2016 Graduating Class at The Hartt School Community Division
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HCD Class of 2016

Thank you to all the high-school seniors in the Class of 2016 who shared with us your exciting plans for the future. The staff at The Hartt School Community Division wish you all the best as you begin your new journeys.

Jason Aldave

Jason Aldave, a senior at Hall High School, is a member of the school orchestra as well as I Giovanni Solisti, a West Hartford orchestra, under the direction of Emmett Drake. He began playing violin in the fourth grade under the Andy Bhasin Studio and is currently a student of Janet Jacobson. He was selected for All-State Orchestra for two years and participated in Northern Regional Orchestra throughout high school. Jason plays in a chamber group under the coaching of Mickey Reisman and has been a member of Sinfonia prior to playing with the Connecticut Youth Symphony this year. He will graduate from Hall High School in June and will attend College of the Holy Cross in the fall.  

Mary Allain

Mary Allain could sing before she could talk. She began taking piano lessons in second grade, oboe in fourth grade, and can now play seven instruments. She has participated in HCD ensembles for the past five years, has been an Eastern Region musician all throughout middle and high school, and loves her female acapella group at RHAM High School. She's written over 100 original songs and enjoys performing them in open-mic nights and talent shows. She is excited to attend Drexel University in Philadelphia and study Music Industry in the fall. Mary Allain has participated in the Greater Hartford Youth Wind Ensemble (GHYWE) and High School Chamber Choir, as well as HCD’s Rock Band.

Helen Bao

Helen Bao has been studying piano with Pi-Hsun Shih for almost 12 years at the Hartt School Community Division.  Bao has been the winner of various competitions, such as the Honors Competition, the Rising Pianists Competition, the Audrey Thayer Competition, and the Select Students Competition. In addition to playing the piano, Bao is very devoted to her academics. She is member of Glastonbury High School's National Honor Society, Mu Alpha Theta Math Honor Society, and Science Honor Society. She is an AP Scholar as well as a National Merit Finalist. Bao is has been a Girl Scout of Troop 10807 since 2009 and is currently working on obtaining her Gold Award. This year also marks her fourth and last season on the Glastonbury High School Girls’ Varsity Crew team. Helen will be attending Northwestern University in the fall.

Maria Bevilacqua

Marialena Catherine Bevilacqua has studied violin since age four at The Hartt School Community Division (HCD). Marialena has been very blessed to study with Donna Ngai for the past four years and wishes to thank her for sharing her talent and her love of music. Marialena is also is a member of the West Hartford Symphony Orchestra and started her own group that provides music to residents at local nursing homes regularly. Marialena is a very involved senior at Mercy High School. She is the Student Body President, Captain of the Varsity Field Hockey Team, Captain of the Varsity Hockey Team, and Captain of the Varsity Lacrosse Team. She is also heavily involved in Peer Ministry and was proud to have been commissioned a Eucharistic Minister this past year. Marialena will attend The College of the Holy Cross in September, majoring in physics and minoring in music.

Rachel Brown

Rachel Brown is a senior at the Watkinson School and a voice student of Susan Mardinly. She sings in the main chorus as well as Vox Wat, the premier vocal group at Watkinson. She also plays oboe, soprano saxophone, and accordion in the school ensemble. She was selected for the Northern Regional Choir for three years, and the All-State Choir for two years. During her junior year, she played flute, oboe, and soprano saxophone as a member of a two-person pit band for Watkinson's production of "The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee.” She recently planned and performed a senior voice recital of eight songs and will major in vocal performance at McGill's Schulich School of Music in the fall.

Deanna Casey has been playing the violin since she was four years old. She studies with Teri Einfeldt and currently goes to Northwest Catholic High School. Her mother, a classical violinist, and her father, a professional jazz pianist, led her to grow up in a house always filled with music. As well as the violin, she also plays the guitar, bass, drums, piano, and is in a professional singing band with her four younger sisters. As a violinist she has toured California with the Westport Vivace Group, has performed on four CDs, and had a song arranged for solo violin and big band, which was performed with the Northwest Catholic Big Band. She has also performed classical, jazz, and country violin in over 500 concerts. Next year she plans to go to college to study music, specifically jazz voice.

Emma Damokosh

Emma Damokosh, a senior at Conard High School, has been taking voice lessons at HCD with Susan Mardinly since her freshman year of high school. Music has been a huge part of her life. She loves singing in a variety of genres, but sings primarily in the classical and Broadway styles. She is currently working on "Mood Indigo" and hopes she will experiment with more jazz in the future. Damokosh has been in three musicals during high school: Shrek the Musical, Hello Dolly!, and, most recently, she played the role of Alice Beineke in The Addams Family. Damokosh is also in Solo Choir, the honors ensemble at her high school for juniors and seniors. Last year the group went on a trip around Europe where they sang in amazing places like St. Mark's Basilica, the Innsbruck Cathedral, and even at the top of Mount Zugspitze in Germany. This year, they sang with composer Ola Gjeilo and the professional choir, Voce. One of her favorite performances was at the governor's mansion, where they sang Christmas carols to Governor Malloy and the people coming to visit the beautifully decorated house. Next year Damokosh will be going to Tufts University. “I can't wait to take advantage of all amazing musical opportunities it has to offer,” says Damokosh.

Giana Dinatale

Giana DiNatale is a senior at Glastonbury High School. DiNatale studies the double bass with Susan Powell. She has been a part of The Hartt School Community Division for 4 years, starting off in Sinfonia her freshman year and moving up to the Connecticut Youth Symphony as a sophomore and also participates in the bass ensemble. "I have had nothing but amazing experiences and opportunities with these groups. Playing with these groups has helped me be the musician I am today, and I will remember these experiences for the rest of my life," writes DiNatale. She will be attending UConn in the fall as a Music Performance major and cannot wait to start her new journey.

Anis Ehsani

Anis Ehsani is a senior at Conard High School and a piano student of Greg Babal. “I remember being asked as a child where I was from and not knowing what to say,” says Ehsani, born in Ohio to Kenyan and Iranian parents. “I grew up in the United Arab Emirates, and my first four years of schooling were in Arabic. I moved to West Hartford and, with time, I have come to see myself as a world citizen with an understanding of multiple cultures and different perspective,” says Ehsani, who has a passion for the sciences and math. Ehsani runs hurdles for the Conard High School track team and loves playing the piano, especially jazz standards and the compositions of Chopin. “As a member of the Bahá’í Faith, I am committed to being of service to humanity. My goal is to continue my studies in math and science and to pursue a career that will help me positively impact people’s lives,” he says.

Ian Enders, a senior at Hall High School, began singing with the Connecticut Children's Chorus when he was in sixth grade and joined the Connecticut Men's Choir his freshman year of high school. Enders has also participated in the Newington Children's Theater (touring) and West Hartford Community Theater productions. He will graduate from Hall High School in June and will attend Stony Brook University, pursuing a degree in civil engineering with a possible minor in economics.

Gabriel Garcia is a senior at Simsbury High School, where he is co-director of the Men’s Acapella group “Unaccompanied Minors” and a member of SHS Simsbury Singers. He is currently an Ensign-Darling Vocal Fellow at the Bushnell in Hartford and has received honors in the 2015 and 2016 Musical Club of Hartford’s High School Vocal Competitions. He has been a member of Connecticut Northern Regional and All-State Choirs as well as Regional and National Honor Choirs. Garcia’s on-stage musical theatre performances have included Thoroughly Modern Millie, Les Miserables, Beauty and the Beast, and Grease.  Gabriel studies jazz piano at HCD with Greg Babal and in the vocal studio of Joanne Scattergood-Reeves in Simsbury. He plans to attend Carnegie Mellon University and pursue a career in vocal performance.

Clarinetist Mellany Gomez is a senior at Kinsella Magnet School. She began performing with HCD in eighth grade and continued to perform through her senior year of high school. At HCD, Gomez has participated in chamber music ensembles and Philharmonia Winds. She plans to pursue a degree in either music therapy or music education. 

Trombonist Chris Hauptfeld is a senior at Berlin High School. He is a private-lesson student with Jordan Jacobson and has been in the Greater Hartford Youth Wind Ensemble for the last four years and Philharmonia Winds a year before that. Hauptfeld offers this summary of his time at HCD: “As I reflect upon these years of my life, I realize that I never could have imagined how drastically they were about to be influenced by the HCD at the beginning. My conductors, private lesson teacher, and fellow HCD students have done so much to change me as a musician and as a person. I now find myself thinking about music and the world in general in ways I never would have without their guidance. They ought to know they have changed at least one life for the better. I cannot hope to fully express my gratitude for their doing so; and I will miss them all tremendously.” Hauptfeld will be attending Middlebury College. 

Annie Hetherington-Coy, a senior at RHAM High School, has studied saxophone with HCD faculty Collette Hall. Hetherington-Coy has participated in Greater Hartford Youth Wind Ensemble (GHYWE), Harmony Winds, Philharmonia, and many summer master classes and saxophone ensembles. Since middle school, she has spent many weekends and afternoons at HCD and will miss her time here. She is headed to Western Connecticut State University to study music education.

Kathryn Knox, student of Susan Powell, is an up-and-coming bassist from the Hartford area. She is involved in various orchestras across the state, including Central Connecticut State University's Sinfonietta, Farmington Valley Symphony Orchestra, and the Laudate Chamber Orchestra. Knox is also a part of the prestigious Connecticut Youth Symphony, in which she is principal bassist. Kathryn enjoys the wonderful opportunity of being able to play in chamber ensembles through HCD. In 2015,she was honored to be placed in the Trout Quintet, which was then chosen as HCD's Honors Chamber Ensemble after auditioning in January 2015. In the summer of 2015, Kathryn was fortunate enough to be accepted into the Boston University Tanglewood Institute (BUTI) where she had the privilege of working with members of the Boston Symphony Orchestra and many other faculty members from across the nation. Knox is blessed to be able to return to BUTI this summer to participate in the renowned Young Artists Orchestra. Kathryn has studied under many accomplished bassists including, Todd Seeber, Susan Powell, and Roy Wiseman. Knox now serves as an intern as well as a student in Hartt's Bass Ensemble. She plans on attending the New England Conservatory in the fall for double bass performance.

Chloe Li, a senior at Hall High School in West Hartford, has been studying violin with Donna Ngai at HCD for 13 years. This year she is the concertmistress of I Giovani Solisti, a select chamber orchestra in West Hartford. She had the privilege of performing Manuel de Falla’s “Danse Espangole” as a soloist with Solisti at their annual Chocolate Café event. Chloe also participates in the Connecticut Youth Symphony and has participated in Northern Region and All-State orchestras throughout her high school career. In addition to violin, Chloe has a passion for singing and soccer. She is the president of a select choral group, the Hall High Choraliers. Chloe also has been playing varsity soccer for three years. She hopes to pursue a career in medicine but wishes to continue filling her life with music.

Violinist Lydia Loiselle, senior at Hall High School, is a member of the Connecticut Youth Symphony, the Hall and Conard High School chamber orchestra, I Giovani Solisti, and has participated in the Northern Region String Festivals. She has also been a member of the West Hartford Summer Arts Festival pit orchestra during her four years of high school and plans to continue after graduation. Loiselle plans to continue playing violin in the orchestra at Ithaca College, where she will study biology and biomedical science. 

Daniel Luo, a senior at Farmington High School (FHS), studies violin with Donna Ngai at the HCD. He is a member of the Tri-M Honor Society, Chamber Orchestra, and Symphony Strings at FHS. He is also currently a member of the Connecticut Youth Symphony, having previously played in the Vivace and Opus orchestras in the years prior. Daniel is grateful for his family’s support throughout his many years of playing violin at HCD. In the fall, he plans on studying biology at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill.

Justin Masayda has been taking piano lessons since he was seven. Prior to his jazz lessons with Greg Babal, Masayda also studied classical piano at HCD with Julie Knerr. He has been a part of multiple worship teams and youth conferences and continues to play keyboard for his church. He also taught himself electric bass, which he plays in his band, and creates electronic music in his free time. Justin plans to continue making and studying music at college and afterward. He will be attending Liberty University for Music production and business.

Colleen McAnaney is a senior at Northwest Catholic High School in West Hartford. She is looking forward to attending Emmanuel College in Boston in the fall. McAnaney has been playing piano for a total of eleven years and has been attending the Hartt School Community Division for four years. In her free time, McAnaney is a part of many clubs at school, such as the Empty Bowls Club, Film Club, and the Young Democrats. She would like to thank her teacher, Fonyue “Anchie” Donn, for four wonderful years of encouragement and appreciation for the piano. Mcananey plans to attend Emmanuel College for media studies and communication.

Emmett Moberly-LaChance is a guitarist who has studied with players and teachers such as Scott Tennant of the Los Angeles Guitar Quartet; Richard Provost, former head of the classical guitar department at the University of Hartford; Joseph Pecoraro, an instructor at the University of North Carolina School of the Arts; and Jason Vieaux, head of the classical guitar department at Cleveland Institute of Music. Emmett has also participated in HCD’s Harp and Guitar Honors Recital for the past six years and has been part of chamber music groups at HCD for the last five years. Emmett currently studies the Suzuki Method with David Madsen and also takes classical and jazz guitar lessons with Daniel Hartington. Emmett plans to continue studying guitar in college and beyond.

Kirsten Mossberg has studied piano for 11 years primarily with Malgosia Lis, and voice for 6 years with Nancy Andersen, Jason Stammen, and Sarah Kohl. In 2013, Kirsten was invited to the SAA Conference in Minneapolis to partake in a piano masterclass. She has also attended the Northern Regional Music Festival as well as the CT All State Festival as a vocalist. This year she organized Loomis' first Christmas Caroling Group that sang for the elderly in a nursing home. She also directed her school's cabaret Two Men Falling. In addition to music, Kirsten enjoys acting, writing, and visual arts. She recently appeared in multiple student-written plays produced by the Hartford Stage's Write On competition. She'll be heading to the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, where she intends to major in acting with a possible minor in music composition, screen writing, or directing.

William Ocampo is a senior at Suffield High School. He has played the cello since he was four years old, studying under Harmon Steiner. He began playing through the Suzuki program and has played with all of the Suzuki orchestras. Will also took part in several different cello ensembles and played in a piano quartet named the Perfect Fourth. In addition to the cello, he plays lacrosse for Suffield High School and enjoys skiing, soccer, and hanging out with his friends. Will plans on attending Northeastern University in the spring where he will be studying biology.

Madeleine Olson, a senior at Hall High School, studies cello with Laura Kane. Olson has played in Sinfonia, Opus '89, Connecticut Youth Symphony (CYS), Chamber Music, and Cello Choir. She plans to study liberal arts at Mount Holyoke College.

Rahul Rajkumar, senior at the Connecticut International Baccalaureate Academy, plays the alto saxophone. He takes private lessons from Andrew Studenski and participates in the Greater Hartford Youth Wind Ensemble. Rajkumar has thoroughly enjoyed his years at HCD and hopes to continue his passion for music. Rahul will be attending NYU in the fall and will be pursuing a degree in math/economics.

Andrey Vdovenko, senior at the Loomis Chaffee School, is a baritone vocalist who studies with HCD faculty Nancy Andersen. He is also a member of the Connecticut Men’s Choir. “The Hartt School Community Division helped me to prepare for college auditions. I still haven't decided where I will attend but am so grateful to HCD for preparing me and helping have so many choices,” says Vdovenko. He recently finished playing Dr. Frankenstein in Young Frankenstein at Loomis Chaffee. Last year he played Curly in Oklahoma! “The Summer Vocal Institute (SVI) at HCD was a wonderful experience for me last summer. Working with Mr. Pott during Simsbury Summer Theatre last year in the role of Tevye in Fiddler on the Roof was one of my favorite experiences. I don't think I could have accomplished what I have done without the help of Nancy Andersen who guided me at every step of the way and Mr. Barefield who mentored me from time to time and allowed me to study with him at the Vianden Festival two summers ago,” says Vdovenko. “I learned so much also about acting from working with Diana Moller, who I met at SVI last summer. I’m so grateful to HCD for shaping my work and helping me with all my special interests.” Vdovenko plans to study acting or musical theater in college. 

Farmington High School senior Emery Wegh, member of the Connecticut Youth Symphony and the Bass Ensemble at HCD, has been playing the string bass and the tuba since sixth grade. She plans to continue playing these instruments throughout her musical studies. Wegh will be attending The Hartt School studying classical performance for the double bass.

Nate Williams, senior at Farmington High School, was born the fourth in a family of five string playing children. He plays cello because his three oldest siblings played first and second violin and viola, leaving him to play cello and form a family quartet. He started playing cello in second grade. He has played under Paul Pierce and Eric Dahlin, is President of his school’s Tri-M chapter, manages a quartet for hire, and is a member of the Farmington Valley Symphony Orchestra. Williams became interested in composing his sophomore year, completing two years in the Young Composer’s program, winning honorable mention in last year’s scholarship awards. He plans to start a major in music at Brigham Young University this fall.