Gary Henderson has been teaching instrumental music in the New York public school system for the past twelve years. Currently, he is the band director at Bowling Green Elementary School in East Meadow, NY. Gary received his Bachelor's of Science Degree in Education from Hofstra University and his Masters Degree in Jazz and Commercial Music from Five Towns College.
Gary is the director of the Nassau-Suffolk Performing Arts Youth Band. He is the founder and director of the Hofstra University Alumni Big Band and also plays trumpet in the group. He is an active clinician, conducting the elementary level reading sessions at the Balanced Mind Conference, as well as guest conducting several All-County and All-District Festivals.
Gary is the president of GarHende Music LLC. Started as a means to publish his original works for elementary level band, he is now publishing several outside composers. This new venture is being met with an overwhelming response.
Gary is a member of BMI. His song writing credits include music used for MTV's Say What? Karaoke, the myNetworkTV soap opera Desire, and even a Japanese game show!
Gary gained most of his professional playing experience while performing with the group Edna's Goldfish. This included several national and European tours and two albums (Before You Knew Better, Ska Satellite Records, and The Elements of Transition, Moon Ska Records). The group released a video for the song "Veronica Sawyer" which appeared on MTV, MTV2, and was featured on the MTV show 120 Minutes. In 1997, Gary was nominated for Instrumentalist of the Year as part of the Long Island Music Awards.Gary lives in Yaphank, New York with his wife, Christina.
Dr. Justin Comito
Justin J. Comito, BS Music Composition, MS Music Education, Hofstra University, DMA Performance SUNY at Stony Brook. Dr. Comito’s extensive musical activities include a rigorous schedule of performing, composing, and teaching.
As a performer, Justin is an active freelance musician in the New York area. His performances include many chamber and solo recitals, along with performances in Broadway musicals, and in the recording studio. Justin most recently performed with the Orchestra of St. Luke’s at the Caramoor Music Festival. He is one of the founding members of the Metropolitan Brass Quintet; which made their third appearance at the Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall in April 2004. As an enthusiastic advocate of new music Dr. Comito recently commissioned a new work for solo Bass Trombone and electronic effects entitled Harvest Time in the Magnetic Fields, written by the Chicago based composer, Reber Clark. Justin will soon be releasing his debut solo recording, which will feature the new composition as the title cut. Justin is also a member of Bone Vivant, a long island based trombone quartet.
As a composer, Justin has been involved in a number of projects. Aside from his many chamber compositions and his symphony for orchestra, Four Phases of a Midnight Moon, he has been extremely active in the field of educational composition. His catalog contains pieces designed for the young band, intending to foster a deeper insight of musical understanding. He is an active teacher and conductor of these works throughout various clinics and festivals for young musicians. His latest composition, Funky Kaleidoscope will be premiered this coming spring at the Patchogue Theater.
In recent years Justin has cultivated his interest in interdisciplinary performance. As the founder and artistic director of Synergy Arts Gallery he explored the possibilities of the simultaneous improvisation of art and music. This has led to the creation of the Synergy Chamber Players as well as the continued curation of interdisciplinary projects. Alea 5 recently featured the art of sumi-e painter Sung Sook Setton as well as a trombone quartet comprised of David Taylor, Ray Anderson, and Julie Josephson, alongside Justin.
Dr. Comito is the conductor of the Queens College Wind Ensemble as well as the Queens College Concert Band. Justin is also on the faculty of Sachem North High School where he directs the Wind Ensemble, the Jazz Ensemble, and teaches music theory.
Mr. Doherty received his Bachelors of Music in Education and Masters of Music in Wind Conducting from Hofstra University and also served as Associate and Assistant conductor of the Wind Ensemble and Symphonic Band during his graduate studies. Chris also served as the Peer Teacher for Dr. David Lalama, director of Jazz Studies as and undergraduate, coordinating jazz combos and organizing music for on-campus events.
Mr. Doherty has also maintained an active performing career as a French Hornist and Jazz Guitarist on Long Island, performing with groups such as the Nassau Pops, South Shore Symphony, North Shore Symphony, and the Hofstra Gray Wig and countless other Musical Productions. His teachers have included Arthur Goldstein and Eric Ralske on Horn, Dr. Peter Loel Boonshaft and Mindy Dragovich for conducting and Rick Stone,Paul Marino, and Mark Marino for guitar.
Chris and his wife (a Musical Theater Actress and Director) currently live in Baldwin, New York.
Chris Scarnato has been a public school teacher for seven years. He is currently a music teacher at J.T. Finley Middle School in Huntington, NY, where he directs the 8th grade Concert Band and Jazz Ensemble.
He received his Bachelor of Science in Jazz & Commercial Music from Hofstra University, as well as his Masters degree in Music Education.
Chris is an accomplished saxophonist, and is proficient on clarinet and flute. He has performed in numerous orchestral pits for musicals and in many big bands across Long Island. For the Alumni Jazz Orchestra in which he is the resident baritone saxophonist, he has contributed many original compositions and arrangements.
As an arranger, Chris has provided numerous works to professional bands. He has also written commissions for the Hewlett High School Jazz Ensemble. The Alumni Jazz Ensemble, the Gary Henderson Jazz Nonet, the Hofstra Big Band, the Hofstra Little Big Band, and the Black Tie Affair Orchestra are among some of the groups that have performed his works live. He studied arranging and composition with David Lalama of Hofstra University.
Chris enjoys composing music in his home studio, which runs Sibelius 6 on an iMac.
Jonathan Holford is a music educator and freelance saxophonist and doubler in the metropolitan area. After graduating from Hofstra University with a bachelor degree in music education, he joined the staff of the Hewlett-Woodmere Music Department where he currently teaches 6th, 7th and 8th grade band and Jazz Ensembles.
In addition to teaching in Hewlett-Woodmere, Jonathan was also a member of the Jazz Faculty at the Hartwick Summer Music Festival 02-04 where he taught and performed with the likes of Sherri Mericle and Sara Caswell just to name a few.
In the fall of 2007, Jonathan completed his Masters Degree in Jazz Performance at The Aaron Copeland School of Music, where he studied with Antonio Hart, Michael Mossman and Ted Rosenthal.
As a freelance musician, Jonathan can often be found playing in numerous pit orchestras, big bands and rock/funk bands across metropolitan area. Jonathan has played with the Tommy Dorsey Orchestra and has backed up jazz greats such as Teddy Charles, John Benitez, Conrad Herwig, Ralph Lalama, Dave Lalama and Al Galladoro. Jonathan was also one of the original members of the The Alumni Jazz Orchestra and the Long Island Jazz Orchestra, under the direction of Dave Lalama.
As an arranger Jonathan's pieces have been performed by the Woodmere Middle 8th Grade Band, the Garden City Middle School finale band, the Alumni Jazz Orchestra and the Queens College Graduate Jazz Ensemble.
Jonathan has been very fortunate to have studied sax/flute/clarinet with the following teachers: Antonio Hart, Dave Pietro, Gary Smulyan, Mark Vinci, Jeff Lange, Steve Greenfield, Lori Freidman and has studied arranging with Dr. David Lalama, Michael Phillip Mossman and Carle Strommen.
Jonathan currently lives in Long Island, NY with his wife Krista.