Amherst Central High School Music Staff
Craig Incontro is currently Director of Bands and Chairman of the Music Department at Amherst High School. His groups have received level 6 A+ Gold with Distinction in spring competitions as well as top honors at many national music festivals throughout the northeast, and the state of Washington. Mr. Incontro was the 2005 recipient of the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra and Erie County Council of Music Coordinators Award for Excellence in Music Education for Instrumental Music. Mr. Incontro has also directed the College Jazz Ensemble at Canisius College, served as an Adjunct Instructor in instrumental conducting at SUNY Fredonia and the University of Southern California. Prior to his tenure at Amherst, he was the Director of Bands at Highline High School in suburban Seattle, Washington. His groups are well known for their high standard of performance, individual musical literacy, growth, and student leadership.
Mr. Incontro was born in Hollywood and was raised in Placentia, California.
He was selected as one of two students to represent the State of California in the McDonalds All American Band his senior year and performed on the Tonight Show with Doc Severenson. Mr. Incontro received a full scholarship to the University of Southern California (USC) Thornton School of Music and earned his Bachelor's Degree and Master’s Degree in Oboe Performance with extensive work in Jazz Studies. He was an oboe student of the late William Criss, David Weiss, and Gordon Schonberg as well as a saxophone student of Rodger Greenberg, Leo Potts, and Ernie Watts. As a professional oboe and English hornist, Mr. Incontro has performed under the baton of many legends such as Zubin Mehta, Sir Neville Mariner, Michael Tilson-Thomas and Leonard Bernstein. In California, he also toured with several Broadway shows and was an active member of the motion picture and music recording industry. Craig has performed with Frank Sinatra Jr, Lionel Hampton, 10,000 Maniacs, Barry Manilow, Karen Carpenter, Jon Anderson of Yes, Ronan Tynan, Bill Watrus and Cleo Lane to name a few. For over 16 years Craig has performed in the pit orchestra at Shea’s Performing Arts Center as a multi-reed player for touring Broadway shows including A Chorus Line, West Side Story, Guys and Dolls, Peter Pan, Thoroughly Modern Millie, The Sound of Music, The Producers, Sweet Charity, Young Frankenstein, White Christmas, Motown The Musical and Pippin. He is also a saxophonist with Phil Sims’ Buffalo Brass Big Band, Dave Kayne’s The Western New York Jazz Orchestra and Buffalo Swing.
Mr. Incontro has guest conducted All-County and Area All-State Bands and Jazz Ensembles throughout the state of New York. Mr. Incontro served for 19 years as the ECMEA Jazz Festival Chairman and as Host. Craig has also served as an oboe and saxophone clinician for ECMEA and NYSBDA conference days and at the NYSSMA winter and summer conferences. He has Co-Hosted NYSSMA Sr. High Area All-State at SUNY Fredonia. During the summers he has conducted the bands at the Crane Youth Music Camp at SUNY Potsdam and coordinated chamber music studied at Burton Music Camp on Vashon Island in Washington State. Craig has also volunteered as the Cubmaster for Cub Scout Pack 280 at Smallwood. Mr. Incontro lives in the Amherst School District with his wife Pam and their three children, Anne (ACHS ’13 clarinetist and music business major at SUNY Potsdam), Matthew(ACHS ’16 jazz saxophone and engineering major at Eastman School of Music and Univ. of Rochester)and Benjamin.
Currently, in his thirteenth year of teaching at Amherst High School, Justin T. Pomietlarz is a 1997 and 2004 piano performance/music education graduate of SUNY Fredonia. Mr. Pomietlarz began his teaching career in the Rochester City School District and subsequently at Marion High School in rural Wayne County and at Hauppauge High School in Suffolk County, Long Island.
While at Fredonia, Mr. Pomietlarz was a winner of the Concerto Competition and was also a finalist in the 2001 Ithaca College Choral Music Composition Contest. During his graduate years, Mr. Pomietlarz had the opportunity to serve Fredonia as the director of the University Chorus, as assistant director and accompanist for the Fredonia College Choir, as coach/accompanist for several musical and Hillman Opera productions. Mr. Pomietlarz has also been on the artistic faculty for the New York State Summer School of the Arts – School for Choral Studies. He was the guest conductor of the 2010 Chautauqua Junior-High All-County Chorus, and has previously served as chairperson or accompanist for All-County Choruses in Erie, Monroe, Genesee, Chautauqua, and Suffolk Counties. He has been selected as “Teacher of the Month” at Amherst High School three times, and is listed in “Who’s Who of American Teachers.” He is exceptionally proud that the Amherst Concert Chorale performed both John Rutter's and Mozart’s Requiem, and produced a full-scale production of the opera, Dido and Aeneas by Henry Purcell. Past Musical production credits include Phantom of the Opera, Beauty and the Beast, Grease, Guys and Dolls, Anything Goes, Les Miserables, Oklahoma, Urinetown: the Musical, Into the Woods, Leader of the Pack, The Boy Friend, Suessical: the Musical, Evita, Damn Yankees, How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying, among others.
Mr. Pomietlarz was selected as the 2013 PTSA Outstanding HS Educator of the Year, and recently served as the Interim Director of Women’s Choir at SUNY Fredonia from 2010 - 2012. He has performed with the Vocális Chamber Choir, and serves as Music Director and Choirmaster of Holy Trinity Lutheran Church in downtown Buffalo. He resides with his wife Kristen in Parkside, Buffalo.
Matt Pendrak is the Orchestra Director at Amherst Central High School in Amherst, NY where he teaches 100 string students and conducts the Concert Orchestra, Symphony Orchestra, Operetta Pit Orchestra, and the Amherst Sinfonia. Previously Matt spent nine years as the Orchestra Director at Amherst Middle School. In 2015, the ACHS Sinfonia performed for a “Music in The Parks” Competition and Evaluation Festival at Cedar Point in Sandusky, Ohio where they received 1st place in High School Orchestra Category as well as Overall Grand Champion, and received the first ever 100% in the 26-year history of the festival. In 2016, the ACHS Sinfonia repeated as Champions in two categories; Full Orchestra and String Orchestra. Matt also serves as the Facilities Coordinator at Amherst Central High School as well as the ECMEA Jr. High North Orchestra Chair, and in the past has served as the Director of the Summer Scholars Program at Windermere Blvd Elementary School.
Hailing from Ilion, NY, Matt started playing viola at age nine. Upon graduating from Ilion High School in 1997, Matt pursued a Music Education degree from SUNY Fredonia and graduated in 2001 with honors. In 2005, Matt completed his Master’s degree in Education at Indiana Wesleyan University. Matt has conducted several All-County Orchestras throughout New York State including Erie, Oswego, and Oneida Counties as well as NYSSMA Area All-State Orchestras. In his free time, Matt likes to spend time with his wonderfully supportive wife, Jen, and their three children, Lily, Ava, and Henry.