Teachers

Kenny Hohman

Guitar

Kenny has been a full-time musician for over 15 years, teaching professionally for 11 of those years.   His guitar playing has taken him all over the States and Europe several times, and he has several studio albums and international television appearances to his credit.

Kenny has been singing, writing, and playing the guitar in Troy’s favorite power trio, Super 400, since 1996.  The band, including Lori Friday and Joe Daley, went from it’s humble beginnings in a Troy loft to sharing their music on stages around the world, from San Francisco to Barcelona.  They made their latest record at legendary Ardent Studios in Memphis, and have shared stages with some of rock music’s very best.  In 2006, the mayor of Troy gave Super 400 their own official holiday, ‘Super 400 Day’, to recognize the band’s musical achievements as well as the love and support the city has shown for them.  It’s truly a symbiotic relationship, since the band aligns many of it’s area shows with local charities, and does their part to promote the city of Troy everywhere they go.

Kenny first began guitar lessons at the long-since closed Hilton Music on Broadway in Troy at the age of 11.  It was Kenny and Lori’s hometown pride that planted the seed to one day open their own music lesson academy in the place where they started.  (Kenny had previously taught at the band’s favorite music store, Parkway Music in Clifton Park, for eleven years)  Once they teamed up with Graham Tichy and found a beautiful location on the 3rd Street Market Block, plans began and now they have realized their dream.

Kenny teaches students of all ages and ability levels, and specializes in Rock, Blues and slide guitar. He has used a combination of styles and skills to form his own voice in Super 400 and uses that example to pave the way for tomorrow’s players .Music theory and sight reading skills are encouraged with an emphasis on rhythm and an eye toward ensemble performance.   Each lesson is tailored to the unique goals and abilities of each student, in a fun and relaxed atmosphere.  All ages and levels are welcome.  From acoustic duo gigs in pubs to playing sideman for Lenny Kravitz on Saturday Night Live to starring in one of the world’s greatest power trios, he has the experience to help all those about to rock!

Graham Tichy

Guitar

He’s in his early thirties, but Graham Tichy has the credentials of a rock ‘n roll journeyman.  Tichy has lit up stages across the U.S. and Europe, laying out his nimble licks for such rockabilly legends as Wanda Jackson (the undisputed queen of the genre), Robert Gordon, and Martí Brom. He has also toured and released records as a member of several top-notch rockabilly and rock and roll units, Detroit’s Bones Maki & the Sun Dodgers and Albany, NY, rock & rollers the Lustre Kings, Ian and the Aztecs as well as his own band, Rocky Velvet.  The Rockabilly Hall of Fame has deemed Graham one the “hottest, most capable guitarists” in the field, while Metroland, the newsweekly of NY’s Capital Region (Albany, Schenectady, Troy, Saratoga), crowned him Best Guitarist in 2003.

Graham is a respected guitar teacher, and his vocabulary and encyclopedic knowledge of the instrument and theory feed into both his training and playing.  He teaches young children to experienced adults, covering many styles and skill levels.  These are not “cookie cutter” guitar lessons. Each student is unique. Each student learns at a different pace, has different tastes, and different goals. Graham has an immense library of teaching material and songbooks covering every genre imaginable, and he regularly transcribes songs the students choose to learn. Graham truly enjoys teaching and keeps the lessons fun and relaxed.

Tichy has links to the past, present, and future of rock & roll. He is a world-class player with years ahead of him and untapped regions to explore.

Don Youngdon-young-pic

Guitar, Bass, Banjo

Multi-Instrumentalist Donald Young has been a professional musician for over 40 years! Versatile in many music styles, he can inspire the music student while teaching acoustic or electric guitar, upright bass, ukulele, jazz tenor banjo and a host of more obscure instruments. (What’s an Oud or a Guitorgan?)

Don is currently guitarist / vocalist with the surf band Big Fez and the Surfmatics, plays upright bass with folk sensations Annie and the Hedonists and is guitarist with Upstate Bluegrass Band (Saratoga Racetrack’s official strolling bluegrass group). He is also seen locally with Graham Tichy, Johnny Rabb, Doc Scanlon, Reggie’s Red Hot Feetwarmers, The Stony Creek Band, Peter Davis and many others. In addition to leading his own music groups, Don is a veteran recording artist having played on many recording projects.

For the past eight years Don has been the musical director for The Spotlighter’s Theater Troupe based in Malta, NY.

Maria ZemantauskimariazLIVE

Flamenco and Classical Guitar

Maria Zemantauski is one of the world’s few heralded female flamenco guitarists, and one of even fewer female flamenco composers. She has performed in Spain, Italy and across the continental United States to great acclaim. Her albums, Mrs. Laughinghouse (1997), Seeing Red (2000), Under the Lemon Tree (2005) and Petty Feet & Mistletoe (2010), have received stellar reviews from music critics around the world.

As one reviewer wrote, “Zemantauski has continually pushed the boundaries of the possible with her trusty 6-string, blending genres that have little or no business appearing on the same bill, much less in the same song. It’s rarely less than electrifying to watch her do it.” Metroland Newsweekly

With a Masters Degree in Cultural Anthropology, she is highly regarded for combining both performance and sociocultural analysis. She is a frequent guest lecturer at colleges and universities nationwide, including the University of San Francisco, University of California at Santa Cruz, Eastman School of Music, Ithaca College School of Music, St. Lawrence University, California State University at San Marcos and The University of Kentucky at Lexington. She is one of the featured performers in the award-winning documentary, “Radical Harmonies,” an historical perspective of Women’s Music Festivals. Her music is also included in the film, “The Heretics” a feature length documentary about the Women’s Art Movement of the 70’s in the USA.

In addition to her private teaching studio, Maria is an artist presenter for the BOCES Arts in Education program with her trio “Tacones y Manos Calientes,” and the founder/director of the global music ensemble, “Alegria.” She maintains an active solo career and is a frequent guest artist with the Hudson Valley Philharmonic String Quartet. She is strongly committed to promoting the arts as a vital educational and an integral part of society and has been the Coordinator of Cultural Affairs for Hudson Valley Community College since 2004. www.mariazemantauski.com

Lori Friday

Bass and Piano

Lori is a world-class bassist and musician.  At 9 years of age, she took lessons from a teacher so enthusiastic and dynamic, she soon made music her life’s focus.  A multi-instrumentalist who had already begun writing music in grade and high school, Lori eventually concentrated on the electric bass and piano, and began teaching lessons part-time at an early age.

For over 15 years, Lori has been shaking music halls all over the US and Europe in the group Super 400, along with Kenny Hohman.  They have written and recorded several albums and worked in studios around the country.  The band has become a local legend, with their own holiday, ‘Super 400 Day’, February 25.  The day was granted by Mayor Tutunjian in 2006 to honor the band’s dedication to it’s home town, as well as Troy’s pride in their achievements.   The Troy Music Academy is one of Lori and Kenny’s proudest milestones, and brings their love and knowledge of music to students in Troy, NY.

Lori is also a skilled visual artist; her music-themed art is on display throughout the Academy.  She encourages her students to express what makes them unique as musicians and individuals.  A visit to the Troy Music Academy immediately reveals this spirit – the environment has been carefully designed for visual interest and maximum rockitude!

Lori offers a dedicated and enthusiastic approach to her lessons.  Her abilities on different instruments allow her to jam along with students and encourage a group-play experience.  Styles ranging from Rock, Blues, Jazz, Funk and Pop are taught, as well as sight reading, improvisation, songwriting, and Lori’s unique perspective, gathered from years of learning and touring, playing and listening.  How do you construct a bass line to go along with chord changes?  If you want a fresh start on an instrument you gave up long ago, where should you begin?  How do you learn to play piano along with your favorite songs?  What are the secrets to taking your playing to the next level?  From absolute beginner to seasoned pro, she offers something for everyone.

Don Youngdon-young-pic

Guitar, Bass, Banjo

Multi-Instrumentalist Donald Young has been a professional musician for over 40 years! Versatile in many music styles, he can inspire the music student while teaching acoustic or electric guitar, upright bass, ukulele, jazz tenor banjo and a host of more obscure instruments. (What’s an Oud or a Guitorgan?)

Don is currently guitarist / vocalist with the surf band Big Fez and the Surfmatics, plays upright bass with folk sensations Annie and the Hedonists and is guitarist with Upstate Bluegrass Band (Saratoga Racetrack’s official strolling bluegrass group). He is also seen locally with Graham Tichy, Johnny Rabb, Doc Scanlon, Reggie’s Red Hot Feetwarmers, The Stony Creek Band, Peter Davis and many others. In addition to leading his own music groups, Don is a veteran recording artist having played on many recording projects.

For the past eight years Don has been the musical director for The Spotlighter’s Theater Troupe based in Malta, NY.

Lori Friday

Bass and Piano

Lori is a world-class bassist and musician.  At 9 years of age, she took lessons from a teacher so enthusiastic and dynamic, she soon made music her life’s focus.  A multi-instrumentalist who had already begun writing music in grade and high school, Lori eventually concentrated on the electric bass and piano, and began teaching lessons part-time at an early age.

For over 15 years, Lori has been shaking music halls all over the US and Europe in the group Super 400, along with Kenny Hohman.  They have written and recorded several albums and worked in studios around the country.  The band has become a local legend, with their own holiday, ‘Super 400 Day’, February 25.  The day was granted by Mayor Tutunjian in 2006 to honor the band’s dedication to it’s home town, as well as Troy’s pride in their achievements.   The Troy Music Academy is one of Lori and Kenny’s proudest milestones, and brings their love and knowledge of music to students in Troy, NY.

Lori is also a skilled visual artist; her music-themed art is on display throughout the Academy.  She encourages her students to express what makes them unique as musicians and individuals.  A visit to the Troy Music Academy immediately reveals this spirit – the environment has been carefully designed for visual interest and maximum rockitude!

Lori offers a dedicated and enthusiastic approach to her lessons.  Her abilities on different instruments allow her to jam along with students and encourage a group-play experience.  Styles ranging from Rock, Blues, Jazz, Funk and Pop are taught, as well as sight reading, improvisation, songwriting, and Lori’s unique perspective, gathered from years of learning and touring, playing and listening.  How do you construct a bass line to go along with chord changes?  If you want a fresh start on an instrument you gave up long ago, where should you begin?  How do you learn to play piano along with your favorite songs?  What are the secrets to taking your playing to the next level?  From absolute beginner to seasoned pro, she offers something for everyone.

Vince Bonafede

Piano

Vince has been keeping people dancing, singing and well entertained in upstate New York since his high school garage band. He earned a Bachelor of Music from the State University College at Fredonia where he studied with world renowned pianist Claudette Sorell. He was awarded a Masters degree in Music Theory and Composition from the Crane School of Music at Potsdam. For many years Vince taught band, choir, and music theory in the Hoosic Valley Central School District.

A career organist and choir director, currently at Blooming Grove Reformed Church. He is music director and winter conductor of the Delmar Community Orchestra and co-director of the Albany Area Senior Orchestra. Vince can be heard at the keyboard dining rooms, finer restaurants, and local banquet venues playing for patrons, wedding ceremonies, social events and cocktail parties on most weekends. He solos, trios, and accompanies area vocalists.

He has been the musical director and accompanist for community theater organizations, including productions at: Schenectady Light Opera , RPI Players and RPI Youth Theater, Capital Repertory Theatre, Not So Common Players, Siena College, Family Players, and Spotlite Players. He has accompanied the production of “Uptown Downtown” starring Leslie Uggams, and collaborated with other well known performers in the Catskill resorts. His original compositions have been performed by local orchestras, churches, and school groups.

Vince has been teaching students of all ages and levels since college. He offers individualized lessons in classical, jazz, pop, rock, electronic music composition, music theory, and keyboard improvisation. He teaches the art of using chord accompaniments, which can be a short cut to playing your favorite songs. Vocalists have been taught to accompany themselves on the keyboard.

Piano lessons can be a way for anyone to open the door to making live music part of their lives.

Cheryl Matott Humphreys

Clarinet, Saxophone, Flute, Piano

Cheryl began playing the clarinet at age 9 in school, and after over 20 years it has become a major part of her life.  After high school, she studied at Schenectady County Community College under the instruction of Brett Wery, where Cheryl was classically trained in performance.  She spent her time performing works by Mozart, Brahms, and Hindemith, among others, and was seated first chair clarinet in the college wind ensemble.  Cheryl earned her A.S. in Music performance on the clarinet in 2001 and went on with her studies at the College of St. Rose, maintaining her first chair seat.  Through her studies at St. Rose Cheryl earned her B.S. in Music Education.  These days, she is a touring musician all over the Eastern US as a member of Tony’s Polka Band, keeping the weekends and the dance floors busy!

Over the past 10 years Cheryl has taught private lessons on the saxophone, flute, clarinet, and piano.  She does her best to keep her lessons enjoyable, informative, and professional.  One of her primary goals as a teacher is to help students develop confidence on their instrument.  If a student has confidence in their ability to learn, then there is nothing they cannot accomplish.

In addition to her position in Tony’s Polka Band, Cheryl has performed with many local ensembles including the Capital Region Wind Ensemble, the Schenectady Symphony Orchestra, and occasionally fills in for local college ensembles.  When she’s not out performing she enjoys spending time at home with her husband, Stephen, and her little girl Cadence.

Caitlin AbbottCaitlin

Voice, Piano, Strings

Her voice studies began with Diane Bayen at Molloy College in Rockville Centre, and from there she studied bel canto with internationally known soprano Karen Nimereala.  Throughout her career she has sung with chamber group The Daughters of Zion and Major Treble, Long Island’s first all-female a cappella group which has performed throughout the tri-state area and at Nassau Colliseum.

As an instrumentalist, Caitlin has performed as concertmaster with the UDel Symphony Orchestra, asst. concertmaster of the Molloy College orchestra, with the Valley Stream Pops, and at numerous chamber concerts with fellow students of teacher Irene Stitt.  Caitlin has also worked for three years as music director / accompanist for Our Lady of the Miraculous Medal Church in Wyandanch, and for six years at the Rockville Centre Music School.  She is experienced in preparing K – 12 students for NYSSMA festivals and college level auditions in piano, strings, and voice.

She has served as musical director / production assistant for two musicals performed at Universal Studios, FL, The Final Battle and The Untold Tale of Beetle the Bard.  The Untold Tale is an operetta style musical that explores the fairy tales of an early character of the Harry Potter series.  It was the first Skype-rehearsed musical ever to be performed for a large audience, brought to life by the children’s actor troupe The Peverell Players.

Caitlin is outgoing, energetic and creative – qualities that make her an exceptional teacher, and we are glad to have her at the Academy!

Elissa Premerlani

Voice

Dramatic soprano Elissa Premerlani is a native of Albany, NY.  A 2003 graduate of the Purchase College Conservatory of Music, she continued on to receive her Masters in Vocal Performance from the Cleveland Institute of Music in 2005. Since that time, Ms. Premerlani has performed throughout the US and Europe as a featured soloist in several classic and contemporary works, including ‘Madama Butterfly’, ‘La Traviata’, and ‘The Mikado’, among others.

Elissa greatly enjoys being a cantor and soloist for St. Gabriel’s in Rotterdam, NY, and being an active member in her local NATS (National Association of Teachers and Singers) chapter.  Miss Premerlani continues her musical education as a student of noted soprano Mimi O’Neill and has studied with the accomplished mezzo-soprano Lucille Beer.  Elissa brings her natural zest and effervescence to the Troy Music Academy; her personable nature brings out the best is all of her students, and they are able to reach their full potential under her thoughtful guidance.  We are happy to have Elissa as an addition to our staff!

Caitlin AbbottCaitlin

Voice, Piano, Strings

Her voice studies began with Diane Bayen at Molloy College in Rockville Centre, and from there she studied bel canto with internationally known soprano Karen Nimereala.  Throughout her career she has sung with chamber group The Daughters of Zion and Major Treble, Long Island’s first all-female a cappella group which has performed throughout the tri-state area and at Nassau Colliseum.

As an instrumentalist, Caitlin has performed as concertmaster with the UDel Symphony Orchestra, asst. concertmaster of the Molloy College orchestra, with the Valley Stream Pops, and at numerous chamber concerts with fellow students of teacher Irene Stitt.  Caitlin has also worked for three years as music director / accompanist for Our Lady of the Miraculous Medal Church in Wyandanch, and for six years at the Rockville Centre Music School.  She is experienced in preparing K – 12 students for NYSSMA festivals and college level auditions in piano, strings, and voice.

She has served as musical director / production assistant for two musicals performed at Universal Studios, FL, The Final Battle and The Untold Tale of Beetle the Bard.  The Untold Tale is an operetta style musical that explores the fairy tales of an early character of the Harry Potter series.  It was the first Skype-rehearsed musical ever to be performed for a large audience, brought to life by the children’s actor troupe The Peverell Players.

Caitlin is outgoing, energetic and creative – qualities that make her an exceptional teacher, and we are glad to have her at the Academy!

Mark Frederick

Strings

Mark Frederick has been performing music since the age of eight. Mark studied at the Crane School of Music in Potsdam NY where he earned a Bachelor of Music degree, and also holds a Masters Degree in Education. A multi-instrumentalist, Mark plays violin, viola, cello, upright bass, fiddle, mandolin, electric bass, guitar, and both tenor and 5 string banjo, as well as other more obscure instruments. Mark is both a public and private orchestral instructor and one of the most sought after session artists in upstate New York, lending his instrumental voice to rock bands, country artists, bluegrass groups, Irish compilations, movie scores, and college recruitment videos. He has shared the stage with many national acts including Bruce Hornsby, Edwin McCain, Phil Lesh, Black 47, The Glengarry Bhoys, and performed at the Goodwill Games in Lake Placid, NY. In addition, he has premiered baroque works in the United States with groups such as the Aoede Consort. While doing all of the above, Mark has maintained a large and diverse private studio in addition to teaching 6-12 orchestra in the South Glens Falls school district, and finds teaching to be the most challenging and rewarding aspect of his career.

Caitlin AbbottCaitlin

Voice, Piano, Strings

Her voice studies began with Diane Bayen at Molloy College in Rockville Centre, and from there she studied bel canto with internationally known soprano Karen Nimereala.  Throughout her career she has sung with chamber group The Daughters of Zion and Major Treble, Long Island’s first all-female a cappella group which has performed throughout the tri-state area and at Nassau Colliseum.

As an instrumentalist, Caitlin has performed as concertmaster with the UDel Symphony Orchestra, asst. concertmaster of the Molloy College orchestra, with the Valley Stream Pops, and at numerous chamber concerts with fellow students of teacher Irene Stitt.  Caitlin has also worked for three years as music director / accompanist for Our Lady of the Miraculous Medal Church in Wyandanch, and for six years at the Rockville Centre Music School.  She is experienced in preparing K – 12 students for NYSSMA festivals and college level auditions in piano, strings, and voice.

She has served as musical director / production assistant for two musicals performed at Universal Studios, FL, The Final Battle and The Untold Tale of Beetle the Bard.  The Untold Tale is an operetta style musical that explores the fairy tales of an early character of the Harry Potter series.  It was the first Skype-rehearsed musical ever to be performed for a large audience, brought to life by the children’s actor troupe The Peverell Players.

Caitlin is outgoing, energetic and creative – qualities that make her an exceptional teacher, and we are glad to have her at the Academy!

Cheryl Matott Humphreys

Clarinet, Saxophone, Flute, Piano

Cheryl began playing the clarinet at age 9 in school, and after over 20 years it has become a major part of her life.  After high school, she studied at Schenectady County Community College under the instruction of Brett Wery, where Cheryl was classically trained in performance.  She spent her time performing works by Mozart, Brahms, and Hindemith, among others, and was seated first chair clarinet in the college wind ensemble.  Cheryl earned her A.S. in Music performance on the clarinet in 2001 and went on with her studies at the College of St. Rose, maintaining her first chair seat.  Through her studies at St. Rose Cheryl earned her B.S. in Music Education.  These days, she is a touring musician all over the Eastern US as a member of Tony’s Polka Band, keeping the weekends and the dance floors busy!

Over the past 10 years Cheryl has taught private lessons on the saxophone, flute, clarinet, and piano.  She does her best to keep her lessons enjoyable, informative, and professional.  One of her primary goals as a teacher is to help students develop confidence on their instrument.  If a student has confidence in their ability to learn, then there is nothing they cannot accomplish.

In addition to her position in Tony’s Polka Band, Cheryl has performed with many local ensembles including the Capital Region Wind Ensemble, the Schenectady Symphony Orchestra, and occasionally fills in for local college ensembles.  When she’s not out performing she enjoys spending time at home with her husband, Stephen, and her little girl Cadence.

Eric Busta

Drums

Eric Busta has been playing drums since birth. Seriously. The son of a drummer, Eric was holding drum sticks as soon as he could grip with his hands. Years of private lessons gave Eric a solid foundation in Rock, Jazz, and Latin on the drum set.

Once in high school, with the encouragement of his parents, Eric formed a rock band with some classmates and performed on stage for the first time at age 15. From that point forward, Eric was never without a band. Eric has performed and recorded with bands and musicians whose genres include light pop rock, folk, experimental improvisational jazz, heavy metal, and hardcore punk. It was hardcore punk that would get Eric signed to two record labels allowing him to tour the United States as well as Canada and Europe for a number of years.

Eric’s approach to teaching puts the students goals first. He uses real world experience to coach students and give them practical skills to perform, record and interact with a band.

Pete Sweeney

Drums

Pete Sweeney is a full-time musician, teacher and author. He began playing drums at the age of five, and studied with the great Dave Calarco as a teenager. He later studied with the legendary Joe Morello, with whom he collaborated with on the Alfred book series “The Complete Drumset Method”.
Over the years Pete has performed far and wide with many great artists in concert as well as on recordings, including two Grammy-nominated albums. He currently leads a jazz trio, as well as performing with the Latin/Jazz group Sensemaya.
Pete has been a faculty member of the National Guitar Workshop since 1993, as well as the Berkshire Music School since 1999. He has also maintained a private teaching practice for many years. Pete has taught clinics and seminars at Union College, Applebee College in Canada, Humber College in Toronto, and the Berkshire Community College. He has written fourteen instructional books for the Alfred publishing company, and produced three dvds. He has held group drum workshops at the Troy Music Academy, in addition to his private teaching schedule here. Pete’s masterful teaching style brings out the very best in his students of all ages and levels.