Tracy (Theresa)DeRagon is a music educator with over 30 years of NYS Public School teaching experience. During those 30 years, she has taught woodwinds, music theory, International Baccalaureate Music, Music Fundamentals and has conducted Symphonic Band, Wind Ensemble, Jazz Ensemble, as well as numerous elementary and middle school level ensembles. She has hosted over a dozen student teachers from colleges and universities throughout NYS. Tracy has an active private music studio, teaching Saxophone, Flute and Clarinet, with students achieving Area All State and All State levels. She retired from Ballston Spa CSD in 2019, where she finished her career as Music Department chair. Under her direction, the BSCSD Music Department was named a “”Best Community For Music Education.””
An active performer throughout her teaching career, Tracy founded and conducts the Ballston Spa Community Band and Jazz Band. She currently plays lead Tenor Sax in the Swing Docs Big Band and is a regular performer with the Capital Region Wind Ensemble on saxophone and clarinet. Tracy has performed as the woodwind player in the pit orchestra for numerous shows and continues to play in community and school productions throughout upstate NY.
Tracy is a firm believer that music education is for everyone, and our lives are enriched when we create music with others.
Bachelor of Music Education: Ithaca College, Saxophone major studied with Dr. Steven Mauk
Master of Music Saxophone Performance: Arizona State University, studied with Dr. Joseph Wytko
Zoë Marr Hilliard is a dancer, teacher, choreographer, visual artist, mother of three, and born-and-raised Vermonter. She earned her bachelor’s degree from Smith College in dance (technique and performance concentration) and studio art (sculpture concentration) and has been working in the arts ever since. Zoë has been teaching dance, choreographing, and performing professionally in Vermont since 2009. She has taught dance to students of all ages (2-70+) and abilities with varying backgrounds, from new and “non-” dancers to experienced and advanced. In addition to performing her own choreography at various venues around the state, Zoë has also danced professionally for Ballet Vermont, the Vermont Opera Project, Cradle to Grave Arts, and Vital Spark North. Zoë has taught dance at Vermont Center for Dance Education since 2011, is the dance teacher at Green Mountain Community School, and is the Vice President plus a teacher, choreographer, and dancer for the Marble Valley Dance Collective. She has also choreographed for Vermont Actors’ Repertory Theater, Marble Valley Players, and Castleton University Theater Arts Department. Zoë is so excited to share her passion for dance with the VTSU community!
Lisa Hoyt is a music educator with over 20 years of teaching experience in Vermont public schools, primarily K-6 general music and band. She also taught applied bassoon and coached woodwind ensembles at SUNY Adirondack, formerly Adirondack Community College. Lisa currently performs as principal bassoon with the Champlain Philharmonic Orchestra and the Callamellus Reed Trio.
Bachelor of Music Education: Crane School of Music, SUNY Potsdam, studied bassoon with Dr. Frank Wangler
Masters of Music, Bassoon Performance: West Virginia University, studied with Dr. Terry Ewell
Beth Thompson has sung everything from opera, oratorio, and art song to Broadway, jazz and contemporary folk music.
Ms. Thompson holds degrees in vocal performance from Oberlin Conservatory of Music (B. Mus.) and Indiana University School of Music (M. Mus.). She has performed throughout the northeastern U.S. and Austria, and has taught voice for over 40 years, at the University of Vermont, Middlebury College, and Vermont State University.
Darryl Kniffen is a drummer/educator/composer from upstate NY who leads the six piece jazz fusion ensemble Planet Kniffen. Their album Dreamland debuted at #5 on the Billboard Contemporary Jazz Album chart and #13 on the Billboard Jazz Album chart in May 2018. Jazziz Magazine writes “With one notable exception – a jazz interpretation of AC/DC’s ‘Back in Black’ – all compositions were penned by the drummer, who displays a range of inspirations and emotions across an evocative nine-song set. The cohesion of the musicians is apparent, and they seem locked in with one another musically and conceptually.” Planet Kniffen has performed at numerous clubs and festivals including Rockwood Music Hall NYC, Hotel Utah SF, Easthampton Jazz Festival MA and Vermont Jazz Center. Along with leading and composing for Planet Kniffen, Darryl remains a busy freelance musician. He has performed with such artists as Broadway’s Maxine Linehan, Saturday Night Live saxophonist Alex Foster, Chilean vocalist Natalia Bernal, Vermont Jazz Center director/pianist Eugene Uman, and has recorded for singer-songwriter Mondo Cozmo. Along with performing and composing, Darryl teaches music courses in the Arlington School District in Arlington, VT. In 2016, he was named Outstanding Teacher of the Year by the University of Vermont for his work in the Arlington School District. Darryl received his Masters and Bachelors degrees from Crane School of Music SUNY Potsdam and resides in Bennington VT.
Isaac Littlejohn Eddy lives in Johnson, VT with his wife, writer, and Chinese environmental policy expert, Lucia Green-Weiskel Ph.D., and their three kids. He received his BA in film studies at Wesleyan University in Connecticut and his MFA in Performance and Interactive Media Art from the City University of New York, Brooklyn College. For the past twelve years Isaac has performed with Blue Man Group in New York City, Chicago, London, and Las Vegas. With the production he has helped cast and train Blue Men, captain casts, write material, and perform nightly in the show. Isaac is also a founding member of the immersive theater group, Fixed Agency, which had a residency at the BLDG92 museum in the Brooklyn Navy Yard in 2014 and presented their work entitled “Private(i)” at the Brooklyn BEAT festival that year.
Isaac is an Associate Professor of Theater and Drama at Vermont State University Johnson. On the campus’ main stage Isaac has directed Eurydice by Sarah Ruhl, Much Ado About Nothing by William Shakespeare, a devised immersive piece adapted from Sophocles’ Antigone, and Mr. Burns: A Post-Electric Play by Anne Washburn and many others. Isaac has led workshops and lectured on improv, acting, and devised experimental theater at the Association for Theatre in Higher Education, TEDx Battenkill, NYU TISCH, the University of Michigan, and the Governor’s Institute on the Arts of Vermont.
Isaac is also a writer and a cartoonist and has been published in the New Yorker and in the weekly newspaper, The Herald of Randolph, Vermont. He makes animated documentary shorts for Time Magazine and has a non-fiction multi-panel series about the people that live and work in his neighborhood published in the New York Times’ Brooklyn blog, “The Local.” Isaac also created and animated the online series, “Cat, Dog, Stoop.”
Tim Saeed is an associate professor in the Department of Music and Performing Arts. He holds degrees in the areas of music theory and piano performance.
At VTSU, Tim instructs undergraduate music theory and musicianship courses, music history, and class piano. As a music theorist, his research interests include theories of expressive performance and analysis, with a focus on theories of accent and rhythm as a basis for performance. As a piano pedagogue, his instruction concentrates on healthy techniques to achieve natural ability. In more recent years, Tim has developed an interest in interdisciplinary analyses: music and literature, music and film, and music and visual arts. In addition to his academic interests and research, Tim is a performing pianist dedicated to the music of J. S. Bach, Mozart, Chopin, Liszt, and Brahms.
Tim encourages all his students to explore traditions, knowledge, and experiences brought forth by various composers and performers. He approaches the study of music history as a means to develop a deeper understanding of all music, past and present. Tim also believes that knowledge of music fundamentals is one of the stages of every musician’s journey toward the development of their own voice in music. His belief is to help students see and experience music as an ongoing live performance-structured, organized, and yet free and expanding.
Joshua Thompson is the Coordinator of Instrumental Studies and Arts Recruitment at Vermont State University Castleton. With that, he is the conductor of the Castleton Wind Symphony, the pit orchestra for musical productions, and teaches several courses in performance and pedagogy. He has additionally been on faculty at Hartwick College and the University of Vermont. He is also the current music director of the Saratoga Youth Symphony in Saratoga Springs, New York. Joshua holds degrees in music education and French horn performance from SUNY Schenectady County Community College, the College of Saint Rose, and the Hartt School.
Joshua has performed with several ensembles and organizations across the Northeastern United States, they have included: Albany Pro Musica, Battenkill Chorale, Berkshire Symphony Orchestra, Burlington Chamber Orchestra, Geneva Light Opera, Hartford Independent Chamber Orchestra, Hubbard Hall Opera Theater, Park Playhouse (Albany, NY), and the Schenectady Symphony Orchestra. He is the 2011 winner of the solo competition at the Northeast Horn Workshop, recorded for Naxos and Johnny Vic records, and guest conducted at festivals across New York and New England.
As an advocate for the arts in our communities, he is the founder and director of Gloversville Community Music. There he maintains a private studio and conducts the Gloversville Wind Symphony, a wind ensemble comprised of musicians from New York and New England. Through GCM, he is the artistic director of the “Chamber Music at the Chamber” concert series, a 2017 and 2018 Saratoga Arts grant awardee.
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Hannah Hammond is originally from Cornish, New Hampshire. An actor, teacher, and director. Hannah completed her MFA in Theatre Performance Pedagogy at Virginia Commonwealth University. She received her Masters in performance in Musical Theatre from The Royal Conservatoire of Scotland in Glasgow, Scotland. While in the UK Hannah worked with some of the key producers and practitioners currently working in theatre – including Sir Cameron Mackintosh, 2012 Tony winner Martin Lowe, Tony nominee, Grant Olding. Here in the US she has toured as a vocalist with Cirque Dreams and performed at regional theaters nationwide. Most recently, she played Queen Victoria in Emmy award winner Mark Saltzman’s new play Alice Formerly of Wonderland at the Wyoming Theatre Festival. Hannah has been on the Theatre faculty at Berry College in Mount Berry GA and Elmira College, in Elmira NY.
Tim has worked in the entertainment industry for the past two decades as a sound engineer, production manager, and technical director. He brings this experience, as well as a passion for arts programming and relationships with other area arts presenters to the Vermont State University theaters in Johnson and Lyndon which provide an exciting and robust calendar of events for our campuses.
A native of Grafton, MA, Brian Warwick brings with him a passion for teaching practical and applicable skills to future entertainment industry professionals. Brian has over 20 years of professional experience that he has brought to the classroom with skill, humor, and enthusiasm, presenting techniques that make his students’ music and post-production projects competitive at an international level.
Brian found success as an independent recording engineer, working with distinguished artists such as Ludacris, Idina Menzel, Stevie Nicks, Deftones, Michael Bolton, Andrea Bocelli, and Slayer. In 2015, Brian received a GRAMMY award for engineering “Weird Al” Yankovic’s “Mandatory Fun,” which won Best Comedy Album. “Mandatory Fun” was the first comedy album to reach number one in 50 years, and Yankovic’s first number-one album in a career spanning 30 years. “Mandatory Fun” was Brian’s second number one on Billboard’s 200 Chart. The first was Michael Bublé’s Christmas album in 2011. Since his first album credit in 2003, Brian has worked on eight GRAMMY-winning albums, nine GRAMMY-nominated albums, 15 RIAA-certified platinum and gold records, as well as an Emmy, nominated score, and main title theme. In 2009, Brian also won the Best Sound Design and Editing Maverick Movie Award for his work on the action-spy-thriller spoof Scream of the Bikini. Between recording sessions, Brian helped develop the Music Production major at Los Angeles Recording School, where he found a passion for teaching his craft. Brian is also an associate professor at Berklee College of Music.