Music Faculty

Albert Bayers: Oboe, Bassoon, and Saxophone Instructor

Mr. Bayers received his Bachelor of Music Education from the University of Bridgeport and received his Master of Music Education from Western Connecticut University.  He studied bassoon at the Yale School of Music and has performed with the Connecticut Symphony, The Chappaqua Chamber Orchestra, The Litchfield Chamber Orchestra, and was a staff musician at the American Shakespeare Festival in Stratford, CT. Mr. Bayers was the Director of the Concert Band, Marching Band, Jazz Ensemble, Select Winds, and Orchestra in New Milford, CT for thirty five years.

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 recent performances including Beethoven’s Triple Concerto and the Haydn D Major Concerto.  Besides local performances, Ms. Bendokas concertizes throughout the US, Austria, Portugal, Italy, Canada, Switzerland and in Spain, where recently she was guest soloist in five International Summer Music Festivals

Joe Bouchard: Guitar, Bass Guitar and Double 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 BOC in 1986 and has worked as a producer, author and freelance musician since then. The catalog of original songs recorded by Blue Oyster Cult continues to be very popular and is used in television, movies and, most currently, 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: Director of Concert Band & Jazz Bands, Coordinator of Mattison Auditorium, Brass Instructor, Music Director for the Musical, Music Theory, Music Technology

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 on dozens of productions.

Deborah Cárdenas: Flute & Piano Instructor, Chamber Music, Choral Accompanist

Deborah Cárdenas was born in England and began her studies at the Birmingham Conservatory, U.K.  In 1990 she transferred to the University of Colorado, Boulder, where she was a Fiske Competition Award winner and recipient of a BMUS with Honors.  Mrs. Cárdenas continued to teach and perform in the Denver area (Colorado Wind Ensemble and Denver Centennial Orchestra) before moving to New York. Here, she continued to freelance and teach (Hudson Valley Wind Ensemble and New Amsterdam Symphony Orchestra) whilst earning an advanced certificate and Licentiate in Flute Teaching from the Royal Schools of  Music.(LRSM) Mrs. Cárdenas studied with Collin Lilley (UK) and Ali Ryerson (US).  She is a member of the National Flute Association and an All State judge for the CT Music Teachers Association.

Larry Deming: Violin and Viola Instructor

Mr. Deming began his study of Violin in the Danbury Music Centre’s Summer String Program studying violin under John Burnett. He received a B.S. Degree with Distinction from the Indiana University School of Music in 1981. He played Violin in the Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra for seven years, the Springfield Symphony Orchestra for nine years, was Concertmaster of the Danbury Symphony Orchestra for five years, and is first Violinist of the Deming String Quartet. Mr. Deming has played with many musical luminaries and he loves to arrange, compose, conduct, perform and teach many types of music. His CD, “Journey to the East”, was released in 2005. He is once again concertmaster of the Danbury Symphony Orchestra and has been director of the Summer Strings Program at the Danbury Music Centre since 2002.

Theresa Dolak: Clarinet, Saxophone 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 as a 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: Chairman of the Music Department, Director of Orchestra & String Orchestra, Chamber Music, Violin and Viola Instructor; Advisor to The Kent Music Honor Society (Tri-M); Music Survey

Mrs. Hobbs holds an A.B. from Bowdoin College in Music and History, and a Master of Music from the University of Connecticut.  At the University of Connecticut her coursework focused on performance practices, theory, and music education & philosophy.  She studied instrumental conducting with Jeffrey Renshaw and sight-singing, choral conducting methods and children’s vocal development with Mary Ellen Junda.  Before coming to Kent, 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 four with Madame 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), both members of the Portland String Quartet.  Mrs. Hobbs is a violinist with the Ridgefield Symphony, and performs as a soloist and chamber musician throughout New England.

Barbara Harris Kovacs: Voice Instructor, Kentones and Kentettes

Barbara Harris Kovacs is a graduate of West Chester University, 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 also 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. Mrs. Kovacs has sung in performance as a soprano soloist with members of the Philadelphia Orchestra and with the Immaculata University Symphony Orchestra.  She has served as adjunct Professor of Voice at Fairfield University in Fairfield, CT, as well as teaching voice and piano at the Westtown School and Bishop Shanahan High School in PA.  Mrs. Kovacs 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 and is currently in the studio working on another release. She has been performing in the Northeast with her own ensemble for the past 15 years. Most recently, she has collaborated on recordings of her original music with internationally-acclaimed jazz flutist, Ali Ryerson, and performs with her frequently.

Suzanne McDonald: Kent Choir Ensembles (School Choir & Chamber Choir), Chapel Organist, Music Survey, Music Theory Skills

Ms. McDonald received her Masters of Music in Organ Performance from The Boston Conservatory of Music.  She studied under James David Christie, organist of The Boston Symphony.  Her undergraduate studies were at Loyola College and McGill University where she studied with the renowned organist Bernard Lagace. After her undergraduate studies she was assistant organist at Christ Church Anglican Cathedral in Montreal P.Q.Canada. Before returning to the U.S. she completed her choral and organ studies in England at the Royal School of Church Music. Ms. McDonald’s choral experience ranges from directing small chamber ensembles to large choral groups. Previously, Ms. McDonald taught at The Chatham Hall School in Virginia, and at Duke Middle School and Sandhills Community College, both in North Carolina.  In recent years, she was on the music staff at Chapel of the Cross (Episcopal) and University United Methodist Church in Chapel Hill, North Carolina.

Douglas Myers: Brass Instructor

Prior to attending the prestigious Oberlin Conservatory of Music, Mr. Myers graduated cum laude with distinction in Mathematics from Phillips Academy, Andover.  After an exemplary career as Solo Trumpet in orchestras in the United States, Europe and Asia (Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra, New Jersey Symphony Orchestra, Bergen Norway Symphony Orchestra, Hong Kong Philharmonic), Mr. Myers has specialized in performing works for Trumpet and Horn from the Baroque Period.  As a scholar/performer, he has uncovered and performed dozens of works by the Baroque Masters.  Mr. Myers has taught at Duke University, the Wisconsin Conservatory, The Hong Kong Academy for the Performing Arts and at the KEIO Academy of New York.  His students have won positions in the Connecticut All-State ensembles on trumpet, horn, trombone, baritone and tuba.  Several of Mr. Myers’ former students are now professional musicians and university professors.

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 Moussorgsky College of Music (Russia), and the Connecticut Conservatory in New Milford. Presently, she is on the faculty of the Kent School, and maintains a private piano studio in New Fairfield, CT.

Margaret O’Brien: Voice Instructor, Vocal Coach for the Musical

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 most recently 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: Jazz Studies and Saxophone Instructor

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.  He also performs with the jazz quartet “the Kent Algorhythms”, the rock cover band “Undercover”, and as a sub in the jazz big band “Bristol Reunion Band”.  Mr. Poirier is a member of the International Bandmaster’s Fraternity, “Phi Beta Mu”.

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 recently 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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