Jason DeGroff - Director
Jason L. DeGroff became the Director of the Chargers Marching Band in the Spring of 2010, right after the marching band's first fall season. DeGroff holds a Masters and Bachelors Degree in Music Education (trumpet/conducting) from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, Ma. While there, he was a five-year member of the Minuteman Marching Band, and later was the Graduate T.A. for George N. Parks and the Marching Band. DeGroff has worked at all levels in instrumental music; as an elementary and middle school band director, an assistant high school band director, and a college marching band director. He revived the marching band at Central CT State University where he served as director for five years. DeGroff is currently the drill designer for the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, winners of the Sudler Trophy, an award given to the best college marching band in the country.
He is currently on the visual staff with the Cadets Drum and Bugle Corps where he was also a member for three years (1989-1991) of the 10-time World Champions. DeGroff was also a member of the Connecticut Hurricanes Drum and Bugle Corps for five years. Upon "aging out" he served as the visual caption head and wrote drill for the Boston Crusaders and the Crossmen Drum and Bugle Corps. DeGroff also has been the Show Coordinator for the Connecticut Hurricanes Drum and Bugle Corps.
Contact Jason via email at JDeGroff@newhaven.edu.
Alexander Casimiro - Associate Director
Dr. Alexander Casimiro is the Associate Director of Bands at the University of New Haven. He holds a Doctor of Musical Arts degree in Music Performance from the University of Texas at Austin, a Master's degree in Music Performance from the University of Nebraska at Omaha, and a Bachelor of Arts in Music degree from the University of Massachusetts Amherst. He has performed with the Austin Symphony, the Omaha Symphony, and the Round Rock Symphony. He also served as the Assistant Director of Athletic Bands at Duke University and was the percussion teacher at Creighton University.
At UMass, Alex performed in the Minuteman Marching Band under the direction of George Parks, Thom Hannum, and Colin McNutt. He served as the section leader of the UMass drumline from the spring of his freshman year through senior year. He has also been a member of numerous competitive marching ensembles including the Cadets, the Madison Scouts, the Spartans, the Targets, the Silver Knights, and the Boston University Winter Percussion Ensemble.
He has taught a variety of marching ensembles including the Jersey Surf Drum and Bugle Corps, Omaha Central High School, the University of Massachusetts Amherst, the University of Nebraska at Omaha, the University of Texas at Austin, and Duke University. He is the writer and instructor for the Trash Tones percussion group at Six Flags New England, while also having been an original member of the group. He has taught numerous clinics and performed throughout the United States and in Portugal.
Alex has had the honor of performing at special events such as the Percussive Arts Society International Convention, Barack Obama's Inaugural Parade, George W. Bush's Inaugural Parade, the New England Patriots Super Bowl Ring Ceremony, Craig Mello's Nobel Prize Banquet, a concert with the band KANSAS and the Heartland Philharmonic Orchestra, the Menuhin Violin Competition, and The Rite of Spring with the Joffrey Ballet. In April of 2015, Alex performed the world premier of the Drum Set Suite by composer Stuart Saunders Smith, consisting of the pieces Blue Too, Two Lights, and Brush. In Smith's introduction to the event, he described the collection as "by far the most difficult drum set solos that I know of that have been written."
Alex has studied with Dr. Thomas Burritt, Dr. Tomm Roland, Ayano Kataoka, Thomas P. Hannum, Tony Edwards, Ken Yoshida, Dana Murray, and Wayne Salzmann II. In drum corps, Alex marched under the direction of Colin Mcnutt, Tom Aungst, Lee Beddis, Chris Dufault, and others. He is a member of the Marching Percussion Committee of the Percussive Arts Society. Alex endorses Pearl Drums, Zildjian Cymbals, Vic Firth Sticks and Mallets, and Remo Drumheads.
Kara Fekete - Color Guard Caption Head
Kara started her marching career as a freshman in the Trumbull High School Golden Eagle Marching Band in 2005. During her time there, the band earned two state championship titles (2006, 2007) and three consecutive undefeated color guard caption awards (2007, 2008, 2009). In her senior year, she and the band represented the state of Connecticut in President Obama's 2008 Inaugural Parade. During high school, she also ventured into the DCA circuit her junior year as a member of the Connecticut Hurricanes Drum and Bugle Corps. She marched as a color guard performer in 2008, 2009, and 2011. In the winter season, Kara performed with the Trumbull High School Scholastic Open Winterguard in the 2006 season placing as a WGI Scholastic Open Bronze Medalist. In 2007, Trumbull High was promoted to the Winterguard International Scholastic World class where they placed as finalists in 2007 and 2009. After high school, Kara marched with Alter Ego Independent World Guard and performed as a WGI finalist in 2011, 2012, and 2016. Right after high school, she graciously accept a position as a flag technician at Shelton High School from 2009-2016 and was show designer for the 2015 and 2016 winter seasons. When Kara isn't coordinating color guard shows, she is a Board Certified Senior Pharmacy Technician at Walgreens.
Conor Mulford - Front Ensemble Arranger/Instructor
Conor has marched for 5 years of drum corps and has 2 years of WGI experience as well. For the 2011 and 2012 seasons, Conor played marimba for the Connecticut Hurricanes Drum and Bugle Corps. In 2013, he moved on to Cadets2, a Drum Corps Associates member, before hitting the road with the Cadets Drum Corps in 2014 and 2015. He has also marched the inaugural year with Cadets Winter Percussion in 2013 earning a World Championship in Open Class and returned again for the 2015 season. Conor taught Westhill High School from 2013-2016 and was the front ensemble instructor during the 2015 season with University of New Haven Marching Band. Conor is currently acquiring his Undergraduate Degree in Percussion Performance from Western Connecticut State University where he studies privately with Doug Perry and David Smith. He has also studied latin percussion with Damon Grant.
Solange Ramkissoon - Teaching Assistant/Drill And Music Tech
Solange Ramkissoon is returning to the UNHMB for her second year as one of the Graduate Assistants & Music Techs during the upcoming 2016 season. She has been involved in Marching Band since Bloomfield High School (NJ) where she played in the front ensemble, trumpet line, and eventually became Drum Major. She was also a member of the Charger's Marching Band since she began her college career at the University of New Haven where she was Drum Major for her last two years 2013 and 2014.
She received her Bachelor's Degree in Criminal Justice from the University of New Haven in May 2015 where she also attained a minor in Arabic Language Studies. She is currently a Masters Student at University of New Haven studying Criminal Justice with a concentration in Forensic Psychology as well as pursuing a Victim Advocacy and Service Management Certificate that will give her a diverse background of studying criminal justice. During campus hours, she is also a graduate student worker for the Criminal Justice Department that works alongside multiple Assistant Professors that she assists with their weekly classes, upcoming research projects, and other administrative tasks.