Submitted by the Niagara River Region Chamber of Commerce
The Niagara River Region Chamber of Commerce will recognize 10 area individuals and businesses at its annual Chamber Awards Gala, Friday, May 17, at the Niagara Falls Country Club in Lewiston.
In addition to the tributes, the annual event will feature an evening of live music, a silent auction, table wines donated by local wineries and businesses, hors d'oeuvres and a sit-down dinner.
Youngstown Citizen of the Year
Claudia Andres was chosen by Mayor Raleigh Reynolds as recipient of the 2013 Youngstown Citizen of the Year award. Andres has been instrumental in helping provide quality programming for Youngstown, from musical programs to the annual Christmas in the Village event.
Andres received her B.M. in music education from the Crane School of Music, and her M.M. in piano from Arizona State University. She is a choral instructor at Wilson High School where she has taught for the past eight years, having been associated with the Niagara Falls School District prior to Wilson.
Andres organized the "Sing for the Cure" program with Linda Werder from Niagara Falls High School, raising more than $3,000 for breast cancer research. The event will be held again this October. Also scheduled in October is the formation of the Three Nations Choir, which Andres is currently organizing with choirs from the U.S., Canada, and the Tuscarora Nation. Additional music activities include the Ladies First Big Band and the Jerry Andres Band, which has performed at many local events, as well as the Youngstown Concert Series.
Andres also serves as music director at the First Presbyterian Church in Youngstown.
As music has been a big part of her life, both as an educator and performer, it was a natural progression for her to bring more music into the Youngstown community through her work at the church. Programs such as the "Second Saturday" concert series have showcased both local and regional talent and are free to the public. Along with choral and instrumental groups at the church, there has also been a growth in plays, musicals and other special productions that Andres has directed. Having the musicals and plays at the church has brought many people from different church congregations from the area to work together.
Serving on the Youngstown Recreation Commission, Andres worked to develop the community room at the Village Center. Andres was also responsible for some of the major changes in the Youngstown Christmas in the Village event over the past few years, growing it into a community event for all ages. Working with the Youngstown businesses and village officials, the holiday showcase has grown into an event featuring musicians, crafts for children, vendors, carriage rides, businesses hosting open house events, and much more. Andres has helped to bring together many of Youngstown's civic organizations and residents to host an event that the community really looks forward to each year.
Andres has noticed an increase in community participation in events and programs to benefit Youngstown. From the annual "Here Comes Summer" street dance, to the Youngstown Community Picnic as well as activities at Old Fort Niagara, she has noticed more people working with each other to enjoy what Youngstown has to offer.
In her spare time, Andres enjoys sewing, sailing, gardening, cooking, traveling and rehabilitating old homes with her husband, Dr. Jerome Andres. They are currently working on restoring an old house on Oneida Street, built in 1826 in the Village of Lewiston. Together, Claudia and Jerome have six children, Ian (Jennifer) Zerby, Adam (Bethany) Zerby, Nick Zerby, Halley Andres (Jay), Peter Andres and Sarah Andres, along with two grandchildren, Evan and Zachary.
"Claudia Andres has been nominated because she is a very dedicated, community-minded individual. Whenever there is any community-related activity, you can always count on Claudia to be there, ready and willing to help," Mayor Reynolds said.
The Village of Youngstown and the Niagara River Region Chamber of Commerce are grateful for Claudia Andres' dedication to the community and are proud to honor her as the 2013 Village of Youngstown Citizen of the Year.