U.S. banjo-playing champion Drew Frech will make a return visit to Oneonta for an appearance on the Hewitt Pantaleoni Concert Series at the State University College at Oneonta. The concert will be held in the college’s Sanford Auditorium (better known on-campus as IRC Building, Room No. 3), at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday. It is a free, walk-in event, open to all, and neither tickets nor reservations are necessary.
Frech, who won the title of U.S. Champion as a result of a “playoff” at a competition sponsored by the U.S. Banjo association, at Carnegie Hall, will employ a lecture/demonstration/performance format for the program. He will be joined by his student Becky Schneider, who will accompany him on banjo and piano. The program will be built around a chorological history of the banjo, the instrument of African origin that has become a fixture in American folk music. Frech will perform on more than a dozen instruments from his collection of banjos, which represent one of the largest and most valuable private collections in the world, according to a media release. These will include his most recent acquisition, a banjo crafted in Baltimore in 1842.
Tuesday’s program will mark Frech’s third appearance on the Pantaleoni Series, which is presented by the Catskill Conservatory, in association with the SUNY Oneonta Music Department, and which honors the memory of Dr. Hewitt Pantaleoni, who taught at the college for many years.
A native of Philadelphia, Frech received a master’s degree in violin from the Eastman School of Music in Rochester. He lives in Sodus, from where he combines a career in performance and teaching on banjo and violin. He is a longtime member of the first violin section of the Catskill Symphony Orchestra, as well as a number of other upstate New York orchestras and chamber-music ensembles.
Additional information about the concert may be obtained by calling the conservatory, at 436-3419.