Andy Kolar, President
Andy is the Assistant Director of Bands and Percussion Instructor at Sacred Heart University in Fairfield, CT. Before coming to Connecticut he taught at several high schools in the Pittsburgh, PA area and at the University of Oklahoma while completing his Masters Degree. Andy marched for two years with the DCI Division I Drum & Bugle Corps, Capital Regiment, and for seven years in two WGI (Winter Guard International) percussion ensembles, The Royal Crusaders and Project Percussion. He has worked with the DCI Division I Drum & Bugle Corps, Magic of Orlando (DCI), and DCA Drum & Bugle Corps, Connecticut Hurricanes, as a marching technician. He has performed with the Allegheny Brass Band, Butler County Symphony Orchestra, & Fort Smith Symphony. He continues to write and arrange music for concert and marching percussion ensembles and has a personal educator endorsement with Vic Firth. Through this personal endorsement, he has helped Sacred Heart University to attain sponsorships with Vic Firth, Zildjian, Remo, and Yamaha. The Sacred Heart University Percussion Ensemble has been a regular attendee and performer at the CT Day of Percussion since he came to SHU. He has presented at the Pennsylvania Music Educators Association Conference, Pennsylvania Day of Percussion, Connecticut Day of Percussion, Connecticut Music Educators Association Conference, and is an active member of PAS (Percussive Arts Society), CMEA (Connecticut Music Educators Association), and NAfME (The National Association for Music Education). He has a BM in Music Education from Slippery Rock University and a MM in Percussion Performance from The University of Oklahoma. His primary teachers have been Dr. David Glover and Dr. Lance Drege.
Matt Bronson, Vice President
An active performer and educator, percussionist Matthew Bronson has carved his way into the world of music with a unique skill set and background. A New England native, Matt received a bachelors degree in Music Education from Western Connecticut State University, and a Master of Music Degree in Percussion Performance from the University of Minnesota Duluth. This diverse background finds him both at home as a dynamic performer and teacher. Currently, Matt serves as an Adjunct Professor of Music at Eastern Connecticut State University. Here, he directs the World Percussion Ensemble, Co-Directs the University Percussion Ensembles, and instructs a private studio of undergraduate students. In addition to his work at ECSU, Matt serves as a Percussion Specialist for the South Windsor Public School District, and is the Vice President of the Connecticut Chapter of the Percussive Arts Society. Matt has taught some of the most successful marching ensembles in New England, most notably WGI Medalist, Norwalk High School. His arranging skills can be heard across the United States, at Castleton University in Vermont, to Grand Rapids High School, in Minnesota. An active freelance percussionist, Matt has performed with The Duluth Superior Symphony Orchestra, The Minnesota Ballet, The Connecticut Patriots Fife and Drum Corps, Hartford City Singers, Quey Percussion Duo, Playhouse On Park, The Danbury Symphony Orchestra, Shoreline Steel Band, Camerata D'amici, and the Big Time Jazz Orchestra. Matt has had the pleasure of performing at the Percussive Arts Society International Convention. Throughout his career Matt has had the pleasure of studying various forms of percussion with David Smith, Patrick Smith, Gene Koshinski, Tim Broscious, Ben Toth, Shane Shanahan, Sandeep Das, and Brendan Mason.
Mary Gardner, Secretary/Treasurer
Mary received her Bachelor’s degree in music education and performance from Ithaca College, where she studied with Gordon Stout and Conrad Alexander. In 2010, Mary completed her Master’s degree in percussion performance under the direction of Haruka Fujii at the University of Connecticut. Mary has also studied at the Royal College of Music and the Guildhall School in London, and the University of Limerick in Ireland. Mary is a Connecticut-based percussionist that specializes in marimba, orchestral percussion and world music. She has received acclaim for her fluency in a wide variety of styles from contemporary music to traditional Irish to Brazilian folk tunes. As an advocate of new music, Mary has premiered works by composers including Gabriela Lena Frank, Dana Wilson, Nathan Currier, Paul Fowler and David Dzubay. She has performed with several orchestras throughout the area including New Haven Symphony and the Hartford Pops. Mary has appeared on stage at such notable venues as Lincoln Center’s Alice Tully Hall, the Goodspeed Opera House and NYU’s Skirball Center for the Arts. She toured Ireland with Mícheál Ó Súilleabháin in 2003 and with Pat Kane in 2010. Her passion for diverse genres of music has put her on stage with the West Point Brass and Emmy Award winners Lillias White and Sarah Jessica Parker. In addition to her career as a performing artist, Mary teaches beginning band in Westport, Connecticut, conducts the Norwalk Youth Symphony’s Philharmonia Winds, and is the Education Development Coordinator for Swan Percussion.
Robert Villanova, Membership Chair
Robert Villanova is currently the Percussion Caption Head & Arranger for the Ramsey High School Band & Winter Percussion Ensemble (since 2007). He has been on the Percussion Staff for the Raiders Drum & Bugle Corps (dci), the Centurions Drum & Bugle Corps (dca) and the Fusion Drum & Bugle Corps (dca). He held the title of Percussion Caption Head for the Sunrisers Drum & Bugle Corps (dca) from 2003 through 2008. Robert is currently arranging and consulting for Ramsey High School Marching Band & Winter Percussion Ensemble, Ramsey NJ, Pequannock High School Marching Band, Pompton Plains, NJ, Millville High School Marching Band, Millville, NJ and Park Ridge High School Marching Band, Park Ridge, NJ. From 1996-2007 he held the position of Percussion Caption Head & Staff Coordinator for the Port Chester High School Marching Band and Winter Percussion Ensemble in Port Chester, NY. For the past 17 years he has taught private lessons in the Tri-State Area. Robert is also a Percussion Adjudicator for US Bands. Robert is also a member of the Percussive Arts Society. He proudly uses and endorses Dynasty Percussion, Sabian Cymbals, Remo Drumheads, Meinl Percussion, and Innovative Percussion sticks & mallets.