NISKAYUNA — Recent graduate Elias Assimakopoulos proved his dedication to music again and
again throughout his high school career, by attending every school concert and performance since his freshman year.
And of course, by performing a bit himself both in and out of Niskayuna High School.
“It didn’t really hit me until my freshman year that music was my thing,” said Assimakopoulos.
When he realized that his trombone lessons and playing in jazz band were more than just a
hobby, he stopped running track and cross country, and started practicing a minimum of two
hours a day.
“There just wasn’t time for everything!” Assimakopoulos said. But the extra practice time paid
off. Assimakopoulos was able to join the Empire State Youth Orchestra and all four of the jazz
bands the school offered.
He also formed his own jazz band last year with a few fellow bandmates.
“I’ve actually been playing a lot of gigs lately! On Flag Day I did the parade in Troy and then
had another parade later on in the day and then had to accept the Lee Shaw Memorial Scholarship award back in Niskayuna and they asked me to play afterwards,” Assimakopoulos
said, remembering the day with fondness.
But he has found that success in the music business is mostly about networking and making
himself available to any and all opportunities he comes across.
“My dad, Eliot, always pushed me to network and he’s really given me the tools I needed to
succeed,” Assimakopoulos said. It’s also given him the courage to create opportunities for himself that otherwise wouldn’t have been available.
“One day, I was in Clifton Park and I saw a wanted advertisement for a makeup artist for a
show called ‘Anything Goes.’ So I thought, if they need a makeup artist maybe they need a trombone player,” Assimakopoulos said.
Shortly after seeing the sign, he called the theater company, auditioned and was soon playing in
the pit orchestra.
This is the sort of attitude Assimakopoulos is hoping will get him through college at the
SUNY Potsdam’s Crane School of Music.
“I am going for music education and so I’ll basically have to learn every band instrument,”
But he doesn’t sound nervous for the task of learning how to play well over a dozen instruments
in a matter of four years.
“I’ve kinda prepared myself for the challenge and to put myself out there more,” Assimakopoulos said.
He has also had several band teachers he wants to emulate to his future students.
“Mr. Cremisio was one of the teachers who really inspired me and gave me more challenges
than ever. Even though he moved out of the area last year, I’ve still kept in touch with him and I hope to continue to,” Assimakopoulos said.
With Matthew Cremisio and a few other students, Assimakopoulos began the Concert Logistics
“I wanted the band and orchestra teachers to be able to actually be able to focus on their
students and on the performance on the night of performances so
I organized a handful of student volunteers to hand out the programsand to set everything up
for the concerts,” Assimakopoulos said.