Jazz Band Mentored by Mike Emery

Mike Emery and students

Chris Rice, Mike Emery, and Colin Fenton

There are those who give back, and then there are those who GIVE BACK! Mike Emery, founder and leader of New York Players, is one of those guys. Mike spent time with the Saratoga Springs High School Jazz Band this past spring sharing his expertise and love of big band music with the students.

Mike is known for running one of the most popular music entertainment organizations in the capitol district. New York Players works year ’round providing great music at weddings, corporate gatherings, and large charity events.


Mike was inspired by his high school music teacher to pursue music. Mike’s drumming skills got him into the Berklee School of Music in Boston. After that he was on the road a full-time musician. With some zigs and zags on the road of life, Mike found himself sitting at his corporate desk job in 1997 wondering about the viability of a first-class entertainment organization for our area. He planned it out, laid the groundwork, got a new band together, and then left his day job to focus on New York Players full-time.



Peter Nelson, Chris, Mike, Colin, and Milt Lee

Beyond having killer charts and a mega groove, Mike also appreciated the business side of things. He was adamant that he would have the right processes in place so that the customer experience was top-notch from beginning to end. From the initial inquiry until the gig was over, Mike created “the New York Players experience” that has yet to let him – our his clients – down.

Conversations with Peter Nelson, President of Friends of Music, and Milt Lee, Department Head, led to Mike beginning to work with our students in January. He came to the high school on four separate occasions to work with the band during school hours.


Milt Lee said about seeing Mike work with the students, “What an amazing experience it was for the students to work with Mike. Having Mike talk and play with the kids raised the musicianship level for the entire ensemble. Mike also taught the drummers how influential their role is for the ensemble. They can push the entire ensemble forward or pull it back, based on how they approach what they are playing. It’s really a leadership role. The drummer is at the hub of the groove. What our students learned through that experience could not be described with words. These types of lessons not only help their musical pursuits but also infuses them with valuable skills – regardless of their future occupations – around analysis, collaboration, and the ability to attain high levels of performance and achievement. Working with an outstanding musician like Mike Emery immediately conveys integrity, drive, intensity, focus, and most importantly passion. I can still hear his fingerprint on the ensemble months afterward.”

Here is a video of Mike working with the jazz band.

Mike and New York Players can be seen and heard at a number of public concerts this summer in our region.

Friday, 7/1 – Shepard Park, Lake George / 6:00 – 8:00

Friday, 7/8 – Vapor Nightclub, Saratoga Springs / 2 shows – 9:00 & 11:00

Tuesday, 7/12 – Ganser Park, Menands / 6:00 – 8:30

Thursday, 7/14 – Veterans Park, Granville / 7:00 – 9:00

Sunday, 7/17 – Philly Bar, Latham / 5:00 – 8:00

Tuesday, 7/26 – Castleton College / 7:00 – 9:00

Friday, 7/29 – Siros, Saratoga Springs / 6:00 – 10:00

Thursday, 8/4 – The Crossings, Colonie / 6:30 – 8:00

Thursday, 8/11 – Guilderland Performing Arts Center at Tawasentha Park / 7:00 – 9:00

Friday, 8/12 – Vapor Nightclub, Saratoga Springs / 2 shows – 9:00 & 11:00

Thursday, 8/25 – Horseshoe Inn, Saratoga Springs / 6:00 – 10:00

Friday, 8/26 – Saratoga National Golf Club / Travers Eve Party! / 7:00 – 11:00

Go to the New York Players website for more information.

Thanks Mike!