Meet Our Instructors

Summit Studios' Instructors

Summit Studios provides the highest-level performing arts training to students of all ages and interests. Our professional staff of teaching artists create a stimulating and nurturing atmosphere in which individuals may find their own unique instrument within.

Our specialized teaching artists have been with us, on average, for 5 years and have received their degrees and training from schools such as: Boston Conservatory, Hartt, Mannes, Ithaca, UConn, Berklee School of Music, Yale, Central Connecticut State University, MET Opera Guild, University of Michigan.

Our teaching artists have affiliations with the following groups: Boston Pops, Cleveland Opera, Concora, Hartford Chorale, Opera Theatre of CT, Hartford Symphony, NYC Choral Society, Ridgefield Symphony. They have performed at many venues, including: Carnegie Hall, Universal Studios, Opera Theatre of Connecticut and Natchez Music Festival.

Meet Our Founder

Donna Schaffer (Founder)

Donna Schaffer

Ms. Schaffer holds a Bachelor of Music from the University of Michigan and a Master of Music from the University of Connecticut. She has served on the faculties of the University of Connecticut's Department of Music, the Ethel Walker School, and the Young People's Institute, as music director for C.A.S.T, INC., Rocky Hill Town Theatre, and the Little Theater of Manchester. Donna has served on the faculty of the Ensign-Darling Vocal Music Fellowship Program that is administered through the Bushnell in Hartford. She is also Director of the education program for the prestigious Natchez Music Festival in Mississippi.

Donna is an active soprano and an accomplished pianist. She has appeared as a soloist with the New York City Choral Society, The NY Women Composer's Society, the International Dickens Society, the Lenox Summer Series, the Manchester Chorale, and the Northeast Concert Choir. Her operatic appearances include performances with the Opera Theatre of Connecticut, Crystal Opera, Opera New England, New York Opera Forum, Natchez Opera, and Manhattan Lyric Opera.

www.DonnaSchafferMusic.com

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Voice & Piano Instructors

Anthony DeDominicis (Voice & Piano Teaching Artist)

Anthony DeDominicis (Voice & Piano Teaching Artist)

Mr. DeDominicis earned his Bachelor of Music in Vocal Performance from Anna Maria College. A 2005 member of Who's Who among Colleges and Universities, Anthony has studied under Mary Lynn Ritchey, Peter Hart and Maureen Connors. While attending college, Mr. DeDominicis assistant conducted the college choir and served as president of the Chamber choir. He enjoys church work as a cantor and singing at weddings.

Carolyn Fisher (Voice, Piano & Flute Teaching Artist)

Carolyn Fisher (Voice, Piano & Flute Teaching Artist)

An accomplished musician, Ms. Fisher currently attends the Boston Conservatory seeking a Bachelor's Degree in vocal performance. She has been a member of the Summit Studios family since 1999, having received the Harry Deffenbaugh Scholarship in 2003. Carolyn enjoys performing in many capacities. She has held leading roles in various community theatre productions including the Connecticut Cabaret Theater, Little Theatre of Manchester, and Theatre Newington OnStage. In addition, Ms. Fisher has sung with the Boston Pops on more than one occasion. She also accompanies musicals as a member of pit orchestras. Her experiences include over a decade of dance training, as well as extensive training in flute, guitar, music theory and acting.

Elisa Haveles (Voice & Piano Teaching Artist)

Elisa Haveles (Voice & Piano Teaching Artist)

Elisa Haveles completed her Master of Music in Music Education – Pedagogy emphasis and Kodály Level III Certification at The Hartt School, University of Hartford. As a graduate student, Ms. Haveles was the 2009 recipient of the Jenö ˇdám Scholarship awarded by the Organization of American Kodály Educators (OAKE) and the 2007 recipient of the Barbara Potter Educational Fund Scholarship awarded by the Connecticut Music Educators Association (CMEA).ÝShe earned her Bachelor of Music Education – vocal concentration from the University of Southern Maine where she studied voice with Ellen Chickering, as well as conducting with Dr. Robert Russell and Dr. Peter Martin. At USM, she performed as a singer and student conductor of the USM Chamber Singers, which performed two European tours in the British Isles and Austria, Italy, and France.

Ms. Haveles was the recipient of the Summit Studios Harry E. Deffenbaugh Scholarship in 2001. She currently teaches general music and chorus in the Manchester Public Schools.

Lianne Coble (Voice Teaching Artist)

Lianne Coble (Voice Teaching Artist)

Lianne holds a Masters of Music in Vocal Performance from Florida State Univeristy, and a Bachelor's of Music from the State University of New York College at Fredonia. An active concert soloist, Ms. Coble recently made her Carnegie Hall debut, soloing in Haydn's Kleine Orgelmesse and Rutter's Mass for the Children with MidAmerica Productions and the New England Symphonic Ensemble. Lianne has also performed with the Syracuse Symphony Orchestra, Buffalo Philharmonic, Grand Rapids Symphony Orchestra, West Virginia Symphony Orchestra, Western New York Chamber Orchestra, the Orchard Park Symphony, the Chautauqua Orchestra Ensemble, the Tallahassee Bach Parlay, and has sung at the Bach and Beyond Festival in Fredonia, NY. Her operatic credits include Opera Colorado. Syracuse Opera, the Ash Lawn Opera Festival, and Berkshire Opera Company. Lianne was a national finalist in the Jensen Foundation Competition, the American Bach Society Vocal Competition, and Shreveport Opera's Singer of the Year Competition, and a Regional Winner of the Metropolitan Opera's National Council Auditions.

Upcoming engagements in 2009 include performing the role of Mabel in The Pirates of Penzance in Ithaca, NY, soloing in the Faure Requiem with the Syracuse Symphony Orchestra, and collaborating with the elite baroque ensemble Musica Sacra at Alice Tully Hall in Lincoln Center. In addition, Lianne is also an accomplished flutist, pianist, and organist, and has been a cantor and organist in numerous churches in the Hartford area.

Sacha Peiser (Voice & Piano Teaching Artist)

Sacha Peiser (Voice & Piano Teaching Artist)

Sacha Peiser, a native of New Orleans, recently moved to Connecticut to continue her Ph.D. studies in music theory/musicology from University of Connecticut. She holds a Master of Music from Louisiana State University in music theory, and a Bachelor of Music degree in vocal performance from Loyola University New Orleans. Ms. Peiser has starred and sung in many productions with the Shakespeare Festival at Tulane, and has both sung and stage managed for the New Orleans Opera Association's Lucia di Lammermoor, Madama Butterfly, and Il Trittico, among others. With Loyola Opera, she participated in Roméo et Juliette and The Gondoliers in addition to several scenes programs, and was the soprano soloist for both Mozart's Requiem and Haydn's Lord Nelson Mass.

In addition to her voice, piano, and music theory studies, Ms. Peiser has also taught voice and piano at Center Stage Performing Arts Academy in Louisiana and stage managed the Natchez Festival of Music for the past two years.

Anna Hayrapetyan (Voice & Piano Teaching Artist)

Anna Hayrapetyan (Voice & Piano Teaching Artist)

Anna is a soprano who graduated with her Master of Music Degree from the University of Connecticut. With UConn's Opera Theater, Anna has performed in: La Grande-Duchesse de Gérolstein (Olga), Little Red's Most Unusual Day (Little Red), The Beautiful Bridegroom (Pernille), The Fairy Queen (First Fairy), The Pirates of Penzance (Edith), Bastien und Bastienne (Bastienne), staged concert of Fables by Madame Isabelle Aboulker. Anna received her bachelor's degree from Sydney Conservatorium of Music in Sydney, Australia. During her undergraduate studies Anna performed in scenes from the following operas: Rigoletto (Gilda), Il Barbiere di Siviglia (Rosina), Eugene Onegin (Tatiana), the title role in Anush by Tigranyan. Anna also performed in multiple solo and joined concerts around Armenia, Australia and the UK. She is the winner of the MacArthur Music Competition in Sydney, where she was awarded 1st and 2nd places for sacred music and operatic aria sections, respectively. Anna has been teaching voice, piano and music theory for over 5 years. Her students' achievements include winning different prizes in multiple competitions as well as successfully passing entry auditions to Sydney Conservatorium of Music and other music institutions.

Alice Matteson (Voice & Piano Teaching Artist)

Alice Matteson (Voice & Piano Teaching Artist)

Alice Matteson, soprano, was born and raised in Orlando, Florida. The bug to sing on stage bit her at an early age when her children's choir began performing at the Disney World theme parks. After graduating from high school, she followed her dreams up to Hartford, Connecticut, where she studied at the Hartt School. She graduated in 2008 with a Bachelor of Music in Vocal Performance. During her time at Hartt, she performed the roles of Eurydice in Offenbach's Orpheus in the Underworld, Ginevra in Händel's Ariodante, and First Witch in Purcell's Dido and Aeneas. She was also a featured soloist with the Hartt Baroque Collegium.

Alice is very dedicated to music ministry in the church. She has been a member of the Schola Cantorum at the Cathedral of St. Joseph in Hartford since 2008, where she frequently presents solos. She also serves as a cantor for the Catholic Communities of East Hartford North, St. John Fisher Church in Marlborough and St. Mary's Parish in Longmeadow, Massachusetts. Concert works have included soprano soloist in Mozart's Requiem, Fauré's Requiem, Vivaldi's Gloria, and Benjamin Britten's Missa Brevis and Ceremony of Carols. Chamber works have included soprano soloist in Heinrich Schütz's Müsikalische Exequien, J.S. Bach's Wedding Canata (BWV 202) and Giacomo Carissimi's Jonas.

Alice will be traveling to Ireland in the summer of 2013 for a two-week concert tour with Vallis Musicae, a choral ensemble based out of the Farmington Valley.

Michael Zappala (Voice & Piano Teaching Artist)

Michael Zappala (Voice & Piano Teaching Artist)

Michael Zappala is an undergraduate at the University of Connecticut, where he is pursuing degrees in Vocal Performance and Biology Education. He has extensive background in classical and musical theatre vocal repertoire as well as piano repertoire from fundamental to advanced levels. His musical studies have allowed him to serve as a regular music minister at churches in Manchester and Willimantic as both organist and cantor.

Currently studying voice with mezzo-soprano Meredith Ziegler, Michael is an integral member of the voice department at UConn. Demonstrating his musical abilities, he is a member of the UConn Chamber Singers which consists of the 16 most advanced singers in the University. Additionally, he is a member and Bass Section Leader of the University Concert Choir. His responsibilities include maintaining a vocally prepared section and solidifying healthy vocal technique.

In addition to choral and vocal studies, Michael is no stranger to the stage. Recent roles include Oliver Warbucks in the CAST Production of Annie; Erronious in MHS' production of A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum; and the role of Dr. Sanderson in MHS' production of Harvey.

Lydia McClain (Voice & Piano Teaching Artist)

Lydia McClain (Voice & Piano Teaching Artist)

A native of Pennsylvania, Soprano Lydia McClain holds a Bachelor of Music in vocal performance from The Hartt School of Music and a Masters in Music from Florida State University. While studying in Tallahassee, Lydia was a graduate teaching assistant providing voice lessons to undergraduate music majors.

With the Florida State Opera, she has performed the roles of Dorabella in Mozart's Così fan tutte and Laetitia in Menotti's The Old Maid and the Thief. Other roles include Gretel in Humperdinck's Hansel and Gretel, Pamina in Mozart's The Magic Flute, and Belinda in Purcell's Dido and Aeneas with the Hartt Opera Theater.

In 2010 she had the privilege of singing for Marilyn Horne in a master class sponsored by the Connecticut Concert Opera. In 2009 she made her debut as a guest artist with the Hartford Symphony Orchestra with Maestro Willie Waters conducting.

As a concert soloist, she sang Bach's Weihnachts-Oratorium with the Florida State Chamber Choir in 2011. Her previous concert work has been in Connecticut, joining the New Haven Chorale as the soprano soloist in Mozart's Spatzenmesse and Britten's Rejoice in the Lamb during their 2010-2011 season. Also in 2010, she was the soprano soloist in Schubert's Mass in G Major with the Christ Church Cathedral Choir in Hartford, CT. Other concert works include soprano soloist in Handel's Messiah with the Hartt Chamber Choir and Mendelssohn's Lobgesang with the Farmington Valley Chorale.

In addition to music, Lydia is devoted to her yoga practice and study of languages. She is currently the soprano section leader at Emmanuel Lutheran Church in Manchester, CT.

Anthony Leathem (Voice & Piano Teaching Artist)

Anthony Leathem (Voice & Piano Teaching Artist)

Anthony Leathem, bass-baritone, holds a Master of Music in Vocal Pedagogy from the New England Conservatory where he was the recipient of the prestigious John Moriarty Presidential Scholarship. In January Mr. Leathem performed the role of Superintendent Budd in UConn Opera's production of Albert Herring. This fall Mr. Leathem appeared as the baritone soloist for Beethoven's Ninth Symphony with the UConn Symphony Orchestra and premiered (US) the role of Grieg in Justin Dello Joio's one act opera Blue Mountain with the UConn Wind Ensemble. 2013 saw Mr. Leathem make his debut with UConn Opera performing the role of Sarastro in Mozart's Die Zauberflöte.

While at the NEC, Mr. Leathem performed numerous roles including Sam in Bernstein's Trouble in Tahiti, Dr. Bartolo in Le nozze di Figaro, Il Commendatore in Don Giovanni as well as participating in the school's art song recital series, Liederabend.

Mr. Leathem is currently pursuing a Doctorate of Musical Arts in Vocal Performance at the University of Connecticut studying under Dr. Constance Rock.

Michael Winslow (Voice & Piano Teaching Artist)

Michael Winslow (Voice & Piano Teaching Artist)

Michael Winslow comes to the Summit Studios family with over 13 years of professional teaching experience, and over 20 years as a professional musician. Michael is currently the Choir Director at Connecticut River Academy (magnet high school) at Goodwin College in East Hartford, CT. Prior to coming to Connecticut, he taught at Mt. Zion High School in central Illinois for six years, where he directed their nationally recognized and award winning Show Choir.

Michael holds a B.M. in Music Education from The Hartt School in West Hartford, Connecticut, with a combined Voice and Piano emphasis. During his time at Hartt he was an active performing member of the Chamber Singers directed by Richard Coffey. He also studied piano with Luiz DeMoura Castro. Additionally, Michael attended Boston University for his graduate studies.

During his 13 years of teaching, Michael's choirs have been named First Place and Grand Champions in numerous competitions several times. Some competitions included in these Championships ar the FAME National Show Choir Series in Orlando, Los Angeles, and New York City. Michael has also been noted for coaching his students into becoming recipients of numerous solo awards during their time competing.

Aside from teaching, Michael also works as a freelance arranger, soloist, and adjudicator. He also works in the greater Hartford area with local community theaters serving as the Music Director. Michael has been involved with all areas of Musical Theater from performing on stage, performing in the pit orchestra, and music directing.

Michael welcomes students of all ages and ability levels, from child to adult, and beginner to professional.

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Guitar & Bass Instructors

Frank Varela (Guitar Teaching Artist)

Frank Varela (Guitar Teaching Artist)

Frank Varela attended Berklee School of Music and has been a private music instructor throughout the life of his career. He has also taught as a lecturer at the University of Connecticut and Manchester Community College in addition to his after school guitar program for the South Windsor Recreation Department.

Frank is also an accomplished guitar player and composer. Early on he was awarded a scholarship from the National Endowment for the Arts. His work has been favorably reviewed in nationally renowned "Jazz Improv" Magazine and he has played and composed music for six published CD recordings including 2 Mystery Feet CD's. The first one, entitled "Walk the Walk" includes performances with jazz guitar great Larry Coryell. Frank also had the opportunity to record with drummers Lenny White (Miles Davis, Chick Corea) and Joel Rosenblatt (SpyroGyra) on the latest release entitled "Upstream".

Frank has also performed and recorded with such greats as Jimmy McGriff, Max Roach, Tony Trischka, Bill Keith and Windham Hill Grammy winner, violinist, Darol Anger. He is currently working on a recording under his own name entitled "2 Sides to every story".

Frank Varela also has a solo DVD, "Rare Footage" where he plays guitar and bass simultaneously.

Jared Gardner (Guitar & Bass Teaching Artist)

Jared Gardner (Guitar & Bass Teaching Artist)

Jared Gardner began studying piano at the age of 7 and later took up guitar and bass. A versatile musician, Mr. Gardner has played with punk rock bands as well as jazz ensembles and is a former member of Sacramento-based folk group Ain't Betty. Mr. Gardner went on to study jazz and classical bass and holds a BM in bass performance from CSU Sacramento and a GPD from the Hartt School, where he was on scholarship as a member of the Performance 20/20 chamber music program and a student of Robert Black.

As a freelance musician in northern CA, he has frequently performed with Modesto Symphony and Stockton Symphony, and he was a founding member and principal bassist for the Academy at All Hallows. Mr. Gardner has also performed with the Monadnock Music Festival, the Sacramento Philharmonic chamber music series, and The Hartt School faculty chamber music series.

Jeff Kenniston (Guitar & Saxophone Teaching Artist)

Jeff Kenniston (Guitar & Saxophone Teaching Artist)

Jeff Kenniston is a multi-instrumental performer and instructor. In 2009 he received his Bachelor of Science in Music Education from Central Connecticut State University, where he studied classical saxophone with Dr. Carl Knox, as well as instrumental conducting and education with Dr. Dan D'addio. While at CCSU, Jeff performed regularly with several ensembles including the Wind Ensemble, University Chamber Players, Marching Band, Jazz Band and Pep Band, as well as solo recitals. As a student-teacher Jeff conducted and directed K-12 wind bands in the West Hartford, Wethersfield, and Old Saybrook school districts.

Since college, Jeff has been building his studio of private students on guitar, saxophone, piano, and music theory. Specializing in classical and popular styles of performance, his students continually perform with their own bands, as solo artists, or in recitals. Jeff's students range from young children having their first musical experiences, to high school studentís preparing for college auditions, to adults maintaining a life-long interest in their instrument. Jeff also has training and experience instructing students with special needs. Since 2011 Jeff has been the director of "Rock Band Jam" at Summit Studios in Manchester, CT where students of all ages join together to perform songs of their choosing or write their own. Rock Band Jam exists as a weekly meeting during the school year and as an intensive 2 week program over the summer.

Jeff is currently an active performing guitarist, keyboardist, saxophonist, and songwriter with Addison Station and the Kenny Mehler Band, totaling around 250 appearances a year. Jeff has shared the stage with many well-known artists such as Ryan Cabrera, N.E.R.D, Lady Gaga, Flo Rida, We the Kings, Smashmouth, Weezer, Jeffrey Gaines, Streetlight Manifesto, Sean Kingston, Big D. and the Kidís Table, Boys Like Girls, Lifehouse, O.A.R., Matt Nathanson, Tyler Hilton, Max Creek, Nine Days, and Live. In 2009 Jeff was voted "Best Keyboardist" by the Hartford Advocate's "Grand Band Slam" reader's poll. Jeff is a published songwriter (BMI) and has had his songs licensed for use by CT-Channel 8, Mohegan Sun Resort and Casino, the Golf Channel, Soul Surfers TV (Hawaii), Elitch Gardens Theme Park (Colorado), the Grateful Nation organization, Style Network, TV Guide Network, Miramax Films, CBS crime drama "UNFORGETTABLE", NASCAR Hall of Fame, Crossiron Mills (Alberta), and the Sportsman's Channel. His compositions continue to be aired on internet radio and by terrestrial radio stations in over 20 countries worldwide.

Nick Dispagna (Guitar & Bass Teaching Artist)

Nick Dispagna (Bass & Guitar Teaching Artist)

Nick joins the Summit Studios as a New Jersey native who has spent his last ten years deeply entrenched in the Boston music scene. He has shared the stage with Bon Jovi, Aerosmith, Kid Rock, Adam Lambert, The Script, Ke$ha, Third Eye Blind, Candlebox and Ed Kowalczyk. Nick has recorded and written for Rob Thomas, Rick Springfield and Julian Lennon and was previously signed to Toucan Cove Records and distributed by Universal Music Group. You can hear his music at www.nicholasdispagna.com.

Ben Corbitt (Guitar & Bass Teaching Artist)

Ben Corbitt (Guitar & Bass Teaching Artist)

Ben Corbitt is a guitar player/performing artist and has been playing/performing for 10 years. He attended Manchester Community College and graduated with a A.A. in Music Studies in 2010. In addition to earning the degree, Ben also was awarded the "Mickey Albrezio Music and Fine Arts Scholarship", as well as a "Certificate Of Achievement in Music". After taking 2 years to search out and apply for the next phase of music education, been auditioned and was accepted to the Musician's Institute in Hollywood, CA. He spent most of 2012 working hard and studying guitar in their renowned guitar performance program. In his short time studying at MI, Ben has gone from being a good guitar player to a well read and notably versatile musician with the ability to play styles like Classic Rock, Blues, Funk, Reggae, Alternative Rock, Jazz, and Latin. Having returned from Hollywood in early 2013 to be home with family, Ben is busy refining his craft, writing original material, jamming with an array of musicians, and planning the next steps in his musical journey.

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String Instrument Instructors

Dan Fecteau (Violin Teaching Artist)

Dan Fecteau (Violin Teaching Artist)

Dan Fecteau has been studying the violin for ten years. He has studied privately with Hannah Klinetob, Steve Wood, and is currently studying with Katherine Winterstein. Dan is currently at the Hartt School of Music pursuing a double major in Violin Performance and Music Education. In his career as a violinist, Dan has participated into many festivals including the Eastern Regional CMEA Orchestra, the All-State CMEA Orchestra, and the All-Eastern Honors Ensemble. He has been the concertmaster for several musical theatre pit orchestras, including MHS's productions of "Barnum" and "Singing in the Rain" as well as Summit Studio's productions of "The Wizard of Oz" and "Bye-bye Birdie". Dan is currently a member of the Hartt Symphony Orchestra and also regularly debuts new works by Hartt composers. He has taught private students and has coached orchestra rehearsals and sectionals throughout his time as concertmaster of the MHS orchestras. Dan continues to grow as an educator and as a violinist as he studies at the Hartt School of Music.

Courtney Van Cleef (Cello Teaching Artist)

Courtney Van Cleef (Cello Teaching Artist)

"One needs not be a professional musician to reap all the greatest benefits music has to offer."

With this as her philosophy, Courtney Van Cleef is a rising cello pedagogue, inspiring students to love music first and map their individual musical journeys second. Currently pursuing a Master of Music in Cello Performance at the Hartt School of Music in Connecticut, Courtney is a student of Mihai Tetel. She earned a Bachelor of Music in Cello Performance (Magna cum Laude) at Stetson University (Florida), and served on the faculty of the Stetson Community School of the Arts where she taught students of all ages. In Hartford, Courtney teaches cello at the Farmington Valley Academy Montessori. Additional experience working with young cellists comes from her summers (2010-present) at the Blue Lake Fine Arts Camp in Michigan where she lives and serves as counselor with campers.

Since beginning her music studies at the age of 11, Courtney has worked closely with cellists, Andre Gaskins, Alan Black and David Bjella. She has performed as principal and assistant principal cellist in a multitude of orchestras including the Columbus State University Philharmonic and Chamber Symphony at the Schwob School of Music, and the Stetson University Symphony, Chamber Symphony and Opera Orchestras. Courtney serves as principal cellist in the Hartt School's Opera and Musical orchestras. From 2009 - 2012, Courtney performed with Stetson University's endowed and elite Barron String Quartet as its cellist and also served as the quartet's manager. Summer programs she has attended include the Credo Chamber Music Festival at the Oberlin Conservatory in 2005 and 2006 as well as the Brevard Music Center in 2007. At Blue Lake Fine Arts Camp, she held a leadership role among the counselors in the staff Festival Orchestra and was chosen as the cellist of the staff String Quartet. In 2011, she performed in a special concert of finalists in the Blue Lake staff solo competition. Other major honors include winning the 2008 Florida Young Artists Orchestra (FYAO) Concerto Competition, and receiving the FYAO Tabachnik Scholarship for leadership and musicianship and the annual Winter Park Musicale Scholarship. She is a sister of Stetson's Sigma Alpha Iota Eta Pi chapter for professional women musicians.

Additionally, Courtney has devoted much of her education to the study of Russian Language and is a member of the National Slavic Honor Society. She hopes to someday travel to Russia to study cello and Russian music history.Ý Ultimately she wishes to earn her doctorate in cello so that she may teach as a college professor of cello.

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Woodwinds Instructors

Jeff Taylor (Woodwinds Teaching Artist)

Jeff Taylor (Woodwinds Teaching Artist)

B. M. (cum laude), University of Connecticut. Mr. Taylor has performed with the Hartford Jazz Orchestra, the Hartford Symphony Summer Pops Series, various theaters and casinos backing such performers as Paul Anka, Johnny Mathis, Joan Rivers, Al Martino and Bob Newhart. He spent seven years "on the road" with The Tommy Dorsey Orchestra playing lead alto sax and clarinet throughout the United States, Canada and Europe. Mr. Taylor has taught privately, group woodwind instruction, summer jazz camps, clinics and adjudicated middle and high school regional and All-State festivals for over 25 years.

Jeff Kenniston (Guitar & Saxophone Teaching Artist)

Jeff Kenniston (Guitar & Saxophone Teaching Artist)

Jeff Kenniston is a multi-instrumental performer and instructor. In 2009 he received his Bachelor of Science in Music Education from Central Connecticut State University, where he studied classical saxophone with Dr. Carl Knox, as well as instrumental conducting and education with Dr. Dan D'addio. While at CCSU, Jeff performed regularly with several ensembles including the Wind Ensemble, University Chamber Players, Marching Band, Jazz Band and Pep Band, as well as solo recitals. As a student-teacher Jeff conducted and directed K-12 wind bands in the West Hartford, Wethersfield, and Old Saybrook school districts.

Jeff is currently an active performing guitarist, keyboardist and songwriter with his band Addison Station, and has done freelance performing and recording sessions with several other artists. Jeff has shared the stage with many well known artists such as Ryan Cabrera, N.E.R.D, Lady Gaga, Flo Rida, We the Kings, Smashmouth, Weezer, Jeffrey Gaines, Streetlight Manifesto, Soul Asylum, Big D. and the Kid's Table, Boys Like Girls, Lifehouse, Sean Kingston, O.A.R. and Matt Nathanson. In 2009 Jeff was voted "Best Keyboardist" in the Hartford Advocate's Grand Band Slam. Jeff has had songs licensed by Mohegan Sun and the Golf Channel, as well as had airplay on Internet radio and by radio stations in over 20 countries.

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Brass Instructors

Jamie Marci (French Horn, Trumpet & Trombone Teaching Artist)

Jamie Marci (French Horn, Trumpet & Trombone Teaching Artist)

Jamie Marci has been a freelance horn player and instructor in Connecticut since 1999. Born and raised in the Midwest, she moved to the east coast after completing her Bachelor of Music degree from the University of Missouri-Columbia. During her four years in Columbia, she attended the Aspen Music Festival for two summers and studied under John Cerminaro. The graduate program at the Hartt School of Music brought her to New England and the freelancing and teaching opportunities have kept her there. In November 2003 she won a position on the Hartford Symphony's substitute list. She is third horn with the New Britain Symphony, the Bristol Symphony and the Wallingford Symphony and has also played with the United States Coast Guard Band, the Bridgeport Symphony, the Ridgefield Symphony and for Josh Groban and LeAnn Rimes.

Chrissy Nadeau (Tuba Teaching Artist)

Chrissy Nadeau (Tuba Teaching Artist)

Christina Nadeau is a junior undergraduate at the University of Connecticut, where she is majoring in music education. Chrissy originally began on the flute, but in her freshman year of high school she switched to the tuba, which she has now been studying for 9 years. She has studied under Ken Garrison and Gary Sienkiewicz and taken a master class with world-renown Oystein Baadsvik. She currently performs with the UConn Symphonic band and the UConn Marching Band and Pep Band.

Mitch Mangan (Brass Teaching Artist)

Mitch Mangan (Brass Teaching Artist)

Mitch Mangan holds a Bachelor's of Science in Music Education from Western Connecticut State University. Mitch started playing the trombone 14 years ago and has focused on the bass trombone since high school. He has studied under George Sanders, Andrew Rodgers and Luis Fernando Jimenez over the years. As an educator he has taught in the Hebron and Wethersfield School Districts and has recently been working with students playing a variety of brass instruments in the Manchester Public Schools. Additionally Mitch has always enjoyed playing with a variety of musical ensembles. In college he regularly performed with the school's Wind Ensemble, Jazz Orchestra, Symphony Orchestra, Trombone Choir and also subbed in the Berkshire Big Band for a few years. Currently, Mitch is the Bass Trombonist in the South Windsor Community Band, Kats 'n Jammer's Big Band as well as the Thomaston Jazz Orchestra.

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Percussion Instructors

Jody Hagenow (Percussion Teaching Artist)

Jody Hagenow (Percussion Teaching Artist)

Mr. Hagenow comes to Summit Studios with a desire to expand the rhythmic horizon. His pursuit of a broader musical perspective led him to attend The Collective in New York City, where he studied the world rhythms of Brazil, Africa and Latin America with Latin/jazz great Kim Plainfield. Jody then sought out the instruction of the legendary Joe Morello, forming a relationship that has lasted more than five years.ÝBy working with Mr. Morello, JodyÝlearned the importance of developing technique and touch in percussion instruction. Jody has performed in numerous situations ranging from Jazz, Latin, Big Band, and R&B.

Chris Bonito (Percussion Teaching Artist)

Chris Bonito (Percussion Teaching Artist)

Chris Bonito started playing drums and music at an early age, and his excitement and love of drumming continue to this day. Originally from New Hampshire, Chris holds a BA in Music Performance from the University of New Hampshire, and describes himself as a "classically trained rock drummer with a background in jazz." He is influenced by many drummers and musicians and is well-versed in many styles of drumming. Chris offers his students a solid foundation of knowledge and performance; Topics of study include reading, technique, groove studies, fills and soloing, musicality and composition. His 19 year success as a drum set teaching artist is shown by some of his students going on to record with their own bands, auditioning for and making their school jazz band, and excelling in state band competitions. He is also a member of the Vic Firth Education Team. In addition to teaching, Chris works as a graphic designer. He lives in Wethersfield with his wife Anne and their son Tommy.

Jay Wood (Drum Teaching Artist)

Jay Wood (Drum Teaching Artist)

Jay Wood studied in the Jazz Studies/Percussion program at the University of North Texas, has 20 years of professional performance experience and is proficient in all styles of drumming including rock, funk, R&B, jazz, Latin and reggae. He has been instructing students of all ages and levels on drums since 2003.

Charlie Dye (Drum Teaching Artist)

Charlie Dye (Drum Teaching Artist)

Charlie Dye is a drummer currently located in Granby, CT. He is a graduate of the Eastman School of Music where he studied drumset with Rich Thompson, classical percussion with John Beck and Balinese Gamelan with I Nyoman Suadin. He is currently performing with a variety of groups throughout New England including Bipolar Jukebox (Contemporary Singer-Songwriter), Cheerleader (Indie-Pop), Thomas Bergeron Quintet (Jazz/Chamber Ensemble) and Theodicy Jazz Collective (Liturgical Jazz) in addition to a recording projects with Jasmine Dreame Wagner (Singer-Songwriter) and producer Dave Veslocki (Pop). He teaches privately throughout the Hartford area including studios in Avon, CT and Vernon, CT where groove, form, and technique are emphasized, while fostering creativity through improvisation. He has performed with artists such as Joel Frahm, Stephen Haynes, David Krakauer, Brad Lubman, Dick Oatts, Nat Reeves, Todd Reynolds, German Schauss and Fred Wesley and performed at venues including The Blue Note and Joe's Pub.

Idalberto Perdomo (Drum and Percussion Teaching Artist)

Idalberto Perdomo (Drum & Percussion Teaching Artist)

Perdomo joins the Summit family with decades of performing and teaching experience to share with his students. Since 1993 he's been an instrumental music instructor from beginner level to professional musicians in both drum set and Latin percussion. An experienced drummer and percussionist, Perdomo brings a vast knowledge of Jazz, Blues, R&B, Funk, Rock, Latin and Afro-Cuban music to the table, in addition to a strong background in music theory and concept in a plethora of musical styles.

Perdomo honed his craft over the years through studies at Alejandro Garcia Caturla School of Music and the Professional Arts School Ignacio Cervantes, both in Havana, Cuba. He also spent time studying under master drummer and percussionist Enrique Pla from the Grammy Award winning Irakere Band as well as Jose Luis Quintana 'Changuito' to name a few!

Perdomo's performance history has brought him to many stages with many renowned musicians including: Karl Perazzo from the Carlos Santana Band, master percussionist and musical legend Armando Peraza, internationally known master percussionist of Phil Collins, Luis Conte, prestigious international percussionist Mayra Casales, Grammy nominated Funk and R&B singer Ryan Shaw and many more! Additionally Perdomo played in "The Havana Night Show" in Las Vegas, was a percussionist for the reality entertainer Delisco in a show called Music is Light, and played drums and percussion for many shows including the Earl Turner Show, the Clint Holmes show and the Christopher Broughton Show. He also participated in recording sessions with musicians that currently form part of Gladys Knight's band and Gary Pucket.

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