Middle School Music
Fox Lane Middle School Music Program
The NAMM Foundation (National Association of Music Merchants surveys school districts across the United States seeking to acknowledge communities for their commitment to and support for music education in schools. For the fifth year in a row, the Bedford Central School District has been recognized as one of the 2017 NAMM Foundation Best Communities for Music Education.
Welcome to the Music Department at the Fox Lane Middle School where we strive to provide an enriching musical experience for every child in grades 6 - 8. There are four music disciplines available at the middle school: Band, Chorus, Orchestra & Exploratory Music. In grades 7 and 8, the Exploratory Music options also include Applied Piano and Applied Guitar for those student who demonstrate success in these units during the 6th grade Exploratory Music experience.
Co-curricular after school music ensembles are Jazz Ensemble, Bel Canto Vocal Ensemble, Sinfonetta, Symphonic Winds and Jazz Ensembles. Placement is by audition or at the discretion of the ensemble director.
Extra-Curricular after school (for any student) music ensembles are Honors Choir and Rock Ensemble (for non-guitarists). Placement is by audition or at the discretion of the ensemble director.
The Annual Spring Musical is open to all students at Fox Lane Middle School by audition.
Middle School Music Faculty
Joseph Bergamini, Band Grades 7 & 8 – firstname.lastname@example.org
Sarah Fay, Chorus – email@example.com
Peter J. Griffin, Band Grade 6 – firstname.lastname@example.org
Michael Piescki, Exploratory Music and Applied Piano – email@example.com
Danielle Stier, Orchestra –
Matthew Vanacoro, Exploratory Music & Applied Guitar – firstname.lastname@example.org
Meet the Middle School Music Faculty
Joseph Bergamini has been teaching music in the Bedford Central School District for 12 years. In that time he has taught at Pound Ridge Elementary, West Patent Elementary and the Fox Lane Middle School. Currently he directs the 6th and 7th grade band programs as well as the FLMS Jazz Ensemble and Symphonic Winds. He is a graduate of the Crane School of Music and Western Connecticut State University. He is also proud to be a Fox Lane High School Alumni, Class of 2000. Mr. Bergamini is a working bassoonist and low reed musician. He performs regularly with the Westchester Symphonic Winds and various local orchestras.
Peter J. Griffin
Peter J. Griffin is the K-12 Coordinator for the Performing Arts and 6th grade Band Director at Fox Lane Middle School. He received his Bachelor of Music Degree, Magna Cum Laude, from the University of Houston, his Master of Arts in Music Education Degree from Montclair State University, and his Master of Arts in Educational Administration, With Distinction, from Rider University. He was the recipient of the New Jersey Governor’s Recognition Teacher Award for 1997, as well as being named to “Who’s Who Among American Teachers 2000 and 2005. He served ten years on the Executive Board of the New Jersey Music Administrators Association, where he held the offices of President-Elect, President and Past President for six of those years.
In his twenty-four years as an Arts Supervisor, Griffin’s programs have received many letters of commendation from such dignitaries as President William Jefferson Clinton, Senator Robert G. Torricelli, Senator Frank R. Lautenberg, Governor Christine Todd Whitman, Congressman Rush Holt and Governor Chris Christie. His programs have also been recognized as a GRAMMY Signature School Finalist and with the American Music Conference’s Best 100 Communities for Music Education for 2004 and ran from 2009 – 2016. The State Department of New Jersey recently named Griffin’s high School Performing Arts Program in Hopewell Valley, his previous district, a “Choice School for the Performing Arts” in the Fall of 2014. Just recently, Bedford was also named to the Best 100 Communities for Music Education for the sixth year in a row in 2018.
Mr. Griffin has also served as a clinician, presenting workshops and seminars in the area of teacher recruitment, hiring and retention for the past seven years at the New Jersey Music Educators Conference and at the 2009, 2011, 2013 and 2015 National Association for Music Education Eastern Division Conferences in Providence, Rhode Island, Baltimore, Maryland, and Hartford, Connecticut, respectively.
A Percussionist and Drummer by trade, Mr. Griffin has performed professionally with the Houston Opera Studio, the Houston New Music Ensemble, the Houston Ballet, and The Princeton Girlchoir, as well as in New York with studio band projects and off-Broadway musical play productions. He has also performed and recorded with many New York/New Jersey Recording Artists, with internationally acclaimed Canadian choral music composer, Stephen Hatfield, American choral music composer Jim Papoulis and Broadway Tony Award Nominated Actor Tituss Burgess. He also served two years as an Adjunct Professor of Percussion at Montclair State University, directing the Montclair State Percussion Ensemble in concerts and recitals on and off campus.
Mike Piescki has worked as a professional musician and a teacher of music in the United States and abroad. He currently teaches electronic music courses and co-runs several rock ensembles and theatrical productions at Fox Lane Middle School and Fox Lane High School. Since 1989, Mike has taught in the New York State Public Schools and prior to that, served as music teacher and cultural arts director at the Edwin Gould Academy UFSD for fifteen years. Mike has had many recording and performance opportunities in Rock, Pop, Jazz and Ethnic genres. Outside of the classroom he is a private drumming instructor and has himself studied drums privately with Gary Chester and Steve Rucker. Mike is the creator, director, and instructor of the Corfu Rock School, a summer music and adventure camp for teens traveling to Corfu, Greece. Mike received his Bachelors Degree in Studio Music and Jazz Performance from the University of Miami, School of Music. He earned his Masters Degree in Education at The City College of New York, and, his Certificate of Advanced Study in Educational Administration at SUNY New Paltz.
Andrea Velasquez is a violinist who grew up in White Plains, NY and later moved to Wappingers Falls, NY where her passion for music really took off. She spent 12 years making music with the Stringendo Orchestra School of the Hudson Valley, participating in their orchestra program, fiddle program, and summer camps (as a camper, counselor, and most recently a teacher!). Andrea had countless performance opportunities with Stringendo including a performance tour of Scotland and England with the Strawberry Hill Fiddlers as well as winning their Concerto Competition in 2012.
Andrea received her Bachelors of Music Education from The State University of New York at Fredonia, where she performed with the Fredonia's College Symphony Orchestra, Chamber Orchestra, Carousel Jazz strings, the Orchard Park Symphony Orchestra, the Southern Tier Symphony Orchestra, and her string quartet, The Sirens. After graduating from Fredonia, she returned home and became a private teacher and assistant conductor with the Stringendo program. She most recently taught in the Arlington Central School District as a leave replacement for orchestra director Elizabeth Handman at Arlington High School. She is currently going into her first year as a full-time public school teacher at Fox Lane Middle School and could not be more excited!
Matt Vanacoro is a graduate of Manhattanville College and New York University. He teaches Exploratory Music and Applied Guitar at Fox Lane Middle School. Beyond his teaching in the Bedford schools, Mr. Vanacoro has taught at Manhattanville College and has presented several clinics on middle school general music at the NYSSMA Winter Conference in Rochester, NY. Mr. Vanacoro has collaborated as a keyboardist in studio and on stage with artists such as Mark Wood (Trans-Siberian Orchestra), Mark Rivera (Billy Joel Band), Aaron Carter, Amy Regan, Jay Azzolina, Marcus Ratzenboeck (Tantric), KeKe Palmer, Monet Monico, C-Note, Jordan Knight, and many others. He has appeared on many recordings with a variety of artists, as well as had his own music featured in Lionsgate Studios.
Wendy Zaros is the Choral Director at Fox Lane Middle School. Ms. Zaros is a classically trained vocalist with over 20 years of professional teaching and singing experience. She is a graduate of Roberts Wesleyan College (B.S. in Music Education) and New England Conservatory (M.M. in Vocal Performance). She has taught multiple educational levels ranging from Clemson University; where she was an adjunct professor of voice and assistant conductor of the Clemson Women’s Glee Chorus to her public school music positions in general music and chorus directing at Heritage Middle School (New Windsor, NY) and at Dows Lane Elementary (Irvington, NY)
Over the years, Ms. Zaros has taught in private voice and piano studios where many of her students performed regionally in a variety of genres (classical, musical theater, jazz, rock, pop, and R & B) and with music organizations (NYSSMA, All-County, Area All-State, and the ACDA National Honors Choir). Her teaching includes pedagogical techniques that provide students with music versatility furthering music development and performance opportunities.
Ms. Zaros continues to perform vocally and has performed with various orchestras and opera companies throughout the United States East Coast and Italy. One of her fondest performance experiences was singing the role of Susannah under the direction of Carlisle Floyd in his opera “Susannah”. She is currently a church soloist at the Pleasantville Presbyterian Church. Ms. Zaros is a recipient of the Marquis "Who's Who in America", an Anna Sosenko Trust Winner for Performing Artists, and a Riverside Opera Company Regional Winner.