About Us


Oneonta Concert Association is the area’s oldest concert association. Now in its 96th season, OCA continues to offer area concertgoers world-class programs in chamber music, dance, jazz & blues, orchestra, and traditional music, all at an affordable price. It all started in 1928, when representatives from New York City’s Community Concerts came to Oneonta to discuss plans to bring quality concerts to communities across the U.S. The first concert was on February 13, 1929. Hundreds of acclaimed programs have followed. Read Oneonta City Historian Mark Simonson’s account of OCA’s beginnings here: https://oneontaconcertassociation.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/12/OCA-75th-Reprint-by-Mark-Simonson.pdf In 2013, City of Oneonta, NY, Mayor Richard Miller honored OCA with a Mayoral Proclamation recognizing OCA’s 85th anniversary and its mission in the community.



OCA has grown since its inception, partnering with many area businesses and sponsors to provide the best possible programming, and with several venues to offer audiences a variety of concert experiences.  Yet the mission remains the same as in the beginning: To bring to the public “big city” offerings at an affordable price. The season schedule currently offers five concerts: usually three in the fall and two the following spring. OCA’s Young Artists Program debuted in 2012; the program highlights the talents of young area musicians in a short opening performance before each featured concert.  OCA also offers free public workshops, and presentations for area school children when possible in conjunction with the season’s scheduled concert artists.  OCA has also collaborated for several years with local schools on Arts Field Day, a community project celebrating the performing arts in the schools.



Income from advance season subscription sales, a major source of revenue, allows OCA to book artists for the current season and plan for the next.  Everyone is invited to subscribe to the five-concert season series.  See the Tickets/Subscriptions page on this website for details, including special offers and discounts, and to subscribe online via PayPal.  To subscribe by mail, use the subscription form in the season brochure, or download and print the form on this website from the link at the bottom of the Tickets/Subscriptions page. Concertgoers may buy single concert tickets in advance at four local ticket outlets in downtown Oneonta: The Green Toad Bookstore, 198 Main Street; The Eighth Note music store, 10 South Main Street; the Green Earth Market, 4 Market Street; and Mountain Jam Guitars, 145 Main St.; and now also in Cooperstown at Cooperstown Natural Foods, 61 Linden Avenue.  Tickets are also sold at the door before each concert.  Single tickets are $25 for adults; $10 for students age 10 and older.  Children age 9 and under, free.  See the Tickets/Single Tickets page on this website for further details and to buy tickets online via PayPal. While we attempt to present all programs as scheduled, OCA events are subject to change.  OCA holds all events in barrier-free facilities.  For questions about concert access, contact OCA by email at oneonta_concert_association@yahoo.com, or leave a message by phone at (607) 267-6968.



OCA History

In the summer of 1928, two representatives from a New York City group called Community Concerts visited Oneonta to discuss bringing quality concerts to cities throughout the United States. They approached Ethel Mills, an interested Oneonta musician, who became enthusiastic about the idea. She asked local volunteers to sell memberships in what became the Oneonta Community Concert Association.  A board of directors was established, with lumber businessman Roscoe C. Briggs elected as president, and with Ethel Mills herself on the board.

The former Oneonta High School auditorium on Academy Street was the site of OCA's first concert in 1929.

The auditorium at the former Oneonta High School on Academy Street was the site of OCA’s first concert.

FIRST CONCERT: The first concert was in February 1929 at the then-junior high school, formerly on Academy Street in Oneonta. The Russian Symphonic Choir was first to perform.  Some notable concerts that followed were: baritone Lawrence Tibbett (later a Metropolitan Opera star); Don Cossack’s Men’s Choir; tenor Paul Althouse; the Hall Johnson Choir; tenor Nino Martini; and cellist Gregor Piatigorsky. By the late 1930s, membership growth required a larger hall, and concerts were moved to Oneonta State College’s Old Main building, and also to Hartwick College. One noted artist to appear during this period was pianist Joseph HoffmanDorothy Maynor, a soprano, and violinist Mischa Elman also performed.  Many of OCA’s members dressed formally for concerts, and younger members served as ushers, also in formal attire. Even during World War II the Association was able to present fine artists, such as duo pianists Bartlett and Robinson; bass-baritone Paul Robeson; tenor James Melton; the Trapp Family Singers (on whose lives “The Sound of Music” was based); pianist Rudolf Firkusny; and the De Paur Chorus. In 1941-42, the Association presented a symphony orchestra for the first time. Since then, some of the greatest American orchestras have performed here: the Indianapolis, Rochester, Pittsburgh, Minneapolis, and Washington National Symphonies; the Buffalo Philharmonic; the Symphonic Orchestra of Brazil; and the Stuttgart Chamber Orchestra. Concerts during the 1940s also included pianist Jorge Bolet; vocal duo Todd Duncan and Camilla Williams; mezzo-soprano Rise Stevens; the Roger Wagner Chorale; organist Virgil Fox; and the Juilliard String Quartet. The 1950s and 1960s brought Metropolitan Opera contralto Mildred Miller; pianists Samuel Lippman and Charles Rosen; and Paul Doktor, viola. Since 1964, concerts have been held at Oneonta High School; the State University College at Oneonta; the First United Methodist Church on Chestnut Street in Oneonta; the Oneonta Theatre; and Foothills Performing Arts & Civic Center.

     PROGRAMMING EXPANDS: In 1977 the Association ended a 50-year alliance with Columbia Artists’ Community Concerts, and dropped the word “Community” from its name.  Over time, Oneonta Concert Association become known simply as OCA. As an independent non-profit, OCA could bring in artists from any management (including Columbia), which greatly expanded the talent available. The change also required that OCA rely on its own resources to bring live, quality programs to the public. At the same time, OCA decided to stop calling itself a “membership” organization, selling season subscriptions and single tickets instead. Programming expanded during the mid-1970s to include dance, jazz, folk, and other artists. Dance companies appearing have included: The Royal Winnipeg Ballet; Ohio Ballet; Alwin Nikolais Dance Theater; Jose Greco;  Joffrey II; Alvin Ailey Repertory Ensemble; Momix; Mummenschanz; Ballet National du Senegal; The Tamburitzans; and Taylor 2. Jazz artists Charlie Byrd, James DePogny’s Chicago Jazz, the Count Basie Orchestra, Hank Jones, Marian McPartland, and Ron Carter’s Golden Striker Trio have also performed. Some of our more recent guest artists have included Grammy-winning violinist/composer Mark O’Connor with the Catskill Symphony Orchestra; The Boston Chamber Music SocietyTaylor 2 dance company; Scotland’s legendary Battlefield Band; violinist Tim Fain in an innovative multi-media event; classical string siblings Duo Parnas; premier men’s vocal group Cantus; New York’s Manhattan Brass; Renaissance music from The Baltimore Consort; music on period instruments from Rebel Baroque Ensemble; rising young violin sensation Tessa Lark; jazz from multi-instrumentalist and composer Chris Brubeck & Triple PlayThe Vanaver Caravan celebrating Pete Seeger’s 100th birthday with music, dance, song, and historical multi-media; and our own local clarinetist Robin Seletsky with her klezmer band The Big Galut(e).  Concerts from other notable Oneonta-area outstanding musicians have included world-renowned sitarist Roop Verma in his final concert along with son Arjun Verma, now also making a name for himself as a sitarist, composer, and educator.

   (OCA history courtesy of Paul Scheele; updates added by Kathy Shimberg)



Board of Directors


OCA is a non-profit organization governed by a volunteer Board of Directors from Oneonta and surrounding communities.

We are looking for new members to join the Board of Directors.  If you’re interested, email us at oneonta_concert_association@yahoo.com or leave a message at (607) 267-6968.  Other volunteers for OCA activities are always welcome too.

Board Members:
  • Dan Buttermann, President
  • TBD, Vice President
  • TBD, Secretary
  • TBD, Treasurer
  • Sue Beames
  • Jim Ipsen
  • Cheryl Johnson
  • Randy Palada
  • Bruce Ressner
  • Mary Ressner
  • Martha Robinson
  • Kathy Shimberg
  • Dona Siregar
Emeritus Board Members:
  • Larry Armstrong
  • Tom Austin
  • Muriel Beattie
  • Lucy Bernier
  • Christine Bulson
  • Tina Chrislip
  • Paul Conway
  • Sandy Fleisher
  • Olga Zona Irwin
  • Fred Johnson
  • Diana Kang
  • Bruce Knauer
  • Katherine Kotz
  • H. Laverne Thomas