The OCC Effect: Dominic Tibbetts II ‘16

Dominic Tibbetts II on set at his new home in Montana

High School: West Genesee

The only thing Dominic Tibbetts ever wanted to be was a sports broadcaster. A visit to Onondaga Community College’s Electronic Media Communications (EMC) program piqued his interest. “The faculty I spoke with really knew the business. Many still work in the industry so when I added their experience to the latest technology provided in the program I was immediately sold.”

While at OCC, Tibbetts was able to partner with a friend on a local radio show through the College’s web platform, “Supermix” and took advantage of sports internship opportunities through WSYR TV, NewsChannel 9 and CNY Central. The internships were invaluable because their sports anchors and reporters, Steve Infanti, Niko Tamurian and Matt Hauswirth were all very gracious with their time and interest in his development. Tamurian and Hauswirth were also OCC graduates and Tamurian was an adjunct instructor in the EMC major as well. “All the professors in the program were great. Niko willingly took time to develop my talents and went out of his way to harness my interest in sports to become the professional I am today.”

Dominic Tibbetts II with his familiy (L-R) father Dominic, sister Madelynn and mom Rosalee

After OCC, Tibbetts attended Ithaca College where he continued his broadcast journalism studies and interned in Los Angeles for a semester. During his final semester he applied for jobs across the country. “I sent out 41 tapes to places I had never heard of and was fortunate enough to get a call from KXLF in Butte, Montana which ultimately led to be my current job.” Tibbetts has settled right in to his new home and has added his knowledge of other sports such as rodeos and skijoring to his resume, which have been fascinating opportunities for him.

While his goal is to work for a network, he appreciates where he is and is enjoying his journey in a field that he loves. “Working in the business is a dream come true and I cannot thank OCC and the faculty enough for molding me into the well-rounded person I am today – the choice to start there truly was a great decision for me and I will be forever grateful for what they did for me.”

The OCC Effect: Dr. Kristin Bacchiocchi-Stewart

Dr. Kristin Bacchiocchi-Stewart attended Monroe-Woodbury High School in Orange County, New York and her passion for the flute originated at a young age. Her Mom had played it extensively and handed down her instrument when her daughter entered the 4th grade. She has never looked back. “I loved playing because it was something my mom and I shared and my talent allowed me to gain confidence to branch out into other interests.” Stewart would go on to participate in dance and cross country/track while always keeping up with her flute related activities and performances. When she began looking at colleges her first love was dance. A serious leg injury sustained in a car accident the summer of her junior year ended the dream of dancing.

Music became her Plan B. Despite being accepted to several four-year schools based on her talent her grades were not good enough. Her guidance counselor told her she would never attend college, let alone graduate. By this time she was well into her senior year and thought she was out of options. Her choral teacher, Ron Johnson, told her about his alma mater, Onondaga Community College and its signature Music program. Stewart quickly researched OCC and her mother set up an interview and audition with Flute Instructor, Selma Moore. “I fell in love with the campus right away and Selma accepted me on the spot. I realized then that my dreams of furthering my interest in music were no longer just out of my grasp, but very much a reality.” Stewart would immerse herself in the fraternity of fellow music students and in the College as she began to excel academically while becoming one of the premiere student performers. She would go on to serve as a tutor as well, which would unknowingly lay the groundwork for her love of instruction.

Dr. Stewart (second from left) with The Lyra Ensemble at the OCC Recital Hall.

After graduating from OCC Stewart had her pick of four-year institutions. She chose to attend Ithaca College, then moved onto the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music for her Master’s Degree before completing her Doctorate in Musical Arts Degree from The Peabody Institute of the Johns Hopkins University. “My time at OCC was tremendous and had such an impact on me that when I found out my first teaching job would be at Schenectady Community College it reminded me of the influential, nurturing experience I had as a student. To walk on that campus as an instructor and be able to give back and contribute to the SUNY System was very special to me.”

Today, Stewart is the principal flute for the New Jersey Wind Symphony and is a member of the Lyra Ensemble. She is also the Founder and Director of The Flute Academy where she continues her love of teaching, performing and mentoring aspiring flute players ranging in the age and talents from 7 years old to 70! “Teaching means the world to me. I come alive and often think back to my time at OCC and implement the same compassion and love for music that I was shown while attending classes there.” Stewart lives in New Jersey with her family where her young children have shown interest in music; her son with percussion and guitar and her daughter with the flute!


Signature Music Camp

Dick Ford leads students through a sight reading class during Signature Music Camp.
Dick Ford leads students through a sight reading class during Signature Music Camp.

The next generation of student-musicians spent part of their summer on campus attending the prestigious Signature Music Camp. Students interested in pursuing higher education and a career in music came to OCC from as close as Central New York and as far away as California.

Camp attendees received training in both small and large groups. High school-aged students participated in a two-week session, and middle school-aged students enrolled in a one-week program. The entire staff was made up of former campers, several of whom now teach music in public schools. Instruction was based in the new Academic II building anchored by the College’s Music program. The structure spans a nearly 60-feet high gorge and contains a 150-seat recital hall, an instrument and choral rehearsal room, practice rooms, and smart classrooms. Campers lived in the College’s modern, air-conditioned residence halls.

“Coming here was a great way to grow musically,” said Molly Ross, a high school sophomore from Danbury, Connecticut. “You were surrounded by people who were as excited about music as you. It was a wonderful experience!”

Liam Lipsky, a senior from Tully High School, attended his fifth Signature Music Camp this summer. “I enjoy coming every year and meeting new people. Everyone wants to be your friend. We all have great relationships with each other. It’s a fun time and a great environment.”

The OCC campus and Academic II building were very popular with students. “It was really amazing here. We were all so excited to be here and see the facilities. It’s a beautiful building and college,” said Sarah Meemken, a junior at Averill Park High School in the Albany area.

Signature Music Camp was founded by Dick Ford, a former school superintendent who opened a music studio on Syracuse’s Near West Side to help local high school students. In the camp’s 22 years, more than 300 alumni have pursued music in college, and many are now teaching music throughout the country.

“Onondaga Community College is highly respected in New York State by music educators,” said Ford. “The College’s Music program has a long history of educating students and preparing them for transfer to outstanding schools like SUNY Potsdam, SUNY Fredonia, Ithaca College, and Syracuse University, where they can pursue a baccalaureate degree. With its new Academic II building, OCC is now a showcase for students and parents considering a high quality, undergraduate education.”

More information on Signature Music Camp is available at or by calling (315) 478-7840.