Jack Ay ’74 • Erica Gionfriddo ’06 • Jeremiah Shaw ’11
David McCormick ’01, ’03, ’09 • Dan Merceruio ’06 • Stephanie York Dorrycott ’09
Shenandoah Conservatory announces the recipients of the 2017 Shenandoah Conservatory Alumni Awards. This year, six alumni from an array of performing arts disciplines have been chosen by conservatory faculty and leadership to receive one of two awards—the Alumnus of Excellence Award and the Rising Star Alumni Award.
“We’re delighted to honor these alumni who have proven to be leaders in their respective fields,” said Dean of Shenandoah Conservatory Michael Stepniak, Ed.D. “They have had an extraordinary impact on the arts and they serve as an inspiration for our faculty and students.”
The Shenandoah Conservatory Alumnus of Excellence Award is presented to alumni who have made exceptional contributions to their profession, attained a national level of prominence within their field, and demonstrated exceptional integrity. The 2017 recipients of the Shenandoah Conservatory Alumnus of Excellence Award are:
- Mr. Jack Ay ’74 (Bachelor of Music in Music Education)
- Ms. Erica Gionfriddo ’06 (Bachelor of Fine Arts in Dance)
- Mr. Jeremiah Shaw ’11 (Bachelor of Music in Music Production and Recording Technology)
The Shenandoah Conservatory Rising Star Alumni Award is presented to alumni who have already made significant contributions to their profession and show promise of becoming national-level stars within their field. The 2017 recipients of the Shenandoah Conservatory Rising Star Alumni Award are:
- Mr. David McCormick ’01, ’03, ’09 (Bachelor of Music in Music Education, Master of Music in Performance, Artist Diploma)
- Mr. Dan Merceruio ’06 (Bachelor of Music in Contemporary Commercial Music)
- Mrs. Stephanie York Dorrycott ’09 (Bachelor of Fine Arts in Dance)
A formal presentation to honor all 2017 Shenandoah Conservatory Alumni Award recipients will be made during the Celebration Luncheon on Saturday, April 1, beginning at noon in the Brandt Student Center, Ferrari Room. The Celebration Luncheon is presented as part of the 2017 Conservatory Alumni Reunion. Learn more about the 2017 Conservatory Alumni Reunion that will take place Friday, March 31, and Saturday, April 1, on the main campus of Shenandoah University here.
2017 Shenandoah Conservatory Alumnus Of Excellence Award Recipients
The Shenandoah Conservatory Alumnus of Excellence Award is presented to alumni who have made exceptional contributions to their profession, attained a national level of prominence within their field, and demonstrated exceptional integrity.
JACK AY was born in Baltimore, Maryland, and attended Perry Hall Senior High School. Under the tutelage of his choral teacher, Mark Dubbs, he was accepted to Peabody Conservatory Preparatory School and sang with the prep choir at the age of 15. From there, Ay went on to receive a Bachelor of Music at Shenandoah Conservatory and a Master of Music in vocal performance at Catholic University. In his senior year, he auditioned and was accepted as a member of the Washington National Opera Chorus. Ay has sung with every major choral group in the Washington, D.C., area. After teaching music for two years, he discovered that he was more interested in supporting music teachers than being a teacher himself. In 1993, he founded The Musical Source, a retail sheet music business in Washington, D.C., after briefly working for several music stores. During the next 22 years, Ay not only provided music for educators, directors and professional musicians, but he also sponsored numerous clinics and workshops throughout the mid-Atlantic region and around the country, bringing in renowned composers and conductors such as John Rutter, Moses Hogan and Westin Noble, just to name a few. He also initiated ACDA Voices United, an annual summer conference for teachers, students and lovers of singing. In 2016, the Virginia Choral Directors Association awarded him the Sidney Swigget Award for dedicated service to Virginia Choral Directors. Although Ay retired in 2017, he continues to consult and collaborate with musical organizations and sings professionally.
ERICA GIONFRIDDO received her Bachelor of Fine Arts cum laude in dance performance and choreography from Shenandoah Conservatory in 2006. During her time at Shenandoah, Gionfriddo performed professionally, toured in Spain and Taiwan and became certified in Pilates. Upon graduation, she joined the Moving People Dance Theatre in Santa Fe, New Mexico. While at Moving People Dance, Gionfriddo worked with choreographers including Robert Moses, Max Stone and Gail Gilbert. She later served as the school’s director, overseeing the pre-professional curriculum and mainstage productions. Gionfriddo’s somatic research led to certifications in GYROTONIC® and GYROKINESIS®. Her certifications allowed her to develop an intuitive teaching methodology for dance artists that cultivates longevity. In 2011, she co-founded ARCOS Dance in Austin, Texas. ARCOS Dance presents innovative multimedia performances to diverse audiences while also providing professional training and development for independent artists and youth. With ARCOS, she has served as a guest artist at INTERDANSA in Barcelona, Spain, Moorehead State University, Shenandoah Conservatory, Colorado College, Texas State University, Connecticut College, the University of Colorado Boulder and the University of North Texas. She also received residencies, awards and grants from organizations such as Playa Summerlake, Ucross Foundation, KHN Center for the Arts, B. Iden Payne Committee, Edinburgh Fringe, Rea Charitable Trust and the City of Austin. Gionfriddo is currently an adjunct lecturer in dance at University of Texas at Austin.
A Virginia native and cellist, JEREMIAH SHAW, was born into a musical family. Shaw is the son of Shenandoah Conservatory Professor of Cello Clyde T. Shaw, M.M., who is also a member of the Audubon String Quartet and is the group’s cellist. As an avid chamber musician, Jeremiah Shaw spent most of his summers at festivals like Kneisel Hall in Maine. He learned from members of the most prestigious and influential string quartets of in the United States such as the Audubon, Cleveland, Concord and Juilliard String Quartets. In 2013, Shaw founded a quartet of his own called the Telegraph Quartet in San Francisco, California. Within three years of being together, the quartet won the grand prize and gold medal at the Fischoff National Chamber Music Competition. The quartet was named the recipient of the Walter W. Naumburg Chamber Music Award for 2016, which included a commission by composer Robert Sirota to be premiered at Carnegie Hall. Shaw is also involved with other projects including a co-commission of John Harbison’s sixth quartet along with Lark Quartet, Ariel Quartet and the Tanglewood Music Center. Shaw has attained performance degrees from the Cleveland Institute of Music and The Juilliard School, as well as a bachelor’s degree in music production and recording technology from Shenandoah University. While at Shenandoah, Shaw had the unique opportunity of interning for the Grammy Award-winning classical music label Sono Luminus. His principal cello teachers include Richard Aaron and Joel Krosnick.
2017 Shenandoah Conservatory Rising Stars Alumni Award Recipients
The Shenandoah Conservatory Rising Star Alumni Award is presented to alumni who have already made significant contributions to their profession and show promise of becoming national-level stars within their field.
Early music specialist DAVID McCORMICK performs regularly on both violin and vielle (medieval fiddle) and is in demand as an educator and arts leader. He is a founding artistic director of Charlottesville-based baroque ensemble Three Notch’d Road. This group has performed at Dumbarton Oaks and at the Waterford Concert Series and has been awarded grants by the Virginia Commission for the Arts and Early Music America. McCormick is also a founding member of Alkemie, a five-member medieval ensemble based in New York City. This season, he begins his role as executive director of the Shenandoah Valley Bach Festival, where he will also appear as featured violin soloist for the opening concert of the 25th anniversary season. McCormick maintains an active private violin and viola studio and serves as president of the Charlottesville Music Teachers Association. He previously taught strings classes for Prince William County Schools and has served as an adjudicator and clinician throughout the region. McCormick holds a Bachelor of Music in Music Education (’01), a Master of Music in Violin Performance (’03) and an Artist Diploma in String Quartet Studies (’09) from Shenandoah Conservatory. He also holds a Master of Arts in Early Music Performance Practice (’09) from Case Western Reserve University.
DAN MERCERUIO is a two-time Grammy Award nominee for Producer of the Year, Classical, and winner of a Latin Grammy in the category of Best Classical Album. Merceruio has produced more than 130 albums and projects for commercial release and television broadcast, with widely varied instrumentation configurations ranging from solo piano, lute duet, string quartet and wind quintet, to a cappella vocal ensemble, chamber orchestra, symphonic and woodwind band, as well as full symphonic orchestra with added chorus. He has produced and collaborated with such renowned artists and composers as the Iceland Symphony Orchestra, the American Contemporary Music Ensemble, International Contemporary Ensemble, Anna Thorvaldsdottir, the Skylark Vocal Ensemble, Spektral Quartet, Bruce Levingston, Jory Vinikour, Ying Quartet, Ronn McFarlane and Ayreheart, Lara Downes, Peter Gregson, Stewart Goodyear, the West Point Bands at the United States Military Academy and many others. Merceruio graduated from Shenandoah University in 2006 with a bachelor’s degree in commercial music with an instrumental emphasis on classical vocal performance, and a classical/jazz piano minor.
STEPHANIE L. DORRYCOTT, a native of the Washington, D.C., area, has been integrated into dance for as long as she can remember. Dorrycott performed professionally with Dancin’ Unlimited Jazz Company in Fairfax, Virginia, for four years, in addition to freelancing with other D.C.-based artists. She received her Bachelor of Fine Arts in dance from Shenandoah University in 2009, earning the Excellence in Choreography Award upon graduation. She was awarded the Monticello Award through Regional Dance America for best emerging choreography in 2011 and attended the CRAFT of Choreography Conference on a full scholarship. Dorrycott founded her professional company, Motion X Dance DC, in 2013 with the mission of expanding the audience for dance in the community. Her work on Motion X has received accolades from reviewers in DC Metro Theater Arts, DC Theatre Scene, The Huffington Post, Washington City Paper and DC Dance Journalism Project. The company has performed at Capital Fringe Festival, Atlas Intersections Festival, TEDx Herndon and, most recently, The John F. Kennedy Center’s Millennium Stage. Dorrycott is currently the associate director for the Greater Washington Dance Center in Reston, Virginia and an instructor at the Metropolitan School of the Arts in Alexandria, Virginia.