CAROL ARRUCCI - Co-Owner, Voice & Piano Instructor, Director of CSPA Theatre Kids!
(Croton and Mohegan Lake Locations)
Carol is an award winning, 30-year veteran music teacher. She has been involved in training professional children for over 25 years, having done so in the community and on Broadway. Her first love is choral conducting, although she has had many professional experiences conducting orchestras, accompanying vocalists and singing professionally. The award winning Blue Mountain Middle School choirs were her pride and joy. They also performed all over the county in special events for Veterans, senior citizens, fundraising events and local organizations.
RAY ARRUCCI - Co-Owner, Business Manager and Concert Manager
Ray Arrucci serves as business manager and retail purchasing agent for CSPA. He is a vocalist, guitarist and Equity actor with over 40 years of rock 'n'roll, musical theater and film experience. His 25 years in retail sales enhances the buying power of CSPA's Music Depot, and allows us to pass substantial savings on to our clients and customers. He also has initiated a Concert Series in the CSPA Cabaret Room and in the community, providing the community with jazz, pop, rock and entertainers.
OUR STAFF (in alphabetical order)
BARBARA ALLEN - Drum Set and Percussion (Croton and Mohegan Lake)
Percussionist Barbara Allen has been playing drums and percussion in the New York City area since 1984. Currently residing in Putnam county, these days you can find Barbara performing as timpanist of the Bronx and Taconic Operas, teaching West African drumming for adults and children, doing music outreach programs through the Westchester Children’s Museum, and teaching privately.
CHARLIE ALLETTO - Guitar Instructor (Croton and Mohegan Lake)
Playing music since his early teens, guitarist Charlie Alletto has become well versed in many styles of music. Charlie studied guitar with local Jazz great Steve Lamattina and taught at the prestigious Allen-Stevenson School in NYC. Charlie has performed with such “oldies” groups as The Toys, Arlene Smith and the Chantels and The Marvelettes. He has recorded with Lili Anel, Mambo Negro, Jessica Valiente and Blue Mambo which he co-led with master percussionist Victor Rendon.Charlie performs throughout
CARRIE BRANDT - Violin Instructor (Croton Location)
Carrie has been teaching private violin lessons to all ages for over 18 years. Her
past teaching experience includes operating her own studio in Virginia and North
Carolina, teaching on the private lesson faculty at Ravenscroft School in Raleigh, NC,
and as a teacher at the Junior Musician's camp in Windhoek, Namibia.
JEFFREY J. BROWN - Guitar Instructor (Croton and Mohegan Lake Locations)
A Senior Adjunct Music Professor at Westchester Community College, Jeff Brown is also the owner of The Westchester School of Guitar. He teaches at CSPA to hang around with his longtime musical pals, Ray and Carol and to spread his teaching talents in a northern location. He is presently an adjunct director of the guitar ensemble at The Hackley School in Tarrytown, and principal guitar instructor. He has experiences as guitar instructor at The Masters School in Dobbs Ferry, Greenwich Academy, Ossining School of Music (where he was head of the guitar department), Westchester County
TRAVIS CARPENTER - Violin, Viola, Cello, Banjo Instructor (Croton and Mohegan Lake Locations)
Travis Carpenter has enjoyed teaching strings for nine years and counting. In 2007, he graduated from the Crane School of Music at SUNY Potsdam with a Bachelor's in Music Education and a Certificate of Performance. He taught middle school and elementary orchestra in Whitesboro, NY from 2007 to 2012, and he also played viola in the Utica Symphony Orchestra and other regional groups during that time.
In 2012 he returned briefly to his native Burlingon, VT, where he began teaching private string lessons and became involved in community music organizations. He played with the University of Vermont Symphony Orchestra, the Burlington Civic Symphony
KRISTINA COOKE - Voice and Violin, Viola (Croton and Mohegan Lake Locations)
Kristina Cooke, an emerging soprano originally hailing from Chicago, is excited to be joining the staff of CSPA. She holds a Master’s degree from New England Conservatory in Voice, a Bachelor’s in Music for Voice and Viola from TCU, and is an active performer. Ms. Cook most recently appeared in April, 2018 with Taconic Opera as Amelia in Verdi’s Un Ballo in Maschera. In 2017, Kristina created the role of Tammy Smithson in the new opera In Bocca al Lupo by Dan Montez, appeared as Rosalinde in two productions of Die Fledermaus, and made her New York concert stage debut with the Chappaqua Orchestra singing Bachianas Brasileiras No. 5 by Heitor Villa-Lobos. Having performed as a mezzo-soprano for the bulk of her career, Ms.Cook recently began singing lyrico-spinto repertoire and has developed a significant upper extension. She sang her first soprano role in 2016 as Mercedes in Taconic Opera’s production of Carmen and covered the
BEATRIZ DE MELLO - Piano and Voice (Croton and Mohegan Lake Locations)
Beatriz is a college educator, composer, church musician and performer. She comes from a diverse musical background and has appeared in venues ranging from unpresumptuous The Bowery Mission to illustrious Carnegie Hall. After being mentored by some of the great icons in the musical world such as American composer David del Tredici and Jazz pianist Herbie Hancock, Beatriz is now passionate about sharing the love of music with students of all ages. She presently was appointed vocal coach and choir director at
DAVID DILEO - Guitar and Strings Instructor (Croton Location)
David attended Concordia College where he studied guitar and music education. He teaches Guitar/Bass/Strings at CSPA. David is currently the elementary orchestra director at Washington Irving Elementary School in Tarrytown. As a guitarist, David has played in many top rock-cover bands including Stone Groove and The Tub. He has also played guitar, bass and cello in the pit orchestra for a wide variety of musicals, including Grease, Footloose, The Wiz, Gypsy, Bye-Bye Birdie, 42nd Street, Evita. David’s guitar style is a mixture of many influences, including blues, rock, metal, classical and jazz.
SAM FRIEDMAN - Piano and Harmonica Instructor
(Sam has moved to Los Angeles but is available for lessons by Skype)
Sam has had a very interesting background in music education, having taught Jazz Ensemble, Big Band and AP Music Theory as a substitute at The Masters School in Dobbs Ferry, music class in a boys home for autism, and a Rhythm Workshop Leader in a Residential Facility in Brewster. He ran a middle school after school program at The Masters School, teaching them to improvise and write songs together. He recently received his Bachelor of Arts degree from Wesleyan University where he received the Leavell Memorial Prize for his outstanding work in music, given to a student whose work manifests the ideals of the World Music Program in the Department of Music. He also received the University's Tischler Prize as the winner of the Tischler Piano Competition. He is full of energy and his performances around the world vary from rock to pop to jazz improvisation on piano, percussion and harmonica.
PETER FROST - Voice, Piano, Sight Reading Instructor (Croton Location)
Peter received his Bachelor of Music degree in vocal performance from the Hartt School of Music in Connecticut and Master of Music degree in music education from Lehman College, City University of New York. He has performed with the Hartt Touring Opera in Connecticut, the California Opera Center at Notre Dame College in Belmont, California. As an actor-singer, he has appeared in musicals in summer stock, dinner theaters and regional theaters, as well as many dramatic plays with Bluestone Actors Project, a professional repertory company based in Westchester County, New York.
CHRIS KEEFE - Piano (Croton and Mohegan Lake Location)
Chris Keefe has taught piano to hundreds of students over the last twenty years. He was formerly on faculty at the Franklin School for the Performing Arts in Franklin, Massachusetts and the Old Town Conservatory of Music in Pasadena, California. He was also a Yamaha Music Education System trained teacher. His teaching methods include classical, jazz and popular styles of music. Some of his students have gone on to major in music. Chris has performed across North America in cities including San Francisco, Los Angeles, San Diego, New York, Boston and Calgary. He has performed at jazz festivals including Jazz at Banff Centre and the Lake Placid Institute. He has performed with notable jazz musicians including Joe
JIM KEYES - Piano, Guitar, Ukulele, Mandolin and Accordion Instructor
(Croton and Mohegan Lake Locations)
Jim Keyes is an accomplished musician, performer, songwriter and composer. He’s as likely to be heard playing original songs on an electric guitar in the rock band Hot Rod Pacer as he is singing 18th century ballads in Colonial garb.
As a historic musician, he is drawn to its rich history and legends. Jim’s music appears on network and cable TV shows. He is currently a “green-light” composer for Getty Images. In 2008, Jim scored Historic Hudson Valley’s installations, “Winter Wonderlights” and “The Great Jack-O-Lantern Blaze”.
REGINA LEON - Voice Instructor (Croton and Mohegan Lake Locations)
Soprano Regina Leon is a voice teacher, vocal coach, music director and an active performer of cabaret, musical theater and sacred music as a soloist and with small ensembles. She is the lead instructor for the Summer Pre-College Vocal Intensive at SUNY Purchase. She is a NYSSMA Voice Adjudicator and teaches a workshop called “Vocal Styling and Performance” for the PAWS (Performing Arts Westchester Students) program at SUNY Purchase. She is the music director for Briarcliff High School musical theatre productions including “Urinetown,” “Cinderella” and “The Boys from Syracuse,” and Briarcliff Middle School musical theater productions including
DAN MONTEZ - Voice Instructor (Croton Location)
Dan, General Director of Taconic Opera, has been an opera singer and stage director for twenty-five years. He has performed principal roles in or directed more than one hundred productions and has appeared in numerous houses, including San Francisco Opera, Carnegie Hall and Lincoln Center. He has also performed and conducted oratorios and recitals throughout the United States. Montez received a BMu from Brigham Young University in Vocal Pedagogy and his M.A. in Vocal Performance from San Jose State University.
MELISSA MONTEZ, Piano Instructor (Croton and Mohegan Lake Locations)
Originally from Iowa, Melissa Montez earned her music degree from Brigham Young University before moving to the Bay Area in California where she taught music and history at the renowned Challenger School for nearly a decade. While in California, she played violin in the San Jose State Symphony and sang with Opera San Jose. Since moving to New York, she has taught piano lessons for more than twenty years in Westchester County, maintaining a private studio of more than two dozen students, ranging in age from four to sixty-eight. A firm believer in developing well-rounded musicians, she incorporates ear training, theory, music history, and sight-reading into
KESSA MEFFORD, Piano Instructor (Croton and Mohegan Lake Locations)
Kessa is a native of Peekskill, New York. Homeschooled by two musicians, she was raised not only to be a pianist, but a well-rounded musician. Her mother was a full-time pedagogue and her father was the general director of an opera company. By the time she was three, her parents discovered she had perfect pitch, and her piano studies began. Throughout her youth, she also studied voice and sang with her father’s opera company. She made her first public piano concert appearance at age six. Her first full-length solo piano concert was at age fourteen, and she has since performed solo recitals every year in different locations around New York.
Kessa received a BM in piano performance in August 2017 at Brigham Young University, where she received several academic and music merit scholarships. After two and a half years of studying with Dr. Richard Anderson, she was accepted to the renowned studio of Dr. Irene Peery-Fox, whom she studied with for two years. While at BYU, she competed at their annual concerto competition with Mozart’s 23rd Piano Concerto in 2015, where she was a finalist.
JOE NATALE - Saxophone, Clarinet and Flute (Croton and Mohegan Lake Locations)
Joe was born in Syracuse, NY and raised in Yorktown Heights. Joe developed an interest in music at an early age and started playing clarinet in elementary school band. He discovered the saxophone and his passion for jazz, and at 13, he enrolled at Lagond Music School in Elmsford, NY where he had the privilege to study with such luminaries as Charlie Lagond, Jon Irabagon and Kris Allen.
Joe holds a undergraduate degree from The Hartt School of Music and a Masters degree from The State University of NY at Purchase. He has had the opportunity to study and play with accomplished musicians such as Ralph Lalama, Rene
TRAVIS RAMIREZ - Piano Instructor and Office Manager
Travis Ramirez, pianist and opera singer, has been studying voice and piano for several years. He has recently been added to CSPA's roster of teachers and specializes in teaching beginner piano to children and young adults. Travis has worked with the General Director of the Taconic Opera Company, Dan Montez, and has completed serious studies in composing, music history, and music theory. Mr. Ramirez has also performed several operatic and theatrical roles including appearances in Die Fledermaus, Faust, Carmen, and I Pagliacci. He has also played leading roles in several musical theater productions including Seussical the Musical and Beauty and the Beast and performed the role of Young Guido with
JOHN REID - Brass Instructor (Croton and Mohegan Lake Locations)
John Reid has been a free-lance trumpeter for over 30 years. Starting in Nashville, working and touring with some of the finest Country stars, he was a co-founding member of “Brass Works” brass quintet for ten years. He then relocated to New York City where he continued to tour, record and play on Broadway for the last 20 years. John’s numerous Broadway credits include Seussical, Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, Ghost and most recently Rocky. John holds a master’s degree in trumpet performance from George Peabody College and has taught private trumpet throughout his performance career at Read More
GIOCILLE SHAW - Piano Instructor / Kodaly Specialist (Croton Location)
Giocille Shaw has been making music with children for over twenty years, in a variety of settings and locales. Most recently, she has been at Brookside and Claremont Elementary Schools in Ossining, New York, teaching 2nd through 4th grade Classroom Music, Chorus and Recorder Ensemble. She has presented workshops for KONY, The Westchester County Staff Development Center and The Community Music Program of New York, Orange County, and is an active member of The Westchester County KONY NEWS 24.3 3 School Music
KIM SOLOW - Piano Instructor (Croton and Mohegan Lake Locations)
Kim is a keyboardist/vocalist/composer & lyricist, has worked in many bands throughout the tri-state area including; the Regents, the Belmonts, Lenny Welsh, Shooting Star Band, R&R Express, Eddie U & the Turns, Euphoria, the Willies, James’ Gang, Doc Rock, Rock Foundation, the All Stars, Mixed Emotions, Telltale Signs, Settin’ the Record Straight, the Love Cats, Taking Turns and Damaged Goods, playing anywhere from local bars, beaches and parties to the Chance in Poughkeepsie and the Meadowlands Arena, playing in Richard Nader’s Doo Wop Show with the Belmonts.
ELIZABETH TEDESCO - Violin / Cello Instructor, Kindermusik® Instructor
(Croton and Mohegan Lake Locations)
Elizabeth has a B.A. in behavioral sciences with concentration in music from Concordia College. Certified in Musikgarten® Certification (Birth - 3 years old), and Kindermusik®, Elizabeth teaches both private and group classes at CSPA. She has been a freelance violin instructor since 1997, and has performed with World Civic Orchestra St. Thomas Orchestra, Albert Einstein College of Medicine Symphony Orchestra (First Violin), among others.
ANNETTE A. VACCARO - Piano Instructor (Croton and Mohegan Lake Locations)
As a retired Music Educator and District Wide Music Administrator from the Lakeland Central School District, Annette has instructed thousands of students from elementary through high school vocal music, piano, music theory and theatre arts while she acted as the "Wig 'n' Whiskers" Theatre Director/Producer for over 20 years. For a short while, she served as an adjunct professor at Mercy College and Westchester Community College. Her high school performing groups earned Gold Awards and Excellence in Performance recognition at many NY State and National Music Festivals.
IN MEMORY OF OUR FLUTE INSTRUCTOR, BRIAN DELMA TAYLOR - 1952-2017
You have given great gifts to the students of CSPA