Another Musical Nugget In Jamestown’s Goldmine of Talent

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The Allegany Chamber Players are, from left Cody Hiller, violin; Joanna Nordland, violin; Katie Ferrie, viola; and Mariana Mathewson, cello.

Contributing Writer
Robert Houston

Jamestown is home to more talent in more things — music, sports, comedy, politics (although some people consider politics and comedy to be the same thing), business, education — than most towns its size.
Now, Cody Hiller, a violinist, and his chamber music ensemble have added one more nugget to the community’s goldmine of talent.
Hiller founded the Allegany Chamber Players this past summer. The group gave its first series of performances in September. Plans are underway for a new concert season to begin in the spring.
“We have our sights set on March for the string quartet and April for the piano quartet,” Hiller said.
The group is a dozen members strong at the moment, but anyone interested in perform as part of a small ensemble is welcome to contact Hiller. Right now, there are three different ensembles — a string quartet, a piano quartet (which is not four pianos, as some folks might expect, but one piano and a string trio), and a clarinet quartet.
“Basically, we could use anything, but we especially need wind players,” Hiller said. “Our goal is to keep the group to small ensembles. We aren’t trying to compete with the excellent orchestras in the area.”

How It Got Started

Hiller is a Frewsburg native who had been living and working in Chicago. There, he obtained his Master’s Degree in Violin Performance.
Last summer, he said, like so many local residents who moved away and then returned, “I came back to Jamestown to reestablish myself.” He quickly found work teaching at Infinity Visual and Performing Arts. “And I found some amazing musicians, people who are as enthusiastic about chamber music as I am. We started playing together, and the result is the Allegany Chamber Players.”

Why Chamber Music?

“One of my driving forces is that I’ve always loved chamber music over all other forms,” Hiller said. “Here, in Jamestown, there’s a lot going in the arts, but there are not a lot of major concerts. We want to perform symphony-size chamber works for both the Jamestown and Warren communities. And we’re hoping to expand on that.”
As an example of the music Hiller and his group present, he mentioned Mendelssohn’s String Quartet No. 2 in A minor.
“It’s thirty-five minutes of fireworks and emotion, and it ends with this brutal movement that is daunting to play. As you’re performing the first parts of the work, you have to prepare yourself to get through the final movement — it’s that powerful.”
But, Hiller said, “It’s great fun to perform.”

Free Admission

The various ensembles have been performing most of their programs at St. Luke’s Episcopal Church in Jamestown and at First Lutheran Church in Warren.
“Those are our main venues at the moment,” Hiller said. “But we’re looking for other places to perform.”
He said the Players have their sights set on Olean and Buffalo. But one of their main goals is to perform at the Amphitheater at Chautauqua Institution.
So far, admission has been free to all performances.
“But we do appreciate a donation to help pay the musicians,” Hiller said.
Right now, he said, “The important thing is for people to be aware we’re here. Our primary desire is to serve the the needs of our community first.”
The Allegany Chamber Players will continue presenting public concerts, but, Hiller said, “We’re also available for parties, wedding receptions, or private recitals.”
The group can be reached at cody.hiller1993@gmail.com.