Director of Instrumental Music: Charlotte D'Aleo

Department Chair & Music Instructor: Jim Lesieur

Choral Director/Guitar/Piano: Dylan Pedersen

Adjunct Faculty:

Marching Percussion –  Andrew Thomson

Concert/World Percussion – Jianpeng Feng (Hartt)

Double Bass - Kevin Huhn (Hartt)

Marching - Tom Petrahai

Vocal Music - Sal Cicciarella

Flute – Allison Hughes (Hartt)

Oboe - Charles Huang (Hartt)

Clarinet - Dean Coutsouridis

Saxophone - Perry Roth (Hartt)

Trumpet –  Brandon Dicks

F Horn - Julia Cavagnaro

Trombone - Matt Russo (Uconn)

Tuba/Euph – Dave Winer

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The High School Music Department is dedicated to providing a vibrant learning environment that fosters intellectual achievement, civic responsibility, and personal growth. Students engage in music through the three artistic processes (Creating, Performing, Responding) to develop cognitive and motor skills, promote knowledge of culturally and historically significant literature, and encourage meaningful participation in society. 

Students learn about human emotions in response to, and in the creation of, diverse combinations of musical sounds. They are also involved in significant development of cognitive (knowledge) and psycho-motor (kinesthetic) skills which, when combined with aesthetic education, allows for keener insights as to how these domains interrelate. Students study significant works of music in order to appreciate the richness and beauty of life.

Special Programs:

  • The Yale School of Music performs 5 live performances in-school each year in order to expose students to world-class music and enrich the lives of our school communities. 
  • The Hartt School of Music (University of Hartford), UConn, professional musicians, and retired teachers partner with Northwestern to provide bi-weekly master classes/chamber ensemble coaches for all instrumental students grades 7-12. See Adjunct Faculty above. 
  • All Northwestern faculty and families are provided with three free tickets to the Norfolk Chamber Music Festival each summer (
  • Each year, ensembles bring in local, regional, and nationally renowned guest conductors to work with each ensemble on campus. This provides students with a variety of perspectives on music as well as giving our teachers vital professional development.  
  • The Music Parents Association helps provide funding for guest composers and the commission of new works for our ensembles. Since 2000, Northwestern has premiered 9 new works by composers including Grammy Award Winner Paul Halley, Robert Sheldon, Brian Balmages, Scott Watson, Andrew Thomson, and more. 

Enrollment & Awards:

Nearly 180 students (25% of the student body) participate in our performing ensembles and our guitar and keyboard classes are filled to capacity each year.  

More than 50 students annually earn inclusion in All-County, Regional, State, New England, All-Eastern, and National festival ensembles. 9 students (5 vocal, 4 band) students were selected for the 2020 All-State Music Festival. In the past 20 years 11 studens have earned NAfME All-Eastern Honors and 8 different students have earned  placement in All-National Honor Ensembles (5 NAfME, 2 Bands of America, 3 FFA).   

Northwestern's students and faculty have earned a number of prestigious awards in recent years.  For the fifth time since 1996, the 2015 Wind Symphony was named a CT Honor Ensemble and performed at the CT Music Educators State Convention, receiving a standing ovation at the end of the performance.  



Francis “Frank” Shea began teaching at Northwestern in the fall of 1961 after graduating from the University of Connecticut. Frank spent his entire teaching career at Northwestern where he was the Head of the Music Department and directed the Middle School, High School, and Jazz Bands. Frank served on many committees for or chaired Regional and All-State Festivals. The jazz bands under his direction played with legends like Buddy Rich and were an important element of the school community.  It is not a stretch to say that he worked with 150 students each day for more than 30 years. The extraordinary foundation for Northwestern’s excellence in instrumental music more than 3 decades past his retirement is a testament to his exemplary teaching. 


Greg Crameri served as Northwestern’s next band director from 1991 through 1997 and grew the band program’s enrollment and continued the tradition of excellence. The ensembles won numerous awards at National Festivals of Music and individual students were routinely participants in Region and All-State Honor Ensembles. In 1996, the band performed at the CT Music Educators Convention under the direction of “Mr. C”. He was beloved by his students and upon his departure, the senior class dedicated the yearbook to him. 


Stephen Zimmerman took the high school reigns of the program alongside Jim Lesieur (middle school) in August of 1998 and the program for the first time had two directors. As the enrollment of the school grew, so did the band program peaking at 140 students in the two high school bands. These two directors worked as a team for 22 years co-directing ensembles that led to 4 honor-ensemble performances at the CMEA Convention, 8 All-National students, 11 NAfME All-Eastern honor students, and nearly 100 All-State Band/Orchestra musicians. Events like the Thanksgiving Feast, Lock-In, and Gilbert Double-Header Pep Band, as well as trips to Florida, NOLA, Montreal, and more helped forge deep relationships between students and with the faculty. Mr. Zimmerman was named 2014 CMEA Teacher of the Year and a Yale Distinguished Music Educator in 2015. In 2015 and 2019 Mr. Zimmerman was asked to be the Northwestern Commencement Speaker and the 2015 yearbook was dedicated to him.



Introduction to Guitar

Guitar Lab

Piano Lab/Songwriting

Music Theory I

Music Theory II

UConn Fundamentals of Music I & II

AP Music Theory



Honors Choir

Select Singers

Concert Band

Advanced Concert Band

Honors Wind Symphony

Senior Band/Recital

Jazz Band