Dave Wilber’s one of the hardest-working music teachers in the Syracuse area.
After more than 30 years in the Skaneateles Central School District and more than 20 years at the helm of CNY Jazz Central’s scholastic programs, Wilber has been named outstanding jazz educator of the year by the CNY Jazz Arts Foundation.
Wilber will be honored at CNY Jazz Central’s Hot Latin Cabaret, set for May 5 at the Sheraton Syracuse University Hotel, 801 University Ave., in Syracuse.
The director of Skaneateles’ middle- school concert and jazz bands, Wilber has served as president of the Onondaga County Music Educators Association and is presently the group’s secretary. He’s also executive director and acting president of the New York State Band Directors Association.
His colleagues know Wilber as a tireless workhorse.
“Whenever there’s a tough job to be done, Dave Wilber’s there stepping in to take care of it,” said Jim Spadafore, the recently retired band director from Liverpool who was named outstanding jazz educator in 2007. “Dave’s a really hard worker.”
A trumpeter who often performs in the pit orchestras for Skaneateles High School and Skaneateles Summer Theater productions, Wilber appreciates the company in which he now finds himself.
Since 2006, CNY Jazz Central has honored one jazz educator for excellence in teaching, mentorship and jazz appreciation. Past recipients were Jerry Santy in 2006, Jim Spadafore in 2007, Joe Riposo in 2008, Joe Colombo in 2009, Stan Colella in 2010, Angelo Candela – also from Skaneateles – in 2011 and Joe Carello in 2012.
“I’m humbled to be recognized, especially knowing all the previous winners,” Wilber said. “To be on the list with those other winners is a real honor for me.”
At Skaneateles, Wilber uses a working-band philosophy to develop the jazz program, annually providing students with public performance opportunities. His jazz bands have showcased at the Syracuse Jazz Festival, Seneca Falls Pageant of Bands, Hank Bryant Jazz Festival, Syracuse Crunch games, The Junior League of Syracuse Holiday Shoppes, Fingerlakes Mall, Skaneateles Dickens Christmas Celebration and Skaneateles High School hockey and basketball games.