18 Commons Drive, Store C
Litchfield, CT 06759
We Make Musicians™
Michael Ford began studying the piano at the age of 4, and performed his first public concert at age 6. He made his debut as soloist with the Allentown Symphony Orchestra at 13. He studied piano with Ralph Kemmerer, Eleanor Sokoloff and Susan Starr. He studied composition with Romeo Cascarino and Theodore Antonio, and electronic music with Andrew Rudin at Philadelphia Musical Academy. He also played rock music on many kinds of keyboards in "Vacuum Pact", "Pegasus" and "Children", finding a particular interest in the British progressive "Art Rock" genre. In the '80's, he toured as pianist for the Paul Taylor Dance Company and performed both as soloist and with the orchestra in their Broadway seasons. He recorded the two piano version of Stravinsky’s “The Rite of Spring” with the Paul Taylor Dance Company for PBS "Dance in America" series as well as "Great Performances" for the Joffrey Ballet.
While exploring other worlds of music including jazz and experimental improvisation, acoustic blues and electronic music with various ensembles, he began making recordings of his own music as a keyboard soloist. He developed a compositional style that draws on these influences but is rooted in a classical aesthetic that stems from his dedication to the piano.
At that same time he developed a deep interest in music synthesis and sampling techniques, creating music in many styles and formats for keyboard synthesizer companies, trading demos for keyboards, which quickly set him up to be able to create music for film and video with an orchestral emphasis. This led to "Keyboard Magazine" awarding him high honors for a recording of his composition for piano and electronic orchestra in 1992. In the summer of 1993 he performed at Lincoln Center using his electronic keyboards with fellow recording artist/composer John Greenland.
In 1995-1996 he co-wrote a musical based on the life of Harry Houdini with composer/lyricist Carl Kusnell.
His collaboration with children’s book author and illustrator Sandra Boynton from 1995 to the present, has won him 3 gold records and one (Philadelphia Chickens) is now platinum. Through their six titles, he has recorded with B. B. King, Brian Wilson, Alison Krauss, Ben Folds, Mark Lanegan, Davy Jones, Patti LuPone, Linda Eder, Meryl Streep, Samuel L. Jackson and many more.
His 2009 solo release “Dream of the Wind” was nominated for best contemporary classical album by the Independent Music Awards. In 2012, his next piano album "Simple Truth" was also nominated for best contemporary classical album by the IMA.
His current releases, "Leah's Farewell” and “Exile” have developed much attention -"Leah's Farewell is an emotionally resonant piano album that showcases someone who has exceptional ability on their instrument...His playing is dynamic, nuanced and quite elegant...There isn't a single piece on here that wasn’t impressive."
He enjoys teaching all levels of classical, jazz, pop, rock and blues, and also encourages and gives guidance to improvisation
Please call for lessons with Michael.
At ABC Music School, you'll find very personable, dedicated teachers that strive to provide a family-friendly learning environment to take you or your child's musicality to the next level.
We'll work with local teachers in schools to help with their music needs.
Jacob Saeva is a Rochester, NY native whose interest in music was fostered from an early age by his parents and inspired by the nearby Eastman School of Music. In elementary school he began playing tuba in the school concert band and playing guitar as a hobbyist. It wasn’t until middle school that he began to play seriously, dreaming of someday working in the music industry. It was around this time that he began playing in a local Green Day cover band, an experience Jake describes as being ‘Paul McCarthy’d’, as he was the only one of his friends with a bass guitar. He continued to play and expand his repertoire throughout high school. Eventually he attended Monroe Community College’s music program, where he began to focus his study on jazz (and also picked up the Double Bass for the first time). At MCC, Jake was able to study under an array of amazing musicians, such as John Nyerges (MCC), Kieran Hanlon (SUNY Fredonia), and the world-renown bassist, Danny Ziemann. Jake has also been lucky enough to perform with jazz greats like Wycleff Gordon, Bob Shepard, and Doug Stone. After completing his Associates degree in Music Performance at MCC, Jake then traveled to Boston, Massachusetts to study at the Berklee College of Music, where he would rub elbows and study under many of the most popular and talented musicians this world has to offer.
While in Boston, Jake began teaching private music lessons and developed a passion for training fellow musicians! Jake has worked with students of a variety of ages, from middle school to college level, and he also has experience teaching students with special needs. After a year of intense study, Jake returned to his native Rochester to finish his undergraduate degree under the supervision of mentors Danny Ziemann and Eric Schmitz at SUNY Oswego. Since then, Jake has also had the opportunity to serve as a teaching assistant for a number of college courses, including Jazz Band and Music History. While attending SUNY Oswego, Jake performed with sensational jazz musicians like Matt Wilson and Dick Oatts. As a part of his senior thesis and funded through Oswego’s SCAC (Scholarly and Creative Activity Committee) Grant, Jake released an album in 2018 entitled ‘Boston and Back’ under a pseudonym.
Contact us to see how our dedicated teachers can help improve your musicality
All school band instruments: Trumpet, Trombon, Saxophone, Clarinet, Flute, Band percussion and all other school band instruments, wind percussion or brass.
Chris Valerio has been teaching for over 40 years, both privately and in the public school system and is very skilled with teaching students the correct methods and techniques for success in the school programs we all know and love,
With a love for teaching children music, Chris has devoted his life to to this very vocation and as a result has produced an amazing array of musicians through the years while leading some of the finest school bands the area has offered in public school and instructing at a high level privately..
His main instrument is trumpet and he is a phenomenal player!
Chris studied trumpet at Western Connecticut State University and the Manhattan School of Music. He has studied with many trumpet greats including Robert Nagel, Allan Dean, Raymond Crisara, Mel Broiles and Vincent Penzerella.
He has performed with the Ridgefield, Greenwich Philarmonia, Stamford Symphony, Waterbury Smphony, New Britain Symphony and others.
Katelyn Lewis, soprano, is a recent graduate of the San Francisco Conservatory of Music where she received her Master’s Degree in Voice Performance. She has performed in several operas both domestically and abroad including: Königin der Nacht in Mozart’s Die Zauberflöte with Berlin Opera Academy, Annunciata in William Bolcom’s Lucrezia and Second Woman in Purcell’s Dido & Aeneas, both with the San Francisco Conservatory of Music Chamber Opera. She received her Bachelor of Music Degree in Voice Performance from The University of Connecticut where she sang several roles including: Adele in Johann Strauss’ Die Fledermaus, Gretel in Engelbert Humperdinck’s Hansel & Gretel, Le feu, le rossignol, and le princesse in Ravel’s L’enfant et les sortiléges, Gianetta in Donizetti’s L’Elisir d’Amore, and many others. In addition to operatic roles, Katelyn has also participated in many masterclasses with world renowned artists such as Martin Katz, Warren Jones, and Philippe Jaroussky. Throughout Katelyn’s musical career she has studied with Laura Mashburn, Dr. Constance Rock, and Jane Randolph. Katelyn has experience singing in Italian, German, French, English, Spanish, and Russian.
Her goal as a teacher is to cultivate and refine every student’s unique sound and approach to music. She strives to create a safe, comfortable, and fun environment that inspires students to be motivated and dedicated to their growth as both musicians and as singing actors. Singing at any level is a very personal and individualistic endeavor, so she seeks to help students feel excited to learn, try new techniques, and to make and fix mistakes. Through honest and open dialogue, she teaches students to understand the importance of healthy classical technique while singing in any genre.
Vincent "Vinny" Brophy began his musical journey at the age of 8 on the violin. At a student concert, he heard a solo saxophone and knew where his heart was set.
Thirteen years later, Vinny graduated WestConn with a degree in Performance for Classical Saxophone. He has had the privilege of studying under Dan Goble, Javier Oviedo, Dave Noland, Mark Rivera, and some fellow students while he was still in high school.
A graduate from Newtown High, Vinny spent five years in the marching band and every year he could in the jazz band. It was the stern yet disciplined approach that Kurt Eckhardt taught that encouraged Vinny to always strive to be better, even if it meant doing long tones.
Vinny began his study of the guitar at 14, bass at 15, piano at 16, clarinet at 19, and flute at 20. While the rhythm instruments were to explore new sounds, it was inspiration from his woodwind doubling teacher Dave Noland that encouraged him to try the other woodwinds.
Vinny has performed in various ensembles, from his previous rock band Time and Again to a saxophone quartet in the Rotella Gallery. He can frequently be found in musical pits across Connecticut and New York playing saxophone, flute, and clarinet.
Vinny's approach as a teacher is personalized to his students, but there is always two constants. There must always be a focus on how to improve, and an appreciation for the enjoyment that comes from seeing results and creating beautiful music.
Phil is wonderful addition for us here at ABC Music School and for community as well! Excellent with children and adults, we believe Phil can really take yours or your child’s wind playing to a new level!
Phil is a woodwind wind player specializing in performance and instruction on the saxophone, oboe, clarinet and flute at any study level.
Philip Plott- Earned his BA in Music with a concentration in saxophone performance from the Hartt School of Music at the University of Hartford. He has competed and placed in various solo and chamber music competitions across the country and has collaborated with new composers to premier and record new compositions .
His passion for theater and music has continued to grow tremendously since his childhood.
His specialties in the art of woodwind doubling ranges across various genres of music and has allowed him to perform professionally in orchestras for over 50 different shows across all of New England and California.
Some of his favorite musical endeavors include: Roger and Hammerstein’s Cinderella, Bob Martin and Don McKellar’s The Drowsy Chaperone, and Leonard Bernstein’s On The Town and West Side Story