As Associate Conductor of the Allentown Symphony Orchestra since 1983, Ronald Demkee has worked with ASO conductors Donald Voorhees, William Smith and Diane Wittry. Over the years he has conducted many of the orchestra’s Young People Concerts. In addition, he has led the ASO in Subscription Concerts featuring internationally famous artists including: Rudolf Frikusney, Cecile Licad, Robert McDuffie, Young Uck Kim, and Joyce Castle of the New York Metropolitan Opera. He has also conducted the ASO in performance of “The Nutcracker” with the Berkshire Ballet, the American Ballet, the Lehigh Valley Ballet and the Repertory Dance Theatre of the Lehigh Valley. He has recently conducted ASO Pops Concerts featuring Monica Mancini, Beatlemania’s Tribute Classical Mystery Tour, and Bravo Broadway.
Mr. Demkee joined the Allentown Band in 1964 as featured tuba soloist and was elected conductor in 1977. Under his direction the band has recorded twenty-four volumes of the highly acclaimed “Our Band Heritage” series, which have reached listeners in all fifty states and seventeen countries. America’s oldest civilian concert band (since 1828) averages forty performances annually. Under Demkee’s leadership, the band has taken four trips to Europe for concerts in Switzerland, Austria, and in 1008 appeared in the St. Tropez International Music Festival in La Croix Valmer, France. The band has also performed at Carnegie Hall in 2007 and the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in 2010.
Mr. Demkee is the recipient of a number of awards including: The National Band Association’s “Citation of Excellence,” the John Philip Sousa Foundation’s “Sudler Legion of Honor,” and The Allentown (Pennsylvania) “Arts Ovation Award” for Outstanding Achievements in the Performing Arts. In 2005 the Allentown Arts Council presented Mr. Demkee with a “Lifetime Achievement Award.” In 1991 Muhlenberg College presented Demkee with an Honorary Doctor of Music. Bethlehem’s Freedom High School honored Demkee in 1998 as its first faculty member to be named to the school’s “Circle of Excellence” and in 2003, Whitehall High School named Demkee its first alumnus to appear on the school’s “Wall of Fame for the Arts.” He is an inductee of the “National High School Band Director’s Hall of Fame” and has been a member of the prestigious American Bandmasters Association since 1986.
In addition to conducting numerous high school honor bands and orchestras, Mr. Demkee has served as guest conductor for the U.S. Army Band, The U.S. Army Field Band, The U.S. Military Academy Band at West Point, The U.S. Navy Band, The U.S. Coast Guard Band, The Marine Band of Washington, and the U.S. Air Force Heritage of America Band from Langley, Virginia. Additionally, he served as Assistant Conductor for Leonard B. Smith’s famous Detroit Concert Band where he conducted the band for Mr. Smith’s cornet solos both in live performances and the much-admired “Gems of the Concert Band” recordings.