Marty Wirt- Piano, Percussion
Marty Wirt is an active and versatile performer and educator. He began studying piano at age seven, and has since developed a passion for all styles of classical and popular music. In addition to teaching at Community Music School, Marty is on the music faculty at Mercy High School in Middletown, CT, where he instructs a string orchestra, wind ensemble, and coaches jazz band. As a performer, he has played for productions at Goodspeed Musicals, the Ivoryton Playhouse, and numerous local venues. He is a graduate of the New England Conservatory of Music and a proud alumnus of CMS.
Marty teaches on Tuesdays and Thursdays.
Matt Massaro- Piano
Matt Massaro has been playing piano for over twenty years. At an early age, he took interest in the instrument and immediately began playing by ear. In high school, Matt was the accompanist for three years for the Pentagle Players choir and he also performed solos in school concerts. He has a B.A. degree in music performance at Central Connecticut State University. At CCSU he studied piano with Dr. Linda Laurent, who received a Masters degree from the Julliard School. He enjoys taking on challenging pieces and has performed in many recitals and concerts at CCSU and for other occasions. Upon completing his degree, Matt was required to play a solo recital which was well received by faculty and audience. His most recent achievement was the role of piano soloist for the CCSU sinfonietta in performing the Mozart Piano Concerto in A Major No. 23. Matt has taught private piano lessons with students ranging from beginner to advanced. Matt’s lesson approach focuses highly on technique, rhythm and reading.
Matt teaches on Thursdays.
Thomas Briggs- Piano, Percussion, Jazz Improvisation, Composition
Tom studied at Berklee College of Music in Boston and received his BA in Music Education, Summa Cum Laude, at the University of Massachusetts in Amherst. Tom retired in May ‘09 from the United States Coast Guard Band after 30 years of service. He was the principal percussionist, arranger/composer, and musical director of the Coast Guard Masters of Swing jazz septet. Tom is also an award-winning published composer. He has written and arranged many works for all types of musical ensembles, from symphonic winds to percussion, chamber groups and jazz ensembles. In the field of education, Tom has published a beginning-intermediate piano method book, two drum-set and two snare drum method books.
Tom is currently the Music Director at the Community Music School and has been a member of the faculty since 1985. He offers private instruction on piano, composition, percussion, drum-set, computer technology, and jazz piano and improvisation. Since 1996, Tom has directed the CMS Jazz Ensemble and has produced over 85 arrangements and compositions for the group.
Tom teaches Monday – Saturday.
Audrey Estelle- Piano
Audrey holds a Bachelor of Music degree in Piano Performance from Bob Jones University. She studied principally with Anne Morton, and also with international composer and lecturer, Dr. Andrzej Dutkiewicz. She has been on faculty at CMS since 2003 and has held a private piano studio as well. In addition to teaching, she accompanies for CMS student recitals and performs in faculty concerts. Audrey has played for fund raising events and is an active soloist and accompanist at her church. She has also composed and arranged pieces for cello, flute, voice and piano. Other accompanying venues include The Hartt School Community Division, CCSU Department of Music, and various choral, instrumental and vocal groups.
Audrey teaches on Tuesdays.
Joni Gage- Piano, Voice, Rockin' Robins Director, Broadway Bound Director
Joni Gage joined CMS faculty in 2002 as a voice and piano instructor, as well as a choral and theater director. Joni holds a Bachelor of Arts in Music from Florida Atlantic University. She is a member of Music Educator’s National Conference and ACDA. Joni is a soprano in the Con Brio Choral Society and also serves as an adjudicator for Shoreline Arts Alliance Vocal Scholarship Competition. Joni is the Musical Director for several theatre companies including Oddfellows Playhouse, Old Saybrook Summer Stock, Middlesex Academy of the Performing Arts, and Missoula Children’s Theatre through The Katherine Hepburn Cultural Arts Center. She is the Musical Director for the CMS youth choir Rockin’ Robins and also directs CMS Broadway Bound East Theater program, staging numerous musicals for young actors. Joni grew up in Hadlyme, CT. Read more about Joni Gage.
Joni teaches Monday – Thursday.
Adele Huffman- Piano
Adele inspires young students with her beginning piano group and encourages more advanced students through private lessons. A graduate of the Philadelphia Conservatory with a Bachelor of Music degree, Adele founded a private piano studio in Guilford where she has lived for over thirty years. A member of the National Music Teachers Association, Adele has been the acting vice president for the New Haven Chapter since 2005, directing the ensemble recitals. She continues to organize and help run MAP (Music Achievement Program) which teaches ear training, theory, sight -reading , rhythm and transposition along with performance to students, grades 1-10.
Adele teaches Mondays and Wednesdays.
Marilyn Stewart Lazare- Piano, Lead Piano Faculty, Senior Faculty Advisor
Marilyn received two diplomas from the Paris National Conservatory of Music. She studied with Nadia Boulanger, Annette Dieudonne and Germaine Pinault. She holds Master’s degrees from Harvard University (Romance Language and Literature) and Brigham Young University (Musicology). Prior to joining the CMS faculty, Marilyn taught at Mount Ida College, the New England Conservatory of Music, and the Longy School of Music. “Madame Lazare” is a member of the faculty at Quinnipiac University, where she is an Associate Professor of French and also serves as a church organist for local congregations.
Marilyn teaches Monday – Thursday.
Greta Moorhead- Voice, Piano
Acclaimed for her rich voice and compelling stage presence, contralto Greta Moorhead continues to captivate audiences with her dynamic versatility. Raised in Ardmore, Pennsylvania, Ms. Moorhead began studying the piano and the violin at an early age, before taking formal voice lessons in high school. Greta obtained her Bachelor of Music degree in Vocal Performance from the Hartt School of the University of Hartford. Her teachers have included Diana Borgia-Petro, Marjorie Melnick, and Valerie Sorel. An active recitalist around New England, Greta enjoys chamber music collaborations on a variety of repertoire, ranging from that of the Baroque period to contemporary music. A dedicated instructor, Greta teaches a number of styles of singing including classical, jazz, pop, and folk, among others.
Greta teaches on Wednesday.
Shari Wilcox- Piano, Voice, Studio 24 Director
Shari graduated from the University of Rhode Island with a Bachelor of Music Performance Degree. As a mezzo-soprano, Shari has appeared in opera, musical theater, and as a guest soloist with regional orchestras. She has performed in a variety of roles including The Mother in Amahl and the Night Visitors, Sharon McLonergan in Finian’s Rainbow, Lady Thiang in The King and I, Ensign Nellie Forbush in South Pacific, Mme. Ernestine von Liebedich in Little Mary Sunshine, Pitty-Sing in The Mikado and the Queen of the Fairies in Gilbert and Sullivan’s Iolanthe for which she received a Eugene O’Neill Award. Ms. Wilcox has performed in many opera scenes programs including Carmen in Carmen, Madame Flora in The Medium, Miss Todd in The Old Maid and the Thief, Suzuki in Madama Butterfly and Marcellina in The Marriage of Figaro. She is the Music Director at the UCC First Congregation Church in Essex where she also serves as section leader, Musical Theater Director and Senior Choir Director Assistant.
Shari teaches Tuesday, Thursday and Friday.