Brookhaven Art & Music Staff




Matthew Gelfer

summer music orchestra

Matthew Gelfer grew up on Long Island's South Shore with one foot planted firmly in the classical world and the other in the world of fiddling and alternative styles. As a student at the Berklee College of Music, he was coached by some of the preeminent non-traditional string players of the profession, including Darol Anger (Turtle Island String Quartet), Jean Luc Ponty, and Mark O'Connor.

Mr. Gelfer currently teaches Junior High School strings in the Huntington School District. Previously, he taught Elementary School orchestra in the Middle Country School District where he started a 5th Grade Fiddle Club and a ukulele program.

Mr. Gelfer has been an All-County Chairperson, a NYSSMA adjudicator and guest conductor of the HMEA High School Orchestra. He is a founding member and violinist for the New Inlet Chamber Orchestra, and he can often be seen performing bluegrass and folk music as fiddler, mandolinist and guitarist for the Brooklyn based band The New Students.

Ashley Ockner

summer music band

Ashley Ockner is a flutist and music teacher on Long Island. She received her Bachelor of Music from The Crane School of Music at SUNY Potsdam, where she pursued a dual major in Flute Performance and Music Education. Her career in music education has included teaching elementary band, orchestra, and general music.

While at the Crane School of Music, Ashley studied flute with Professor Kenneth Andrews, and performed with the Crane Wind Ensemble and Crane Symphony Orchestra. She was also invited to perform on several occasions with Potsdam’s professional musical ensembles, such as the Northern Symphonic Winds and the Orchestra of Northern New York. She also had the opportunity to perform in a number of professional master classes, including one with flutist Michael Hasel of the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra. In addition to performing avidly, Ashley co-founded a flute program at a local private school in Massena, NY, where she taught flute lessons to students in elementary through high school.

While at the Crane School of Music, Ashley studied flute with Professor Kenneth Andrews, and performed with the Crane Wind Ensemble and Crane Symphony Orchestra. She was also invited to perform on several occasions with Potsdam’s professional musical ensembles, such as the Northern Symphonic Winds and the Orchestra of Northern New York. She also had the opportunity to perform in a number of professional master classes, including one with flutist Michael Hasel of the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra. In addition to performing avidly, Ashley co-founded a flute program at a local private school in Massena, NY, where she taught flute lessons to students in elementary through high school.

On Long Island, Ashley has taught master classes at the Long Island Flute Club’s annual Flute Festival. She has performed on flute and piccolo with a number of musical ensembles, including the Atlantic Wind Symphony, the Sound Symphony Orchestra, the New Inlet Chamber Orchestra, and a new woodwind quintet. She has also been involved in the pit orchestras for some of the recent musicals at Murphy Junior High School.

James Hein

Summer Music Orchestra

James Hein received his undergraduate degree in Music Education from the University of Maryland and is currently working towards a Master’s in Liberal Arts from Stony Brook University.

Mr. Hein is currently the orchestra director at Arrowhead elementary school as well as the 10th grade orchestra at Ward Melville High School. Throughout his career, Mr. Hein has taught beginning band, orchestra, chorus and general music.

Peter Coffin

Summer Music Orchestra

Peter Coffin received his Bachelors degree in Music Education from the Crane School of Music and his Master’s degree from Stony Brook University. He has been teaching strings in the Connetquot School District for seventeen years. Peter is currently the orchestra director at Connetquot High School.

Laura Cooley

Summer Music Chorus and World Drumming

Laura Cooley is the choral music teacher at Setauket Elementary School. Mrs. Cooley is in her 14th year of teaching, the past seven at Three Village. She has taught general music, beginning and advanced choruses, vocal lessons, and recorder technique. In addition, Mrs. Cooley has co-directed several musical theatre productions with children in Raleigh, SC.

Mrs. Cooley received her Bachelor’s degree in music performance from University of Illinois, Champagne-Urbana and her M.F.A. from Southern Illinois University. She has performed in off-Broadway productions of Gilbert & Sullivan, as well as many choral chamber productions. Mrs. Cooley is excited to be a part of the BAM Summer Music program!

Daniel Hayes

summer music band

Dan Hayes is in his thirteenth year of teaching within the Three Village Central School District. He is currently the band and theater director at WS Mount Elementary School, as well as the Assistant Director of the Ward Melville Patriot Marching Band.

Daniel earned his degree in music education and performers certificate in Oboe/English Horn performance from the Fredonia School of Music and has performed in both orchestras and pit orchestra's throughout New York State and Long Island.

Mark Portugal

summer music band and Instrumental Jazz

Mark Portugal is currently in his eighth year of teaching music in the Three Village School District, where he directs the band at Minnesauke Elementary School and the jazz ensemble at Gelinas Junior High School.

Mr. Portugal received a Masters Degree in Music Education from the Aaron Copland School of Music at Queens College, NY and a Bachelors Degree in Music Theory and Performance from SUNY Stony Brook.

Mr. Portugal is a professional drummer and performs regularly with Bakithi Kumalo, Bryan Carrott, Morris Goldberg, Hofstra Alumni Jazz Orchestra, Al Quinn/Glenn Heckinger Quartet, Shenole Latimer Quartet, Mike Carubia Big Band, Frank Rizzo Big Band, The Jumpers Orchestra, Gail Storm, Jack Licitra, Andrew Fortier, and Levi Barcourt. Guitar and clarinet are Mr. Portugal's secondary instruments. Mr. Portugal is thrilled to be back teaching instrumental lessons and jazz ensemble to our summer music students!

Jason Rahner

Summer Music Band

Jason Rahner has recently completed his bachelors in music education at the Crane School of Music. He is a woodwind specialist who will be pursuing a graduate degree in jazz studies at the University of Hartford. Jason is a Ward Melville alum and is always excited to teach and inspire students in and around his home town.

Benjamin Fogarty

Summer Music Band

Ben is a sophomore music education major at the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music. He has been studying Trumpet performance as well as lead Trumpet during his time there. Ben is also continuing his love for singing in the only all male acapella group, Another Round.