Alvera Sylvester studied piano with concert pianist Robert Guralnik and went on to graduate from SUNY Fredonia with a major in music and concentrations in piano, voice and theatre. She continued her studies at various universities and in NYC with Phil Black and Frank Hatchett in dance, Ron Defesi on voice and Shep Coleman in conducting. She recently retired after teaching voice, chorus, theory, theatre, and dance at Port Jervis High School where her focus was to share her love of all styles of music while elevating her students quality of performance. The music program and its’ participants have received the highest honors and many of her students have gone on to pursue professional careers in many different music venues.
She has been a guest clinician for a variety of workshops on subjects including Vocal Jazz, Musical Theatre Production, and Vocal Health. She has been a guest conductor and/or accompanist for many NYS All-County Elementary, Junior High and High School Choirs, Area All-State Choirs, and the Tri-State Youth Choir. Alvera has also spent several seasons as the guest conductor in residence for the Eastern US Music Camp at Colgate NY. Her professional theatre experience spans the summerstock and regional theatre companies as a performer, director or accompanist and she was also known in the tri-state region as an arranger/performer for a commercial “pop” group called RubyQueen, a vocal jazz quartet called Tuxedo Junction and a classical string trio called Trio Seria. She worked with the Rawson Ad company singing jingles, had her own classical radio program called Sunday Symphony and worked for two seasons in NYC as musical director for an off-Broadway Theatre company called “Tada!”. In 2002 she is most proud to have been invited to the Shanghai Conservatory of Music in China to assist formulating the country’s first University Theatre Program. Alvera is excited to be part of the staff of the Black Bear Conservatory and to continue to work with students of all ages.