part of the wide range of entertainment throughout the day. Some of the day's events include a climbing wall, organized canoe and kayak rides, sand castle building, and nature-based exhibits. Guests of all ages are welcome to fish in the lagoon that is loaded with hundreds of pounds of catfish. Poles, bait and tackle are provided for all ages. No fishing license is needed 8am - noon. Enjoy the best pancake breakfast. Non-Profit Food vendors will be cooking up hot dogs, Hamburgers and more for nominal fees. Cash only.
See live birds and reptiles and enjoy guided Bird Walks throughout the day.
Verde River Day was organized in 1989 to promote awareness of the Verde River's distinctive riparian habitat and showcase informative exhibits on the Verde's unique riparian habitat.

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