Darryl J. Bott (Artistic Director) is currently the associate director of the wind studies program at the Mason Gross School of the Arts, Rutgers University. He has received the New Jersey Music Educators Association Distinguished Service Award. His duties include conducting the Symphony Band and teaching courses in music education, including graduate and undergraduate instrumental conducting.
Since 2005, Bott has established programs such as the regional Concert Band Festival and the Mason Gross “Artist in Residence” series featuring guest artists such as Frank Battisti, Eugene Corporon, H. Robert Reynolds, Edward Lisk, Mallory Thompson, and Dennis Fisher. Bott also serves as the conductor of the Symphonic Winds for the Arts camp held at Mason Gross every summer. Bott served as the interim director of bands in 2010–2011, conducting both the Wind Ensemble and Symphony Band while serving as the chair of the director of bands search committee.
Todd Nichols (Assistant Director) is the Associate Director of University Bands and Director of Athletic Bands at Rutgers University. He also serves as artistic director and conductor for the Eastern Wind Symphony, a nationally recognized adult wind band.
Mr. Nichols serves on the executive board for ASPIRE, a national commissioning project, and has participated in national focus groups for the Midwest Band and Orchestra Clinic and National Concert Band Festival. He has guest conducted the United States Army Field Band, and numerous tri-state area honor bands. Mr. Nichols has supported over twenty new commissions including works by David Gillingham, John Mackey, Julie Giroux, Joe Turrin, William Ryden, Kevin Bobo, Joseph Spaniola, Eric Whitacre, Bruce Yurko, and Dana Wilson.
Most recently Mr. Nichols was inducted into the prestigious American Band Master’s Association and American School Band Director Association.
Maureen Hurd (clarinet) has appeared in concerts and master classes throughout Europe, Asia, and North America. She has performed at Carnegie’s Zankel Hall, with the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra, at Merkin Hall, with the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center in Alice Tully Hall, and in South Korea, France, England and Mexico. She was a featured performer at the International Clarinet Association ClarinetFests in Vancouver, Canada and in Japan and performed again in 2011 in Los Angeles. Festival appearances include chamber music performances at the Norfolk, Skaneateles, and Weekend of Chamber Music Festivals. She has recorded for Naxos, MSR Classics, and Marquis Classics. Recent releases include premiere recordings of works by Evan Hause and William Bolcomand a recording of Michael Daugherty’s clarinet concerto Brooklyn Bridge.
She earned all of her graduate degrees including her DMA from the Yale School of Music . Her primary teachers were David Shifrin, Charles Neidich, Joseph Messenger, and Ayako Oshima. She joined the faculty of the Mason Gross School of the Arts, Rutgers University, in 2002.
Erin Banholzer (oboe) is an active orchestral oboist who has played with the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra, the Cleveland Orchestra, the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, the National Symphony Orchestra, and more. Banholzer has spent summers performing at the Britt Festival, Castleton Festival, Music Academy of the West, the National Orchestral Institute, and Spoleto Festival USA. She serves on the faculties of Rutgers University and Summer Music in Tuscany. Banholzer has presented master classes at several universities throughout the United States including the University of Virginia and the University of Akron, and she often leads double reed clinics for area high schools. She is the wind chamber music coordinator at the Youth Orchestra of Central Jersey and director of oboe studies at JP Stevens High School in Edison, NJ. Banholzer received her Doctorate of Musical Arts Degree from Rutgers University and has also attended Northwestern University (BM) and the Cleveland Institute of Music (MM). Her principal teachers include Nathan Hughes, Scott Bell, Jeffrey Rathbun, Scott Hostetler, and Michael Henoch.
Native of Portland, Oregon, Christopher Wickham (bassoon) earned a DMA from Rutgers University, and holds degrees and certifications from Mannes College of Music, Temple University, SUNY Potsdam, and Portland State University. He has participated in festivals including the National Repertory Orchestra, Norfolk Chamber Music Festival, and the Texas Music Festival. Wickham was selected as an artist/teacher in residence at the SUNY Crane School of Music as part of the Teach Music in NYC program sponsored by VH-1 and Hillary Clinton. He is the woodwind director of the Youth Orchestra of Central Jersey, director of bassoon at JP Stevens High School, and the NJ All Star Bassoon Ensemble, as well as the founder and director of the annual Bassoonapalooza festival. Wickham has held positions at the Konawaena and Kamehameha Schools, Esquela de Artes de Musicales and Esquela de Musica y Danza, in Monterrey Mexico, Arcadia University and Westminster Conservatory. Wickham established CW Reeds, a reed making company, in 2007.
Amy I-Yun Tu (flute) is an award winner of the National Flute Association Masterclass Performers Competition (NFA), Baur Scholarship Competition, and Frank Bowen Young Artist Competition. A graduate from Interlochen Arts Academy, she received her Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees from the University of Cincinnati, College-Conservatory of Music where she studied with Dr. Bradley Garner. Ms. Tu has performed at concert venues in the United States, Italy, Austria, Great Britain, Japan, and Taiwan. In recent years, she has collaborated with the Park Avenue Chamber Symphony, World Civic Orchestra, Sinfonietta Nova, and the Eastern Wind Symphony. She is currently on faculty of the Mason Gross School of the Arts Extension Division at Rutgers University in New Jersey and serves as a competition coordinator for the Music Teacher National Association (MTNA). As a highly sought after teacher, she maintains a studio mentoring many prize-winning talents and adjudicates for NFA High School Soloist Competition, Philadelphia Flute Society, and New York Flute Club student competitions.
Dr. Paul Cohen (saxophone) has appeared as soloist with the San Francisco Symphony, Richmond Symphony, New Jersey Symphony, New York Virtuosi, Ridgefield Symphony Orchestra, Bergen Philharmonic, Charleston Symphony, and the Philharmonia Virtuosi. His many solo orchestra performances include works by Debussy, Creston, Ibert, Glazunov, Martin, Loeffler, Husa, Dahl, Still, Villa-Lobos, Tomasi, and Cowell. He has also performed with orchestras such as the New York Philharmonic, Metropolitan Opera, Cleveland Orchestra, Santa Fe Opera, New Jersey Symphony, Oregon Symphony, Long Island Philharmonic, Group for Contemporary Music, Greenwich Symphony, Charleston Symphony, New York Solisti, and the Manhattan Chamber Orchestra.
David Peel (horn) is an active horn player based in the New York City area. He is known for his versatility throughout many genres, whether performing nightly at Aladdin the Musical, in the recording studio or with various ensembles throughout the east coast.
His Broadway show credits include How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying, Chaplin and Aladdin in addition to performing at the Radio City Christmas Spectacular since 2008. He has performed with the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra, American Symphony Orchestra, Naples Philharmonic, New Jersey Symphony and many others. He holds the principal horn position with the Palm Beach Opera Orchestra and has recorded with a number of top groups and artists, including the Vanguard Jazz Orchestra, the Gil Evans Project, Sting, James Taylor and Train to name a few. He has also had the pleasure of appearing with many acclaimed artists including Josh Groban, Luciano Pavarotti, Andrea Bocelli, Ladigaga, Tony Bennett and Frank Sinatra, Jr.
He received his Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in music from the University of Miami and has served as a faculty member at Florida International University and Florida Atlantic University. David’s primary teachers were Jerome Ashby and his father, Jerry Peel, with whom he studied at the University of Miami.
Joe Busuito (trombone) is the newly appointed Assistant Director of Athletic Bands at Mason Gross School of the Arts, where he will work with the members of the Marching Scarlet Knights and Pep Bands, as well as the musicians in the Rutgers University Bands.
At present, Joe is a candidate for the Doctor of Musical Arts in Wind Conducting at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign where he studies with Dr. Steve Peterson. As a graduate teaching assistant, he works with musicians in the university concert bands, athletic bands, conducting, and music education classes. Joe received additional mentorship from Prof. Barry Houser, and Drs. Beth Peterson and Linda Moorhouse. He holds his M.M. degree in Wind Conducting and his B.M. degree in Music Education (specializing in trombone) both from Western Michigan University.
Kenneth De Carlo (Trumpet) has performed, toured, and recorded with the New York Philharmonic, Metropolitan Opera Orchestra, Cleveland Orchestra, SaitoKinen Orchestra. and other ensembles in the New York City metropolitan area. He was a soloist with the New York Symphonic Ensemble on their numerous tours to Japan and Southeast Asia and also played as principal trumpet in the Matthew Bourne Broadway production of Swan Lake.
Currently, De Carlo is playing as section trumpet with the New York Philharmonic. He is a graduate of the Manhattan School of Music.
Aaron VanderWeele (euphonium) serves on the faculties of Mason Gross School of the Arts and New Jersey City University. A featured soloist at the 2014 US Army Band Tuba Euphonium Workshop, VanderWeele gave a solo euphonium recital, and is a frequent guest artist at the Northeast Regional Tuba Euphonium Conference (ITEA). For 16 years, Aaron was the distinguished euphonium soloist of the New York Staff Band. He has performed at Carnegie Hall with Elton John and Lincoln Center with the Canadian Brass & Principal Brass of the New York Philharmonic. Solo performances include Royal Albert Hall, Queen Elizabeth Hall, Philips Arena, and Princeton University’s Richardson Auditorium.
His discography includes solo performances on 23 professional recordings and four solo recordings. His latest recording, Panache, received high praise from The Brass Herald Magazine. Editor Philip Biggs said: “The complete mastery of the euphonium that Aaron VanderWeele displays throughout this recording means that the listener is able to forget about technique and all such physical matters—one can just sit back and listen to the sheer music being performed.”
Peter James Saleh (percussion) is a founding member of New Jersey’s own Exit 9 Percussion Group, with whom he has performed over 200 times. In March 2009 he presented his solo recital program, “Mostly Multi” as well as master classes throughout Kaohsiung, Taiwan and Seoul, Korea. Other notable featured performances include Princeton’s McCarter Theater, The Juilliard School, New York’s Town Hall, the Jeju International Brass Festival, Seoul University, NJPAC, Dallas’ Bass Hall, Laguardia High School of the Performing Arts, the New York Musical Theater Festival at the Ailey Citigroup Theater, Drew University, and Rutgers University. He has also recorded under conductor Eugene Corporon with the North Texas Wind Symphony on the GIA and Klavier labels.
Demitrios Papadopoulos is a Wind Conducting Graduate Assistant, earning his Master’s degree in conducting at Mason Gross School of the Arts. He previously attended Syracuse University, where he earned a Bachelor of Arts in Music Education with a Performance Honors in Tuba. While in Syracuse, he played in the Wind Ensemble, Pride of the Orange Marching Band and other performing ensembles, as well as holding leadership positions in student professional development organizations. Demitri is a brother of Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia, Theta chapter.
Kevin Ayres is a freelance horn player, performing and teaching throughout New Jersey. He currently studies with Jerry Peel at Mason Gross School of the Arts, where he is pursuing degrees in French horn performance and Music Education. In his 12 years of studying horn, Kevin has performed in a multitude of honor ensembles, including the New Jersey All-State Wind Ensemble and Orchestra, and Boston University’s Tanglewood Institute. Kevin’s most memorable performances include playing for President Barack Obama, performing at Carnegie Hall, working with the Imani Winds, and playing alongside former principal trumpet of the New York Philharmonic, Phil Smith.
Charlie Barber is a rising sophomore at Rutgers University, double majoring in Trumpet Performance and Jazz Studies. Throughout his career thus far, he has had the opportunity to play with elite ensembles such as the Philadelphia Youth Orchestra, the All-Eastern Wind Band, the All-State Jazz Band, the Philadelphia Ambassador Big Band, and more. As a student, Charlie looks to gain all of the necessary skills to become a successful performer, composer, and educator. He has studied with George Rabbai, Joe Moseelo, Joe Magnarelli, and Kenneth DeCarlo.
Connor Babos is a senior at Mason Gross School of the Arts, where he is a double major in Music Education and Jazz Studies. He has performed in a wide variety of ensembles, performing on baritone saxophone in Rutgers Jazz Ensemble I and the Rutgers Mingus Big Band alongside guest artists such as Michael Dease, Claudio Roditi, John Beasly, and Tim Hagans. He has also been the principal bass clarinetist of the Rutgers University Symphonic Winds and principal bassoonist of the Rutgers Symphony Band, and is a member of Bacoustics, the Rutgers University bassoon ensemble. Other unique opportunities Connor has participated in at Rutgers include performing at Super Bowl XLVIII and before President Barack Obama at the Rutgers 250th Anniversary Commencement.
Edward Griffin is a Music Education and Euphonium Performance double major at Mason Gross School of the Arts. At Rutgers, Edward studies Euphonium and brass pedagogy with Aaron Vanderweele and Alan Baer. He has placed into some of Mason Gross’s most elite ensembles, playing in the Wind Ensemble, Brass Ensemble, and several chamber groups. Edward is also a freelance teacher and musician in the tri-state area. Monroe Township High School, Toms River High School North, and John P. Stevens High School employ him, where he is involved in all facets of the school’s marching band design and instruction. Edward holds a successful private studio, where his students have achieved success in area honor-band and college auditions. As a performer, he has played with several award-winning brass bands, concert bands, and drum corps around the northeast region.