TODD NICHOLS — ARTISTIC DIRECTOR & CONDUCTOR
Todd Nichols’ credits include work as a music educator, conductor, and performer throughout the United States. Dr. Nichols currently serves as Director of University Bands at Rutgers University, The State University of New Jersey. His duties include oversight and administration of the university band program, directing the Marching Scarlet Knights and Symphonic Winds, and teaching graduate conducting. As Director of the Marching Scarlet Knights, Dr. Nichols led highly acclaimed performances for the NFL’s nationally televised Monday Night Football, the 2021 Music for All Grand Nationals finals performance, and for United States President Joseph Biden. In 2020-2021, Dr. Nichols served as a Guest Lecturer at New York University, and he currently teaches private conducting lessons for Columbia University. Dr. Nichols currently serves as President of the Big Ten Band Director’s National Association.
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Dr. Nichols annually serves as a guest conductor, clinician, adjudicator, and recording producer and is especially honored to have guest conducted the United States Army Field Band. In addition, Dr. Nichols currently serves as Assistant Conductor for the Garden State Symphonic Band (Local 16-248 AFM). As artistic director for the Eastern Wind Symphony, Dr. Nichols conducted highly acclaimed performances at Carnegie Hall and the Kennedy Center and records regularly with the ensemble, including two recent albums Resurgence and Elements. Under his direction, the EWS received multiple Grammy Award nominations of eligibility and has been invited to perform at major conventions including the 2021 and 2015 Midwest Band and Orchestra Clinic, 2019 ACB National Convention, 2017 NAfME All Eastern Convention, and 2017 ITG Conference. Dr. Nichols has commissioned thirty new works for wind band, supporting composers including Kevin Bobo, Bruce Broughton, David Gillingham, Julie Giroux, Steve Gryc, Jennifer Higdon, Allison Loggins-Hull, John Mackey, Hila Pitman, William Ryden, Joseph Spaniola, James Stephenson, Randall Standridge, Joe Turrin, Dana Wilson, Eric Whitacre, and Bruce Yurko.
Dr. Nichols received his DMA in conducting at Rutgers University, MM in conducting from Messiah College and BM in music from The College of New Jersey. For nineteen years, Dr. Nichols served as Director of Bands at Roxbury and Edison High Schools in New Jersey, where his ensembles were recognized for outstanding performance at numerous local, state, and many prestigious national festivals and concerts. Dr. Nichols recently co-authored two articles accepted for publication in The Journal of Band Research and WASBE Journal. Dr. Nichols was inducted into the prestigious American Bandmasters Association and American School Band Directors Association in 2016. He received the Citation of Excellence from the National Band Association in 2016 and 2020 and NJ the Governor’s Teacher Recognition Award in 2001. Dr. Nichols professional affiliations include the B1G Band Directors Association, WASBE, CBDNA, and AFM.
Dr. Nichols resides in Hillsborough, NJ with his wife, Beth, and daughters, Sarah, and Emily.
ADAM WARSHAFSKY — ASSISTANT CONDUCTOR & EWS YOUTH! DIRECTOR
Adam Warshafsky serves as the Assistant Director of Bands at The College of New Jersey where he teaches the TCNJ Concert Band and Rehearsal Techniques for instrumental music. Mr. Warshafsky also serves as the Supervisor of Visual and Performing Arts for the Montgomery Township School District where he oversees the curriculum, instruction, and administration of a comprehensive, K-12 arts program for 5,000 students.
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Prior to his appointment as the Supervisor of Visual and Performing Arts in the Montgomery Township Schools, Mr. Warshafsky served as the band director at Montgomery High School. During his time in Montgomery Township, the high school band program has grown to include over 230 students. Under Mr. Warshafsky’s direction, the Montgomery High School Wind Ensemble has performed at the New Jersey Band Conference, New Jersey State Band Gala, NJMEA State Music Conference, NAfME All-Eastern Conference, New Jersey Performing Arts Center, Carnegie Hall, and Richardson Auditorium. Additionally, the wind ensemble has performed concert tours of Spain, Germany, and the Czech Republic.
Mr. Warshafsky enjoys guest conducting opportunities whenever possible, having been asked to conduct a number of regional and honor ensembles. He has been invited as a clinician for high school and middle school bands in Michigan, Ohio, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and New York. Mr. Warshafsky has also had the honor of serving on the executive board of the New Jersey Music Educators’ Association and on the writing committee charged with rewriting the New Jersey State Learning Standards for the Visual and Performing Arts for 2020.
Mr. Warshafsky received his bachelor’s degree from the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, PA. During his time as an undergraduate student, he served as an assistant conductor of the University of Pennsylvania Wind Ensemble under the direction of Dr. Ricardo Averbach. He also restructured the Penn Jazz Ensemble, bringing it back to the forefront of performing arts at the university, and served as its interim artistic and administrative director until his graduation when he collaborated with the university to secure a permanent director. Mr. Warshafsky completed his graduate work at the University of Michigan where he received his master’s degree in music education. During his time in Michigan, Mr. Warshafsky served on the staff of the Michigan Marching Band and assisted in teaching the marching band techniques course.
Mr. Warshafsky was appointed the assistant conductor of the Eastern Wind Symphony in July, 2011 and the conductor of EWS Youth! in the fall of 2012. EWS Youth! comprises sixty students from over twenty high schools across the state of New Jersey. The Eastern Wind Symphony is a fantastic group of consummate volunteer musicians who perform music for music’s sake. Mr. Warshafsky is honored to be a part of this ensemble.
JOHN HYLKEMA — EWS YOUTH! ASSISTANT CONDUCTOR
John Hylkema is in his inaugural season with the Eastern Wind Symphony YOUTH! Band and is thrilled to be working with these outstanding student musicians. In 2012 he earned a Bachelor’s degree in Music Education, and in 2014, he earned Master’s degrees in Wind Conducting and Music Education, all from Syracuse University’s Setnor School of Music. During this time he served as Music Director and Conductor of the University Concert Band, Graduate Teaching Assistant for all the concert and athletic bands as well as instrumental music education courses, and was active in various musical organizations on campus and in the Syracuse community.
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John is currently in pursuit of a Doctor of Musical Arts degree at Rutgers University’s Mason Gross School of the Arts where he studies conducting with Dr. Todd Nichols. As a conductor, John has previously studied with Dr. Bradley Ethington, Dr. James Tapia, Dr. John Laverty, Dr. Justin Mertz, and Maestro Daniel Hege of the former Syracuse Symphony Orchestra. He has also studied trumpet with Gabriel DiMartino, Vince DiMartino, and Larry Wright, and has performed and recorded albums with world-renowned artists such as Vince and Gabriel DiMartino, Ronald L. Caravan, Joseph Alessi, Carol Jantsch, Marshal McDonald, Maynard Ferguson, and the Boston Brass.
John currently serves as the Director of Bands at Readington Middle School in Readington, NJ where he was named the New Jersey Governer’s Educator of the Year in 2018. His duties include directing the 6th-8th grade concert bands, jazz ensemble, serving as the advisor for RMS’s chapter of the Tri-M National Music Honor Society, and is the district’s brass lesson specialist. He is also the Assistant Director for the Hunterdon Central Regional High School Marching Red Devils.
As an active performer and conductor, John has been a member of the Eastern Wind Symphony’s trumpet section since 2016, serves as the Assistant Director and Principal Trumpet for the Raritan Valley Symphonic Band, freelances as a pit orchestra musician, and continues to attend various conducting symposia around the country. His professional organizations include the National Association for Music Education, New Jersey Music Educators Association, New Jersey Association of Jazz Education, Pi Kappa Lambda, and Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia.
ERIC LAPRADE — EWS YOUTH! ASSISTANT CONDUCTOR
A dedicated and passionate conductor, educator, and arts leader, Eric M. Laprade is Director of Bands and Assistant Professor at The College of New Jersey. Prior to his appointment at TCNJ, Laprade served as the Visiting Director of Wind Ensembles at the University of Utah. He also serves as the Music Director of South Shore Conservatory’s Summer Music Festival in Hingham, MA. Eric is excited to participate in the EWS Youth! program for the Spring 2022 season.
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Laprade has conducted many of the nations premier wind bands, including The Eastman Wind Ensemble, The United States Army Band, “Pershing’s Own”, and the University of Michigan Symphony Band. Recent conducting engagements include a performance of Igor Stravinsky’s L’Histoire du soldat with the Duxbury Music Festival Chamber Players (Duxbury, MA). As a graduate student at the Eastman School of Music, he was a Frederick Fennell Conducting Fellow, Catherine Filene Shouse Arts Leadership Fellow, and recipient of the Walter Hagen Conducting Prize. During his time in residence at Eastman, Laprade was assistant conductor of the Eastman Wind Ensemble and Eastman Harmonie, and associate conductor of the Eastman Wind Orchestra. He served as assistant conductor on international tours to Europe and Canada, and was assistant producer on multiple wind ensemble recording projects. He taught undergraduate conducting and musicology, and served as a research assistant for the Institute for Music Leadership. While at Eastman, Laprade was a guest conductor for OSSIA New Music, the Rochester Music Hall of Fame, and Sunset Concerts.
Laprade is passionate about nurturing the next generation of music educators. In 2016 he launched the South Shore Conservatory Music Educator Retreat, a summer professional development program for in-service music educators. Now in its third year, the program has engaged nationally acclaimed clinicians and attracted participants from across New England. Most recently, Laprade helped to launch the SMF Teaching Academy, a hybrid mentorship-internship program for pre-service music education students. Laprade also has been a clinician at schools throughout the United States and has served as the guest conductor of the 2017 Massachusetts Music Educators Western District Senior Concert Band, 2017 Augustana College Honor Band (Sioux Falls, SD), and 2018 Massachusetts Music Educators Central District Junior Concert Band.
Laprade has presented research on wind band history and artistic programming at the Massachusetts Music Educators Association Conference and the College Band Directors National Conference. His Doctoral Lecture Recital, “From Third Stream to New Streams,” focused on the roots of cross-over repertoire and modern artistic collaboration in Mihlaud’s La Création du monde. Laprade is a contributing author to the Eastman Case Studies series, having published cases profiling the Rhode Island Philharmonic Orchestra and Music School, Carnegie Hall, University Musical Society, the San Francisco Girls Chorus, and South Shore Conservatory.
From 2008–13, Laprade was a music educator for the Randolph, MA public schools, where he served as the K–12 Music Department Chairperson. During his tenure he was named one of “40 Under 40 Emerging Leaders” by the South Shore Stars organization and is credited with implementing new curricula, forging strong partnerships with community organizations, and greatly expanding the program. Laprade is also the founding music director of the Randolph Community Band.
Laprade holds degrees in tuba performance, conducting, and music education from the University of Michigan and the Eastman School of Music. During his undergraduate studies at Eastman, he was the recipient of the school’s prestigious Performer’s Certificate. His principal conducting teachers include Mark Davis Scatterday, Michael Haithcock, and Malcolm W. Rowell, Jr. He is a member of Pi Kappa Lambda and holds honorary memberships in Kappa Kappa Psi and Tau Beta Sigma. Laprade is a member of the College Band Directors National Association, National Band Association, National Association for Music Education, and the College Music Society.
REBECCA GENTILE — PRESIDENT, EWS EXECUTIVE BOARD
Rebecca Gentile has served as the President of the EWS Executive Board since 2009. Ms. Gentile is an Associate Director at Merck & Co. working in the Quality, Stability area. She has a BS in chemistry from The College of New Jersey and an MS in Quality Assurance and Regulatory Affairs from Temple University.
Ms. Gentile has played clarinet with the Eastern Wind Symphony since the group was established in 1996. She was a member of the TCNJ Wind Ensemble in college, and joined the Executive Board first as an Alumni Liaison in 2002.
In addition to playing with the EWS and serving on the Executive Board, Ms. Gentile is very active in the community. She served as PTO committee head for the local school Science Fair, serves on the Board of the local pool club, and is a foster home and supporter for a local dog rescue. Ms. Gentile lives in PA with her husband and two sons, who also love music and perform with the local school bands.
Todd Nichols, Artistic Director
Adam Warshafsky, Asst. Conductor, Youth Band Director
Rebecca Gentile, President
Cheryl Stallworth-Glitz, Vice President
Georgia Reed, Treasurer
Donna Cardaneo, Ad Hoc
Julia Haran, Personnel Coordinator
Laura Raab, Youth Band Coordinator
EWS Support Staff
Elizabeth Rosa, EWS Youth! Social Media Coordinator
Matthew Frohnhoefer, EWS Youth! Recruitment
John Hylkema, Librarian, EWS Youth! Assistant Conductor
Eric Laprade, Youth Band Assistant Conductor
Dara Zimmer, Designer
Justin Goldberg, Website Administrator
The Eastern Wind Symphony Executive Board and Staff receive no monetary compensation for their efforts. All time and energy is donated to support the EWS mission. 100% of your contribution and all money donated to this organization are used for outreach initiatives, concert marketing and production, and necessary operation expenses.
DR. WILLIAM H. SILVESTER (1996-2008)
William H. Silvester has a wide range of experience as a performer, conductor, clinician, adjudicator, and music educator. His background includes many years in the public schools at all levels; and, as a college symphony director, he has appeared as a guest conductor throughout the United States, Canada, and Europe. Just some of the ensembles he has conducted include the Russian Army Band, The US Army Band, The US Army Field Band, the Marine Band, The Swiss National Youth Band and numerous other professional and college ensembles. Dr. Silvester is a member of the prestigious panel of adjudicators for the World Music Festival in Schladming, Austria, where he adjudicates and clinics ensembles from throughout the world. He is also a member of the American Bandmasters Association.
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On an international concert tour Dr. Silvester conducted to standing-room-only audiences throughout England and Wales in such prestigious halls as the Royal Opera House (Trent), the Royal Ballet (York) and Bridgewater Hall (Manchester.) In another similar concert tour, he conducted in sold-out performances at the famed Konzerthaus in Vienna, Austria, concert location for the Vienna Philharmonic, and other marvelous venues throughout Austria including Haag, Linz, Bad Ischel, and Salzburg.
Dr. Silvester is a published arranger with over 35 works to his credit. His arrangements of Aaron Copland’s Old American Songs for Boosey & Hawkes have been recorded by The US Army Field Band and Soldier’s Chorus and many other professional ensembles. His most recent transcription for Boosey & Hawkes (Cotillon) is featured in their Windependence Series and has been included in the GIA series, Teaching Musicianship through Band Performance. Dr. Silvester is also featured as an author in this same series and his transcriptions appear on the University of North Texas’ album of Ralph Vaughan Williams works. Dr. Silvester’s transcriptions of Christmas Carols for Masters Music Publications, Inc., the wind and percussion arm of Kalmus, have been performed and recorded by ensembles throughout the world.
Since 1982, Dr. Silvester was a professor at The College of New Jersey, conducting the Wind Ensemble and teaching music education and conducting courses. He has recently retired from his position there, and currently resides in Florida with his wife.
GEORGE BALOG (2009-2011)
George Balog has taught on the secondary and elementary school levels for 34 years and has been teaching woodwinds at the New Jersey Governor’s School for the past twelve years where he has had a major influence on the direction of musical activities. His expertise in music and education at this level has had a major impact on music education and symphonys at TCNJ.
Mr. Balog currently the Wind Ensemble Director at The College Of New Jersey. He performed as Principal Clarinetist in The Eastern Wind Symphony since its inception and will be the newly appointed conductor of the ensemble beginning in the 2009-2010 season. He is a consumate performer with The Greater Trenton Symphony Orchestra and the Boehme Opera Company. He also performs freelance work throughout Philadelphia and New Jersey.