2017 Legacy Award Recipients

2017 Honorable Gerald D. Jennings Backstage Award:

Noel Ottery Liberty, The Music Studio

As founder and director of The Music Studio, Noel Liberty created, established, and developed the educational programs of The Music Studio, as well as wrote the books used in the Music Fundamentals curriculum. She also designed and developed new curricula for students from ages 2 to 92, recognizing that the love of music begins much earlier than most realize and truly never ends. Mrs. Liberty has a Bachelor of Music degree from DePauw University and a Master of Music degree in piano pedagogy from the College of Saint Rose. A performer of piano, organ, and harpsichord literature, she has been accompanist and organist/director for several area churches and choral groups. She is a certified Orff teacher and nationally certified by the Music Teachers National Association at the professional level in both piano and preschool music. A member of the American Orff-Schulwerk Association and the National Guild of Piano Teachers, Mrs. Liberty has been an officer at both the state and local levels of the New York State Music Teachers Association. The Albany-Colonie Chamber of Commerce has honored Mrs. Liberty with the Women of Excellence award for Distinguished Career, and, for its millennial 100 Women of Excellence celebration, named her one of the 100 women who has contributed the most to the Capital District.

The Backstage Award will honors the service, accomplishments and contributions to the Albany Arts community by Gerald D. Jennings. The award is given to a venue or individual that supports the endeavors of other Arts organizations and therefore enhances the quality of life in our region. In addition, to recognize Mr. Jennings' many years in Education, there is a scholarship or award given annually to assist a City of Albany Arts program or student focusing on performing, fine or culinary arts.

2017 Karen Smith Sfara Ovation Award:

Ruth Pelham, The Music Mobile

Music Mobile was founded in 1977 by Ruth Pelham a singer, songwriter and educator to bring learning and love to the neighborhoods of Albany, NY. Forty years and hundreds of neighborhoods later, Music Mobile has served tens of thousands of diverse people of all ages in the United States and across the world. Through innovative educational programs, learning and training materials, and original songs, Music Mobile continues to build peaceful communities and empower individuals to be responsible local and global citizens in a world greatly in need of hope and possibility. Ruth’s music touches the heart, reflects the full integrity of the human spirit and brings to the world a fresh vision of world peace and social change.

The Ovation Award honors the memory of Founding Member Karen Smith-Sfara. Karen was a pioneer in the wine industry and paved the way for women to gain entry into this field. Karen was instrumental in bringing the Albany Chefs' Food and Wine Festival to fruition. The only thing that outweighed her passion and professionalism was her kindness and generosity. The Ovation Award is given to a Capital Region outstanding patron or organization demonstrating a significant contribution to the Arts in the City of Albany, through dedication of time, talent, expertise and/or personal financial contribution.