staff

 

CANTAFF
Joe Cantaffa

Founder, Creative Director and Arranger

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Joe Cantaffa is an instructor for the Entertainment Technology program in the Fine and Performing Arts Center (F.P.A.C.) at Howell High School in New Jersey. He teaches music production and operates the school’s student-operated record label, Next2Records. Cantaff is a member of the Board of Directors for the New Jersey Music Educators’ Association and serves as the production manager and coordinating chairman for its All-State Chorus/Orchestra/Jazz programs. He presents in-service workshops and lectures around the country regarding music curriculum, arranging, contemporary a cappella music, and the use of technology in the classroom. Additionally, he has held faculty positions for the Westminster School of the Arts/Rider University teaching tour management. Joe Cantaffa holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Music from Rutgers University and a Master’s Degree in Music Education from Mason Gross School of the Arts, and is a voting member of The Grammy Awards/RIAA.

Coolest Experiences to Date:  I started The RockNRoll Chorus. Being a Dad.

Guilty Pleasure: Caramel Apples

BRUCE
Bruce Timmerman

Director of Backline and Safety

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Bruce is an Electrician with IBEW Local 400 for the last 14 years, who has actively participated as a volunteer firefighter for more than 20 years, holding several positions on the Executive Board. In 1996 Bruce was named “Firefighter of the Year” by Dover Township, NJ. An active participant in fire service, Bruce is a Level I Certified Instructor with the Division of Fire Safety. Bruce was also an Emergency Medical Technician for many years, helping to teach classes to new trainees. A member of Monmouth County 4H as a teen, Bruce remained active in 4H, as a member of the Board, as a volunteer-leader, and he served as Chairman of the Monmouth County 4H Fair for 5 years. He also served as a Board Member for the NJ State Fair Association. Bruce has been a staff member of RNRC since it’s inception, performing in many functions, whenever and wherever needed.

Coolest experience to date: June 1992, the day my daughter was born!

Guilty Pleasure: NASCAR!

ERIC
Eric Thompson

Director of Operations and Assistant Creative Director

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Participating as a cast member in the company’s primary season, Eric has been a part of The RockNRoll Chorus family from the very beginning. He holds the positions of Director of Operations/Assistant Creative Director. In May of 2010, Eric graduated from Muhlenberg College with a BA in Theater and Business. He has many years of experience in a cappella music, and loves the world of performance/entertainment. In addition to working for The RockNRoll Chorus, he is an admissions representative for Muhlenberg College.

Coolest Experience to Date: Attended a Stevie Wonder concert

Guilty Pleasure:  NASCAR, House of Cards

UNCLE GARY
Gary Weiss
Cast Calendar Manager

Gary Weiss is with RNRC for his 5th summer tour. Gary is a volunteer fireman for 44 years. Gary has multiple certificates in safety and Fire Prevention and Fire Protection.  Gary is also a level 2 certified instructor with the Division of Fire Safety. In Gary’s 71 years of life he has done many things. He was a member of the US Army, a volunteer fireman for 48 years, truck mechanic, truck Driver, medical office manager, fire Inspector, Belmar Beach Badge attendant, and is currently working with Rock N Roll Chorus as the Cast Calendar Manager.

Coolest Experience to Date: Scuba Diving in Fiji

Guilty pleasure:Eating too much good food

CHRISTIE
Christie Scott

Uncle GaryChristie is currently the choir director at John F. Kennedy Memorial High School. She graduated summa cum laude from Mason Gross School of the Arts at Rutgers University in 2012. Her Bachelor’s Degree is in Music Education. She played the clarinet in several collegiate-level ensembles, including the Grammy-nominated Rutgers Wind Ensemble.

From 2012-2015, Christie taught general music at Iselin Middle School. She also directed the choir program, doubling its numbers and establishing two additional extracurricular ensembles: Select Choir and Men’s Choir (IMpulse). Before teaching at Iselin Middle School, Christie worked with band students at Copeland Middle School (2008) and Montgomery Upper Middle School (2012). She has worked with marching bands at Edison High School (2011), JFK High School (2013), Hopatcong High School (2013-2014), and Hackettstown High School (2012-2014).

Christie is also registration manager for the NJMEA All-State Mixed Chorus and Women’s Chorus. On the weekends, Christie leads team-building programs on a low ropes & zip-line course at the Jockey Hollow Girl Scout Camp in Mendham, NJ.

Coolest Experiences to Date:  Studying abroad in Rome as a student at Rutgers (2011), running my first 5k (2015), JFK Show Choir earning perfect scores at our Music in the Parks competition (2016).

Guilty Pleasure: Law and Order: SVU, bottomless root beer floats at Red Robin, and saying hello to dogs on the street.

MISS FREDI
Fredi Walker-Browne

Performance Coach & Stage Director

Fredi is best known for creating the role of JoAnne Jefferson in the Pulitzer Prize winning musical RENT.  Most recently she appeared as Ghost in TBS’s SEARCH PARTY,  Beverly in Rebecca Miller’s rom-com MAGGIE’S PLAN and Shay in Showtime’s Emmy Award winning series THE BIG C.  On stage she has played many great roles including Rafiki in THE LION KING and Erzulie in ONCE ON THIS ISLAND.  Her directing credits include: THE MOST FABULOUS STORY EVER TOLD by Paul Rudnick, WHEN THE CHICKENS CAME HOME TO ROOST by Lawrence Holder, SCANDALOUS PEOPLE by Myla Churchill and her own play #RENTStories which debuted May of 2019.  Fredi is a staunch advocate of ARTS EDUCATION for students in all schools everywhere!  She is proud to be a member of the RNRC staff. 

Coolest Experience to Date: Professional/Artistic – Creating/Playing JoAnne   –   Personal – my marriage (12 years and counting :-)

Guilty Pleasure:  LAW & ORDER on Netflix

LAUREN
Lauren Ferguson

Vocal Coach, Art Director, Photo, Web Manager

Lauren obtained her Masters in Music and Music Education from the University of Florida in 2016 and BA in Music Education/Flute Performance in 2012 from Kean University. Her capstone project, “Integrating Children’s Storybooks in the Music Classroom”, has become the heart of her elementary music instruction. Ms. Ferguson currently teaches K-8 General Music and is the middle school band director at School No.21 in Elizabeth, NJ. A flute player by trade, Lauren also enjoys playing ukulele, bass guitar and singing. In her free time, Lauren enjoys creating mixed media art.

Coolest Experiences to Date:  Snorkeling in Bermuda and cliff jumping in Jamaica 

Guilty Pleasure: 80’s New Wave Music & Gummy Bears

JOSH
Joshua Rosenberg
IT Overlord, Website Administrator/Developer                                

Josh is a student a Northeastern University, class of 2022. At NEU, Josh is currently pursuing a bachelor of science in Computer Science, with a minor in music performance. He is currently a full time software engineering co-op at Wellframe, a company transforming the medical industry by making healthcare more accessible for everyone around the globe.

Josh plays saxophone, flute, and piano, and was highly involved in his high school music program, where he served as saxophone section leader, and was a member of marching band, concert band, jazz band, and pit orchestra.At the end of his high school career, he was awarded the Semper Fidelis Award for Musical Excellence by the Marine Corps. He was also a member of the 2017 All-Shore jazz band and All-Shore symphonic band. Josh also has a second degree black belt in karate, and has been studying the martial arts since he was 5 years old. Josh also enjoys photography – he shoots on a Canon 6D II, and primarily does event and portrait photography. You can see his work here and inquire about opportunities here

Coolest experience to date: Saxophone solo at Disney World in Florida!

Guilty Pleasure:  Photography

JOE
Joe Boguslawski
Gear Transport, Truck Driver

unnamedCZ Joe wears his hair long and his moral convictions high. He has owned Mr. Cycle Parts for 33 years. He is a Motorcycle Racing Champion and a Stockcar driver, tuba player barbershop quartet singer, and also sings lead and background for the Holy Echoes. He is a member of the Time Squares Church NYC Men’s Praise Choir and participates in ministry and world-wide missions.

Coolest Experiences to Date: Missions Trip to Zambia Africa

Guilty Pleasure: Chili Dogs at The Hot Grill

JOHN
John Vines

FOH1, Audio Engineer

John Vines has been the front of House engineer for the Rock and Roll Chorus since the 2014 Summer Tour. John is a multi-instrumentalist with a focus on Percussion, and has his Masters in Orchestral Performance from Temple University, where he studied with Alan Abel, Chris Deviney, and Phil O’Banion. John also has Bachelor of Music and Bachelor of Education degrees from Rowan University, where he studied with Dean Witten and Don Liuzzi. Since 2010, John has also been a member of The Creeptones, and experimental Rock group focused on technology-driven performance and composition. John began to learn Sound engineering on his own when he was 14, and was mentored by Jeff Levine at Organic Sounds prior to joining the RockNRoll Chorus Staff.

Coolest Experiences to Date: Taking Timpani lessons backstage at the Kimmel Center from Don Liuzzi / Making Bass Drum mallets with Alan Abel.

Guilty Pleasure: Youtube Videos

RENZO
Renzo Isaiah T. Espinosa

Cool Guy Renzo        

Renzo is a former RockNRoll Chorus cast member of the 2012 and 2014 Tour casts. Graduated from Parsippany Hills High School, he is currently studying at County College of Morris (CCM) for Computer Science and attends Kean University. Renzo participated in the theater program at CCM and served as an actor, tech, and recently held the position of Set Construction Assistant. When he isn’t studying, Renzo is working at Mayo Performing Arts Center in Morristown as an Usher and behind concessions. He continues to follow his music passions despite his major and participates however he can in the arts.

Coolest Experiences to Date: Attending the Press Event for Bandstand: The Musical and meeting Pentatonix

Guilty Pleasure: Cookies and Cream everything, Oreos, and Netflix

WOLF
Matthew Wolf
       

 Matthew Wolf is currently in his fourth year as Choral Director and Director of Fine & Performing Arts at St. Augustine Preparatory School in Richland, NJ. He graduated Summa Cum Laude from West Chester University in 2013 with a dual B.M. in Music Education and Vocal Performance and starting his teaching career in Dallas, TX before returning to New Jersey. At the Prep, Matthew directs four curricular choirs, one extracurricular choir, and oversees the Fine & Performing Arts Department and clubs. During his tenure at St. Augustine Prep, the Music & Choral program has seen rapid growth in both numbers and accomplishments, including placement in All-South, All-State, and All-Eastern Choirs. Additionally, he serves as a volunteer EMT in a 911 setting at the very busy Monroe Township Ambulance & Rescue Association with a call volume of about 5,800 calls per year. He also serves on the Board of Directors at Monroe as the organization’s Treasurer.

Coolest Experiences to Date: Being Drum Major of the 300+ member Golden Rams Marching Band.

Guilty Pleasure: Grey’s Anatomy

KAYLAH
Kaylah Cantaffa
Stage Hand        

Kaylah Cantaffa is Level II Entertainment Technology major at Howell High School, conservatory program, FPAC. She has worked various shows and events including, Mary Poppins and the Freehold Regional High Schools District Fine and Performing Arts Showcase. Kaylah is also a recording artist, playing several instruments. This will be her second year on staff for the RockNRoll Chorus national tour.  

Coolest Experiences to Date: U2’s 50th anniversary of the Joshua Tree concert

Guilty Pleasure: Big band music, rewatching CoCo until the end of time

ROBERT
Robert Lombardi
Stage Hand        

Rob Lombardi is an Entertainment Technology student in the FPAC program at Howell H.S.
An avid guitar player, he was a member in the Back in Black and Gold band (2016-2017), has created dozens of home made films and wrote, directed and produced meme news weekly.  Robert has aspirations of attending film school in Los Angeles.

Coolest Experiences to Date: Vacation to Paris and London

Guilty Pleasure: anything chocolate and listening to 50s music

TOM
Tom Cirillo
FOH2        

Tom has been playing drums for 12 years. His favorite drummers are Gavin Harrison, Benny Greb and Steve Gadd. He once entered a contest online where the premise was to play 10-15 seconds of a signature Gavin Harrison groove and ended up being one of the winners. That felt pretty unreal.  

 

 

 

 

Coolest Experiences to Date: being able to tour with RNRC!

Guilty Pleasure: …hmm, does Taco Bell count?

COURTNEY
Courtney Kalafsky
Tour Manager        

Courtney Kalafsky received her Bachelor of Arts from The College of New Jersey. She majored in English and Secondary Education, earning High Honors in English with her honors thesis “Authenticity and Witnessing in Postmemorial Holocaust Literature”, which she presented at a national English honor society conference in 2017. Courtney also minored in Psychology. She is an English teacher at Howell High School.

Coolest Experiences to Date: THIS! I have never been involved in the music industry, and am so excited to have this opportunity. In my alter-ego life as a third-year English teacher, I am a two-time State Champion and one-time National Champion cheerleading coach. 
 
Guilty Pleasure: Criminal Minds. Arguably one of the best shows to grace our television screens. 
JESSICA
Jessica Kolody
Vocal Coach      

Jessica is the Director of Vocal Music at Highland Regional High School in Blackwood, NJ. She developed an active co-curricular a cappella program with two auditioned groups, one of which is highly competitive in the International Competition for High School A Cappella. In addition, she serves as the vocal music director for Highland’s spring musical.  

Jessica earned a Bachelor of Music Education degree from Cedarville University, where she enjoyed honing her conducting skills as a student conductor. She continued to pursue her love for a cappella arranging and rehearsing with training at the graduate level through The University of the Arts. She also teaches private flute and voice lessons and occasionally performs as a freelance musician. She is regularly involved with the youth and music ministry at her church, where you can often find her singing, playing the flute, or playing the bass guitar.  Jessica recently “retired” from working as an assistant marching band director for 7 years, and she is looking forward to joining the RockNRoll Chorus on a new musical adventure! soli*DEO*gloria
 
Coolest Experiences to Date: Conducting the Hallelujah Chorus at the end of my holiday concerts with more Highland choir alumni joining each year!
 
Guilty Pleasure: Hallmark Movies & Ice Cream

  

SAMANTHA
Samantha Lobasso
Social Media/Merch Manager      

Sam is a third year student at Westminster Choir College studying music education. Although she appreciates and enjoys her classical studies, contemporary music is where her heart is at. So in her free time she teaches private guitar lessons, writes music, performs at coffee shop open mic nights, and is an active e-board member of the Westminster Show Choir. She also spends many of her summers performing with her local theatre company, most recently in Pippin!

 

Coolest Experiences to Date: Studying and performing classical music and opera recitative in Florence, Italy!
 
Guilty Pleasure: Law & Order SVU, Billy Joel, and smoothies !
JILL
Jillian Bernstein
Production Assistant
Jill is a recent graduate of Howell High School and plans to attend Rowan University in the fall to study in their Music Industry program. She is a huge book worm and her favorite band is Bastille.. but that’s always subject to change!
 

Coolest Experiences to Date: has to be my first weekend with The RockNRoll Chorus! We had a show in Maryland, and then another in New York City, and it was incredibly cool to get a first taste for what the summer has in store!

Guilty Pleasure: has to be buying new Converse. For as long as I can remember I’ve spent my summers running around in them, always some funky color! I even wore them for my sweet sixteen instead of heels. 
HOLLY
Holly Jorgensen
Stage Hand
Holly is entering her junior year as an Audio Major at OCVTS’ Performing Arts Academy. She has been able to love working behind the soundboard due to her supportive teachers and, most importantly, her parents. She has had the opportunity to tech many events over the past few years such as various open mics, recitals, and plays. Holly has also done sound and created the website for Tech Fest which is a festival run by PAA students for other students to enjoy! Aside from audio, she has a hobby of filming and creates YouTube videos in her free time. She is very excited to use her experience in order to be the best she can during her first tour with RNRC!
 
Coolest Experiences to Date: Doing sound for many musicals for PAA and The Strand and mixing at Tech Fest!
Guilty Pleasure: Animals and Cheesecake

 

MATT
Matthew Londono
Stage Hand
Matt is going into his junior year at Howell High School in the Entertainment Technology program. He plays tenor saxophone in the Howell High School marching band, jazz band, and choir. In his spare time he enjoys baseball (go Mets!) playing guitar, singing, and swimming.
 
Coolest Experiences to Date: Performing at Carnegie Hall
Guilty Pleasure: Pokemon
BARBARA
Barbara Bretz
Nurse
 
JAIME
Jaime Schaale
Nurse