Greater Bridgeport Youth Orchestras


Chris Hisey

Christopher Hisey

Music Director/Principal Orchestra Conductor

Christopher Hisey is one of Connecticut’s leading young conductors. Formerly a GBYO member, String Coach and Symphony Orchestra Conductor, Mr. Hisey is in his ninth season as GBYO’s Music Director and Principal Orchestra Conductor. He has conducted throughout the United States, Europe and in Mexico. He made his international debut with the Philharmonic Orchestra in Ruse, Bulgaria. He has also made appearances with the Pleven Philharmonic in Bulgaria and the St. Petersburg “Klassika” Symphony, formerly the Leningrad State Philharmonic. Mr. Hisey stepped in for Gustav Meier, on very short   notice, to conduct the Greater Bridgeport Symphony. Since then, Mr. Hisey has conducted several performances with the Greater Bridgeport Symphony, including a Holiday Pops concert and a Side by Side performance with GBYO.

Mr. Hisey also serves as the Music Director/Conductor of the American Chamber Orchestra, an ensemble he co-founded in 2003, as well as Music Director of the Civic Orchestra of New Haven. Mr. Hisey has been the Music Director/Conductor of the Connecticut Valley Chamber Orchestra and Troupers Light Opera. He is a respected and sought after music educator who serves as the Director of Orchestras at Greens Farms Academy, and he has served on the Conducting and String faculties of Manhattanville College, Fairfield University and the Westport School of Music. A graduate of the Eastman School of Music, Christopher received a bachelor’s degree in viola performance, studying with James Dunham, violist of the Cleveland Quartet. He went on to receive a Master of Music from Bowling Green State University where he served as Associate Conductor of the Bowling Green Philharmonia and Opera Theatre Orchestra, studying with Dr. Emily Freeman Brown.

Carrie Mascaro

Carrie Mascaro

Symphony Orchestra Conductor

After conducting GBYO String Orchestra for eight seasons, Carrie Mascaro is now in her fifth year as Conductor of the Symphony Orchestra. Throughout her tenure in Westport Schools, Ms. Mascaro has held a variety of positions at the high school and middle school levels and has been Coordinator and Supervisor of the K-12 music program. Currently, Ms. Mascaro is the freshman orchestra director and conductor of the All-City Orchestra and she teaches lessons at Staples High School. A graduate of Ithaca College, Ms. Mascaro received a Bachelor’s Degree in Music Education and Performance and a Master’s Degree in Viola Performance. Since coming to Connecticut, Ms. Mascaro received a 6th Year Diploma in Educational Leadership. Ms. Mascaro has performed with the Norwalk and Ridgefield Symphony Orchestras. She is a founding member of the Fairfield String Quartet, and is currently President of Fairfield County String Teachers Association.

Erica Messina

Erica Messina

Concert Orchestra Conductor

Erica Messina earned her Bachelor’s Degree from the Brooklyn College Conservatory of Music, and a Master’s Degree in Music Education from the Aaron Copland School of Music at Queens College/CUNY.

Mrs. Messina began playing violin in elementary school, but in college discovered a new passion for viola. She had the opportunity to study viola with Patinka Kopec, Naoko Tanaka, and Katherine Greene. Mrs. Messina taught music in the New York City Public School system, and played violin and viola in various musical groups around the city. For three years she served as principal viola for the Brooklyn Camerata Chamber Orchestra, which performed in various venues around New York, such as Bargemusic and the Brooklyn Museum.

Mrs. Messina moved to Connecticut in 1997, and she has been a member of the Westport Public Schools music faculty since 1998.  She has taught on the elementary, middle, and high school levels, and is currently the orchestra director at Saugatuck Elementary School in Westport, where she regularly has between 120 and 140 fourth and fifth graders in her orchestra program each year. From 2007-2009, Mrs. Messina served as conductor of the Prelude Orchestra for the Norwalk Youth Symphony. Currently, Mrs. Messina is in her 7th season with the Greater Bridgeport Youth Orchestras, where she conducts the Concert Orchestra. She traveled with GBYO to Italy this past summer, Germany and Austria in 2012, and to China in 2014 where she served as assistant conductor. In addition to all her teaching responsibilities, she plays viola with the American Chamber Orchestra and the Civic Orchestra of New Haven.

Aaron Lofaro

Aaron Lofaro

String Orchestra Conductor

Aaron Lofaro started playing the violin in the public school system in Briarcliff Manor, NY and has been teaching orchestra and violin for over 15 years at the elementary, middle and high school levels. Mr. Lofaro is the orchestra director at Central Middle School in Greenwich, CT and teaches violin lessons at the Suzuki Music School of Westport. He holds a Bachelor of Music from Roberts Wesleyan College and a Masters in Music Education from Western Connecticut State University. Mr. Lofaro currently freelances as a violinist in southwestern Connecticut and performs with the American Chamber Orchestra.


Brian Miller

Wind Ensemble Conductor

Brian Miller is the Wind Ensemble Conductor for the Greater Bridgeport Youth Orchestras and also teaches at King School in Stamford, Connecticut. After earning his Master’s degree in Trumpet Performance from the University of Michigan, Brian spent 8 years teaching and performing in Atlanta, where he was one of the most sought after trumpet and brass instructors in the area. Outside of his duties at King, Brian is on the marching band staff at Arlington High School, and was the 2013 Honor Band of America Trumpet Judge and Band Manager. He has previously worked for: Kennesaw State University, Grand Valley State University, Goshen College, the Interlochen Arts Academy Michigan All State Program, the Debut Orchestra of Los Angeles Summer Program, the Royal Oman Symphony Orchestra, and the Metropolitan Youth Symphony Orchestra of Atlanta. Locally, Brian has performed with the East Connecticut Symphony Orchestra, Ridgefield Symphony, and Waterbury Symphony.


Dr. Rex Cadwallader

Jazz Band Director

Currently Chairman of the Performing Arts Department at Greens Farms Academy in Westport, Connecticut, Dr. Cadwallader has served as Assistant Director of Jazz Studies at the University of Texas in Arlington and Associate Director of Jazz Studies at the University of Northern Colorado. He has taught at the Royal Academy of Music in London, England, Marlborough College in Marlborough, England, Southern Connecticut State University, and the Neighborhood Music School in New Haven, where he continues to teach jazz piano and lead the NMS Big Band and Vocal Jazz Ensemble. He received his Doctor of Arts Degree in Composition and Music Theory from the University of Northern Colorado in Greeley, and his Bachelor of Music Education and Master of Music in Composition degrees from the University of Nebraska in Lincoln.

Dr. Cadwallader has played with such jazz luminaries as Rufus Reid, Bob Mintzer, Eddie Daniels, Ed Shaunessey, Bill Watrous, Don Menza, Clark Terry, Ali Ryerson, Joe Beck, Giacomo Gates, and many others. Rex appears as performer or composer on over twenty-five albums including his most recent cds,”Quicker Than The Eye,” with bassist Mike Asetta and drummer Artie Dixson, “Broadway – West Side Story,” with flutist Ali Ryerson, bassist Mike Asetta and drummer Artie Dixson, and “The Art Of Trio,” with bassist David Chevan. The cd, “Repartee,” also with David Chevan was released in January 2000. A cd of original contemporary jazz with drummer Rich MacDonald entitled “The Cadwallader/MacDonald Project – YOUR SMILE” was released in 1998 on Jaybird Records. Two other recordings, “Christmas In The Neighborhood” with bassist Mike Asetta, and “In A Mellow Tone,” a tribute to the music of Duke Ellington with bassist David Chevan and drummer Jesse Hameen II, were released in 2002 and 2003 respectively.