About Our Teachers
Mr. Ed Kelly – Director of Bands
A music educator for 40 years, Mr. Kelly has had a wealth of experiences. He has done both undergraduate and post-graduate studies in music performance and music education at the Aaron Copland School of Music, located at Queens College in NY. He holds certifications in both NY and NJ and is also certified in Orff Schulwerk. Mr. Kelly’s main instrument is trombone, but he has also studied trumpet, classical guitar, and piano. He has served as principal trombone in the Jamaica Symphony, the Queens Philharmonic and the Hanover Wind Symphony. He has performed extensively as a freelance musician in Big Band ensembles throughout the tri-state area. While teaching at Oceanside High School in NY, Mr. Kelly served as department coordinator and Middle States committee chairman. He was commissioned to compose for and conduct choirs and orchestras for major religious seminars in NY and Washington.
Mr. Kelly was a member of the faculty of Future Musicians Inc. for 17 years and served as supervisor, arranger and curriculum writer as part of his duties on staff. He has taught in many of FMI’s schools, and served as conductor of the All State Jazz Ensemble as well as guest conductor of the All State Band program. Mr. Kelly was also instrumental in creating a jazz program at Pope John XIII High School, and created a children’s choir at Our Lady of the Lake Church, both located in Sparta, NJ. As an outgrowth of his educational experiences, he has adjudicated marching band competitions and spring music festivals throughout the tri-state area. An accomplished composer/arranger, Mr.Kelly has written well over 200 pieces of music that are in use at many schools throughout the region. Over the past 10 years, he has been granted the opportunity to be the Directing Administrator of Fundamental Music Instruction as an outgrowth of Future Musicians.
Mr. Brian Franca
Mr. Franca is a graduate of Berklee College of Music, Boston, MA. He holds a degree in professional music and an instructional certificate (music k-12) in New Jersey. He has also studied Music Education and Dalcroze Eurhythmics at New York University. Mr. Franca’s main instrument is tenor saxophone but has also studied most woodwind instruments as well as trumpet, trombone, guitar and percussion. Mr. Franca has performed club dates and weddings in the tri-state area since he was nineteen and continues to perform as a free-lance musician with many local bands.
He has studied with many well known artists such as Frank Foster, Yusef Lateef, Eddie Daniels, Andy McGhee, Jazzmobile , Barry Harris and the late Lenny Tristano. Mr. Franca was a member of the faculty of Future Musicians Inc. for 10 years and has served as chairperson of the All-State Symphonic bands as well as conductor for Symphonic and Honors bands. He looks forward with integrity and dedication to your child’s musical development as a staff member of Fundamental Music Instruction.
Mr. Brendan Stavris
Brendan Stavris has been teaching both general music and instrumental music in Catholic Schools for almost 10 years. As a student in Rutgers University’s Doctoral of Musical Arts program, he is continually improving and reflecting upon his teaching methods in order to help students reach their utmost potential. He enjoys incorporating many different styles of music into his teaching, and brings experience as a performer in a number different musical settings include classical, jazz, rock and pop. Mr. Stavris is looking forward to beginning the new school year is especially eager to be a part of another superior-level FMI Honor Band.
Mrs. Janet Bender
Mrs. Bender is a graduate of Rutgers University and Thomas Edison State College. She has studied with Vincent Penzarella (Tpt., NY Philharmonic), Roger Voisin (Tpt., Boston Symphony) and Jan Roller (Tpt., San Antonio Symphony). Mrs. Bender has taught for 14 years in several private schools. She has been responsible for building and/or maintaining a high quality program at each school that she has taught at. She also teaches privately and has had the honor of placing many students in All-Shore Band, Shore Intermediate Band, Region II Intermediate and High School Bands and New Jersey All-State Bands and Orchestra. She is presently Principal Trumpet with the Monmouth Symphony Orchestra. She can also be seen performing with the Orchestra of St. Peter’s by the Sea, with the Brass Belles, an all-female brass quintet, the Asbury Park Municipal Band and at area churches.
Mrs. Kate Clores
Kate Bachelor of Music in performance from the John J. Cali School of Music at Montclair State University . Kate has extensive experience teaching in a number of settings. She has worked in pre-schools, formed children’s choirs and has taught one-to-one lessons to students of all ages for 13 years. Her teaching plans have included classical music, musical theatre, improvisation and many more genres. In the most recent portion of her career, Kathryn owned and operated a music lesson and piano tuning business for eight years, managing 100 students with bi-annual performances. Kathryn is a New Jersey-based freelance musician, also giving clinics and lectures in schools for music students and teachers. Additionally, she is a Certified Piano Technician, having studied at the Piano Technician Academy in Mesa, AZ. Kathryn is currently enrolled in a distance program in Music Therapy through St. Mary-of-the-Woods College in Indiana to become a Board-Certified Music Therapist.
Dr. Gregg Wramage
Gregg Wramage serves as a teacher for FMI. He received his BM and MM from Manhattan School of Music and his DMA from The Graduate Center of the City University of New York, and currently serves on the music faculties of Caldwell University and Montclair State University. Mr. Wramage’s classroom goal is to provide a fun, creative, and intellectually stimulating environment for children to explore their musical interests, while they also develop important personal and social skills, experience a sense of pride in their accomplishments, and create friendships that will enrich their time both in and outside of the classroom.
Mr. Thomas Bender:
Mr. Bender received a BA Music Education from Rowan University (Summa Cum Laude) He is a performer, composer, arranger and a Member AF of M; His professional performance includes; Orchestra Amadeus (NY), Garden State Philharmonic, Orchestra of St. Peter By The Sea, Monmouth Symphony and Navesink Brass Quintet. He has also performed with Brookdale Jazz Ensemble, Jazz Lobsters, Lakewood Jazz Ensemble. In addition, Mr. Benders performs with his original quintet as well and is a free-lance musician throughout the tri-state area (including pop-rock and theater venues) Has recorded a CD of both original and standard material. Mr. Bender has over 35 years experience teaching in private and public schools
Mr. Victor Della Pello
Mr. Della Pello is a graduate of the Berklee College of Music with a Degree in Professional Music. He is an Asbury Park based Guitarist, Singer, Songwriter, and Producer. Mr. Della Pello has spent the past 30 years teaching ,performing, writing and recording through much of the Tri State area. He has performed original music, with Cover Bands and recording sessions. As a solo artist He has released 12 independent albums. He continues to teach as well as perform to all age groups. He is as passionate about teaching and sharing his knowledge of music.
Mr. Matthew Smith
Mr. Smith is a bassist, composer and educator. He earned his M.M. in Jazz Studies and and B.M. in Instrumental Performance from the University of the Arts in Philadelphia. He is an adjunct professor at Atlantic Cape College and teaches lessons in strings, piano, bass, guitar, drums, music theory and ear training to all ages and skill levels. With fifteen years of professional experience, he currently performs with and leads multiple groups that range in genre and style. He leads and composes for his original jazz trio and is an advocate for the preservation of jazz tradition and education, as well as the importance of the music’s progression and evolution.
Mr. Kyle McLaughlin
Kyle McLaughlin is a 2019 graduate of The Catholic University of America’s Benjamin T. Rome School of Music Drama and Fine Arts with a bachelor’s degree in Instrumental Music Education. At Catholic University Mr. McLaughlin also was a 4-year member of their varsity Division III lacrosse team. Originally from Northern New Jersey, he recently relocated to the Jersey Shore. While Mr. McLaughlin’s main instrument is the trumpet, he has extensive experience playing in bands performing on guitar, bass, piano, drums, and vocals. Mr. McLaughlin is also an avid songwriter, writing primarily instrumental music on the guitar and piano. With a profound love for working with children, Mr. McLaughlin spends his summers as the Lacrosse Specialist at Pine Grove Day Camp in Wall, NJ. While in college Mr. McLaughlin studied trumpet under Dr. Davy DeArmond, the Unit Leader of both the Naval Academy’s Brass Quintet and its Brass Ensemble; through Dr. DeArmond, he was given the honor to meet and learn from contemporary composer Kevin McKee.