Music Faculty

Thirzah Bendokas: Cello Instructor

Thirzah Bendokas, concert cellist, made her professional debut with the New Haven Symphony Orchestra, performing the Lalo Cello Concerto. Soon after came her solo debut with the Boston Symphony Orchestra with the Kabalevsky Concerto.  Upon graduating from the Juilliard School, she completed four concert tours of Mexico which included the Dvorak Cello Concerto, inaugurating the Nezoalcoyotl concert hall in Mexico City.  Ms. Bendokas is a familiar soloist with leading orchestras in her native Connecticut with performances including Beethoven’s Triple Concerto and the Haydn D Major Concerto.  Ms. Bendokas concertizes throughout the US, Austria, Portugal, Italy, Canada, Switzerland and in Spain, where she was guest soloist in five International Summer Music Festivals.

 

Joe Bouchard: Guitar, Songwriting & Composition, and Bass Instructor

Mr. Bouchard studied classical piano at Ithaca College from 1966 to 1970 and played guitar and bass in various college bands.  After graduating from Ithaca, he moved to Long Island and became a founding member of Columbia Recording’s Blue Oyster Cult.  The group became world famous in the late 70s and over the years was awarded nine gold and two platinum awards.  Mr. Bouchard retired from the group in 1986 and continued to work as a producer, author and freelance musician. The catalog of original songs recorded by Blue Oyster Cult continues to be very popular and is used in television, movies and the widely popular video games, Guitar Hero and Rockband.  In 1995, Mr. Bouchard received a Master’s Degree in Music Composition from the University of Hartford, Hartt School of Music.

 

Thomas Bouldin: Faculty, Director of Concert Band & Jazz Band, Brass Instructor; Music Theory, Music Technology and Music Survey Facilities Coordinator for Mattison Auditorium and the Music Center; Music Director for the Musical

Dr. Bouldin received the Bachelor of Music Education, Master of Education in Music and the Doctor of Philosophy in Music Education degrees from Auburn University, where his coursework focused on curriculum and teaching in music and music technology.  While at Auburn, he studied trombone with Dr. Bill Walls, orchestral conducting with Dr. Harold Kafer, and wind conducting with Dr. Rick Good.  Groups under Dr. Bouldin’s direction have consistently received superior ratings and numerous first place and grand champion awards.  An avid performer, Dr. Bouldin has an extensive background in orchestral, band, chamber, and jazz performance as a trombonist.  In addition, he has toured regionally and nationally as a guitarist/bassist in various rock, jazz and blues ensembles.  Dr. Bouldin has maintained close working relationships with local school and community theater groups, serving as musical director and/or technical director for dozens of productions.

 

Deborah Cárdenas: Flute & Piano Instructor; Chamber Ensemble; Choral Accompanist; Music Survey; Administration

Deborah Cárdenas began her musical studies at the Birmingham Conservatory of Music, UK before transferring to the University of Colorado, Boulder. Here, Mrs. Cárdenas graduated magna cum laude with a Bachelor of Music degree and was the winner of the Fiske Competition Award. Mrs. Cárdenas continued to teach and perform in the Denver area (Colorado Wind Ensemble and Denver Centennial Orchestra) before moving to New York. She continued to freelance and teach (Hudson Valley Wind Ensemble, Bronx River Opera and New Amsterdam Symphony Orchestra) whilst earning an Advanced Certificate and Licentiate in Flute Teaching from the Royal Schools of Music, London, England. (LRSM). Mrs. Cardenas has taught in Connecticut for the past 15 years and directs the Kent School Flute Ensemble. She is a member of the National Flute Association and judges for CT Regional and All-State auditions. Her students have been accepted to the CT Regional, All-State, All-Eastern and New England Music Festivals and have won regional concerto competitions as well as pursuing professional careers in music.

 

Larry Deming: Violin and Viola Instructor

Larry Deming began his study of violin with John Burnett (Redding, CT).  In 1981, he received a B.S. Degree with Distinction from the Indiana University School of Music, studying violin with Henryk Kowalski.  Mr. Deming played violin in the Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra, continues to play with the Springfield Symphony Orchestra, serves as the Concertmaster of the Danbury Symphony Orchestra and is the first violinist of the Deming String Quartet.  Mr. Deming played with many musical luminaries and he loves to arrange, compose, conduct, perform and teach many styles of music, including Bluegrass.  His multi-cultural recording “Journey to the East” was released in 2005.  He is the Director for the Summer Strings Program at the Danbury Music Center (since 2002).

 

Theresa Dolak: Clarinet, Saxophone, Oboe, Bassoon, and Piano Instructor

Theresa Hilton Dolak is a graduate of Manhattan School of Music where she studied with Leon Russianoff.  She also studied under master teacher David Weber (Juilliard) from 1999-2002. Other teachers include Alay Woy (Crane) and Susan Martula.  Ms. Dolak currently teaches at The Gunnery School, Duchess Day School, and Newtown High School (Visiting Artist) and maintains a private studio in her home in New Fairfield, Connecticut.  She has also held positions at WCSU and Rumsey Hall School.  She has performed as soloist and orchestral and chamber musician, performing with the Talea Chamber Ensemble, Danbury Chamber Ensemble, Camerata Strings, WCSU Faculty Quintet/Quartet, Ridgefield Symphony, Danbury Symphony Orchestra, Berkshire Opera Orchestra, The Gateway-Candlewood Theatre and The Manhattan Clarinet Quartet.

 

Jennifer Malone Hobbs: Music Department Chair, Faculty; Director of Orchestra & String Orchestra; Chamber Music; Violin and Viola Instructor; Music Survey; Advisor to The Kent Music Honor Society (Tri-M)

Jennifer Hobbs holds an A.B. from Bowdoin College (1990) in Music and History, and a Master of Music, from the University of Connecticut (1997).  At the University of Connecticut her coursework focused on performance practices, history, and music education & philosophy.  She studied instrumental conducting with Jeffrey Renshaw and sight-singing, choral methods and children’s vocal development with Mary Ellen Junda.  Before coming to Kent in 1993, she was the Assistant Manager for the Hartford Symphony Orchestra, working with the Music in the Schools program and was the Symphony’s guest artist liaison and host.  Her study of violin began at the age of three with Yuko Takahashi (student of Dr. Shin’ichi Suzuki).  During high school she studied violin at Yale with Paul Kantor and the piano at The Hartt School of Music with Betty Winograd.  In her college and post-graduate years, Mrs. Hobbs studied violin with Stephen Kecskemethy (Bowdoin College), Thomas Moore (University of Miami, School of Music) and Emlyn Ngai (The Hartt School).  She studied chamber music with Stephen Kecskemethy & Julia Adams (viola), members of the Portland String Quartet.  Mrs. Hobbs is a violinist with the Ridgefield Symphony Orchestra, and performs as a soloist and chamber musician throughout New England.  Her students have participated in numerous honors ensembles and competitions, including the Carnegie Hall Youth Orchestra & Tanglewood Institute.

 

Barbara Kovacs: Director of Concert Choir, Chamber Choir, Kentones & Kentettes; Minister of Music and organist for St. Joseph’s Chapel; Voice and Piano Instructor; Music Survey

Barbara Harris Kovacs is a Summa Cum Laude graduate of West Chester University of PA, having earned a Master of Music degree in Vocal Performance in December 2008; she is also an alumnus of Western Connecticut State University, with Bachelor of Arts degrees in Music Performance and in Communications.  Mrs. Kovacs  studied for several years with Dr. Thomas Houser, International Master Teacher of Singing, as well as Dr. Betty Jones of the New York City Opera; she began her study of the piano at age 5. Mrs. Kovacs has sung in performance as a soprano soloist with members of the Philadelphia Orchestra and with the Immaculata University Symphony Orchestra.  She served as adjunct Professor of Voice at Fairfield University in Fairfield, CT, as well as teaching at the Westtown School and Bishop Shanahan High School in PA.  Mrs. Kovacs has maintained a private music studio since 1994, and has served as the choral conductor/director for several adult, high school, and children’s choirs, having studied Advanced Choral Conducting with Dr. David DeVenney.  Though she is a classically trained vocalist and pianist, Mrs. Kovacs enjoys performing several different styles of music, including jazz, rock, and blues; she has composed, recorded, performed, taught and conducted various styles of music throughout the Northeast. She has sung jazz with the legendary Les Paul, was the featured rock vocal coach on MTV’s “Viva La Bam,” and has performed extensively as the jazz vocalist for several Philly-based swing/big bands, as well as singing with rock bands in CT and PA.

 

Kathleen Kruze: Guitar Instructor and Songwriting

Kathleen Kruze studied Classical Guitar at the Westchester Conservatory of Music in New York and holds a Bachelor of Science Degree with a Major in Music Performance (in affiliation with Mercy College, New York), where she graduated Magna cum Laude. She has over 25 years’ experience teaching all genres of music.  Ms. Kruze is a prolific composer of Jazz, Folk/Pop and Blues music, having written more than 150 compositions to date. She has produced several full-length CDs.  She has been performing in the Northeast with her own ensemble for the past 18 years. She has collaborated on recordings of her original music with internationally-acclaimed jazz flutist, Ali Ryerson, and performs with her frequently.

 

Doug Myers: Trumpet and French Horn Instructor

Doug Myers, trumpet, has been solo trumpet in orchestras in the United States, Europe, (Bergen, Norway) and Asia (Hong Kong), before turning his attention to his career as soloist and chamber musician.  At age 18, he became the youngest member of the Kansas City Philharmonic and went on to perform with the Milwaukee Symphony and the New Jersey Symphony.  As a soloist, he has performed with the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra, the Concerto Soloists, the New York Chamber Soloists, the North Carolina Symphony Orchestra and the Bergen Symphony Orchestra.  Mr. Myers is a specialist in the high trumpet and horn parts of the Baroque.  He is the Artistic Director/Founder of The New Baroque Soloists, a chamber music group.  He has performed chamber music with Elmar Olivera, Elaine Douvas, Samuel Baron, and Ronnie Roseman. He has played in the Milwaukee Symphony Brass Quintet, the Hong Kong Philharmonic Brass Quintet and the Munich Brass.  Mr. Myers has performed at the Gewandhaus Orchester Summer Festival (Steltzen), the Grand Teton Music Festival, the Canary Islands Music Festival and the Bergen May Festival.  Mr. Myers studied trumpet with Adolph Herseth, (Chicago Symphony Orchestra) and William Vacchiano, (New York Philharmonic) and horn with world renowned soloists Barry Tuckwell, Hermann Bauman and Lowell Greer.

 

Margarita Nuller: Piano Instructor and Accompanist

Margarita Nuller is a graduate of St. Petersburg Conservatory, Russia. She studied with Kasimir Grinasuk, Edward Bazanov, and Luiz DeMoura Castro.  Since her arrival to the United States in 1990, she has performed extensively as a soloist and chamber musician in the New York metropolitan area and New England. Ms. Nuller presented her debut recital at Weill Hall at Carnegie hall, New York City as a winner of Artist International Auditions. Her CD of Russian music was released on LÁrt label in 2003. Her most recent performances include solo recitals in Cambridge MA, and St. Petersburg, Russia.  Ms. Nuller was on the faculty of the University of Hartford (CT), the Mussorgsky College of Music (Russia), and the Connecticut Conservatory in New Milford. She, also, maintains a private piano studio in New Fairfield, CT.

 

Margaret O’Brien: Voice Instructor

Margaret O’Brien - soprano, music educator, music therapist, holds a BA in Music and French from Hamilton College, and a MA in Music Therapy from New York University.  She taught at the Dutchess Day School in Millbrook, NY.  She was a member of the professional choir under William Trafka at St. Bartholomew’s Church and under Nicholas White at St. Michael’s Church in New York City, and presented Voice Emporium, a vocal performance series.  She sings with the St. Andrew’s Choir in Kent, CT, where she also directs the children’s choir.

 

David Poirier: Saxophone Instructor and Jazz Studies

Mr. Poirier received his Bachelor of Music in Music Education from the Hartt School and Masters of Science in Music Education from Western Connecticut State University.  At Hartt, he performed throughout New England as the alto saxophonist with the Nice Guy Sax Quartet, and was featured on their CD, “Sax-A-Plenty”.  Mr. Poirier is currently band director and music teacher at Kent Center School and Sharon Center School of the Region One public schools.  Additionally, he enjoys instructing approximately twenty private saxophone students.  Since 1996, Mr. Poirier has also been the cantor at Sacred Heart Church in Kent.

 

Dave Wonsey: Percussion Instructor

Mr. Wonsey studied percussion at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and holds a Bachelor degree from the Manhattan School of Music.  His performance career includes work with the North Carolina Symphony, the Brooklyn Opera, the New Music Consort (NY), and the Danbury Symphony.  Currently he is the Principal Percussionist with the Ridgefield Symphony and was the featured soloist playing “Concerto for Solo Timpani and Orchestra.”  He also plays with countless community and summer theaters, and numerous jazz, pop/rock, and dance bands.  On the “World Percussion” scene, Dave is an accomplished hand drummer and performs regularly with his group, “WoMaDe”.  In addition, he is a World Champion rudimental snare drummer (Scottish style), teaching seminars and master classes along the East Coast, including the Manhattan School of Music and the Julliard School.

 

 
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