Skip to main content
North Syracuse - click for home

ARTSTARS is an Arts advocacy group celebrating the past, promoting the present and preserving the future for the students of the North Syracuse Central School District.

ARTSTARS: is comprised of teachers, parents, and community members.
ARTSTARS: supports the concept that the Fine Arts are an integral part of a child’s well-rounded education.
ARTSTARS: expects the children of this community to be afforded the opportunity to experience personal growth in art, dance, music, and theater.
ARTSTARS: works to fund
student Fine Arts scholarships
ARTSTARS: meets, at 7pm, the 2nd Tuesday of each month.

Congratulations to the 2012 Artstars Fine Arts Hall of Fame inductees:
Dr. Jerome F. Melvin,
Joanne Dinoff, and
David Champouillan


ARTSTARS is looking for talented people to be nominated for induction into the North Syracuse Central Schools’ Fine Arts Hall of Fame. The Fine Arts include the Visual Arts, Dance, Drama, and/or Music.  Individuals can be nominated from the following areas: Alumni who graduated at least 20 years prior to being nominated and have distinguished careers within an area of the Fine Arts.  Mentors are former teachers, instructors, and administrators who have influenced the Fine Arts programs and motivated students to do their best in their chosen field.  Contributors are those people, behind the Fine Arts’ scene, who have donated their time and have shown outstanding support for the success of Fine Arts students and their programs.

We are looking for graduates who have been out of school for at least twenty years and have distinguished themselves in the field of fine arts...including graphic arts, dance, fine art, drama and music, among other things.  Mentors are former teachers and instructors that have influenced the programs at North Syracuse and motivated students to do their best in their chosen field. Contributors are the people behind the scenes that donate their time to make programs successful and students succeed.

Inductees are recognized at a ceremony each June. 

Current Fine Arts Hall of Fame Members are listed below


Fine Arts Hall of Fame Lifetime Achievement:

Richard Gere (North Syracuse 1967)


Fine Arts Hall of Fame Alumni:

Herbert Flower (North Syracuse 1961)

George Coble (North Syracuse 1966)

Lee Thornburg, Sandra Church (Cicero 1972)

Marian Baker (North Syracuse 1973)

Dominic Catalano (North Syracuse 1974)

John Manders (Cicero 1975)

Terence Doherty (North Syracuse 1977)

Scott Rohrbacher, posthumously (Cicero 1977)

David Bamonte (North Syracuse 1978)

David Spier (Cicero 1983)

Christa Cocciole (Cicero-North Syracuse 1988)


Fine Arts Hall of Fame Contributors:

Christine Fix
Bill and Barb Irwin
Marian Lillie
Bob and Ginnie Lougnot


Fine Arts Hall of Fame Mentors:

In Art: John DiGesare, Marcia Ferber, Beth Patri

In Music: Ray Elwood, *Ralph Mattola, Burt Dunlap, Fred Haag, *Bob Codner, *Elliot Topalian

In Theater: Steve Mouton

* indicates posthumously

If you know of anyone who might fit into one of these three categories and are deserving of being recognized please download a nomination form via the link below.  

Artstars Chairperson - Terry Caviness - 451-2254,


Previous Honoree Biographies:
JIM WARD - A 1975 graduate of Cicero High School, Jim Ward was a featured soloist, Conference All-State member and studied trumpet with Elliot Topalian. He attended OCC and the University of Miami. Since graduation, Jim has worked as a professional musician in Atlantic City, NJ and Philadelphia, PA. He is the co-leader in the Ed Vezinho-Jim Ward Big Band. To date his band has successfully produced three CDs. As lead trumpeter Jim has worked with Frank Sinatra, Tony Bennett, Harry Connick Jr., Kenny Rogers, Jerry Seinfeld, Vanessa Williams, Aretha Franklin, Diana Ross, and the 2000 Republican National Convention.

ELLIOT J. TOPALIAN - Elliot is an Army Veteran and a graduate of Syracuse University. He retired in 1995 from North Syracuse Central Schools where he was Associate Director of Music at CNS High School. He studied trumpet with Pedro Lozano and Sidney Mear. He performed as a lead trumpet player for Milton Berle, Jimmy Durante, Connie Francis, Nat King Cole, Jerry Vale, Tony Bennett, The Platters, Engelbert Humperdink, Sammy Davis Jr., Martha Raye, Louis Armstrong, Lou Rawls, Sergio Franki, Paul Anka, Bobby Darin, and others. He taught many successful professional trumpet players throughout his career. He was Vice President of Local 78 Musicians Union.

SCOTT W. THORNBURG - A 1978 graduate of North Syracuse High School, Scott Thornburg attended the University of Miami and the Juilliard School. Scott was principal trumpet with the New York City Symphony, and toured South America, Europe, and the United States with the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra. As a member of the New York Trumpet Ensemble and Spectrum Brass, he recorded Rhapsody, The Music of George Gershwin. He toured the U.S. and Canada with the trumpet and organ duo “Toccatas and Flourishes”. Thornburg’s recording of twentieth century trumpet music was released in 2003. Scott is a Professor at Western Michigan University, member of the Western Brass Quintet, and principal trumpet in the Kalamazoo Symphony.

CHRISTA COCCIOLE - A 1988 graduate of CNS High School, Christa attended Hofstra University. After college, she toured Europe and Russia performing MidsummerNight’s Dream. She eventually settled in Germany where she became certified in Body Integrated Psychosomatics and Family Therapy. She worked as a Movement Therapist Facilitator and was Co-Founder of the Institute for Counseling and Development. Christa spent two years working in Bosnia helping in reconciliation efforts. Upon her return to Germany she opened her own private practice. She began doing dance therapy within her own practice as well as at a private psychiatric clinic in Berlin. She has opened several dance studios and co-founded Hinter Haus Productions, a Performing Arts Multimedia Dance Company. Christa continues to do performances and works with dancers-in-training at one of her studios.

ROBERT H. CODNER - Robert Harold Codner joined the faculty of the North Syracuse Central Schools in 1965 and was later appointed to the new Cicero High School. Under Codner’s leadership his marching bands won the New York State Field Band Championship in 1978 and the Festival of States Pageant of Bands in St. Petersburg, Florida in 1977 and 1981. His concert bands received numerous “perfect scores” at NYSSMA’s Spring Large Ensemble Festivals. They performed at the Music Educators National Conference, the National Convention in Anaheim, California, Atlantic City, and at the Midwest Clinic. Codner was founder and first president of the New York State Field Band Conference. He retired in 1991.