CO-FOUNDER / EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
Sandra Rizkallah, co-founder and executive director of Plugged In, has a degree in film and television from Emerson College. She has produced her own documentaries and has worked in the post-production department of NOVA at WGBH.
Tom Pugh, co-founder of Plugged In, attended Berklee College of Music, has been a professional musician for 40 years. He has performed with numerous bands, including Frankie Lee,the Doowopp Hall of Fame Rock and Roll All Stars, Southern Revelation, SloBurn and Lois Lane and the Daily Planets. He has played at Boston’s Symphony Hall and the Montreal Jazz Festival as well as many other prestigious venues. He has also been an audio and video engineer at WGBH in Boston for 30 years.
Dan Croft, program director at Plugged In, previously served in administrative and management roles at More than Words and the Asperger’s Association of New England. His interest in organizations that serve and inspire youth began when he was a camper and later a Counselor-in-Training at Paul Newman’s Hole In The Wall Gang Camp. He is also studying toward a degree in botany with the hopes to integrate his love of nature and plants with his experience in the non-profit sector. Dan lives in Waltham, MA, where he spends most of his free time baking and taking care of his kitty, Dodi. Dan loves his label maker and is known for saying “rock on!” all the time.
Levels: Beginner to advanced
Zachary Baskin is a Boston based bass player born and raised in New York City. He has been actively performing around the New England and Tri State areas for the last 6 years in multiple bands across several genres of music. On top of his performance experience, Zachary has also been the promoter for numerous shows around the Boston area, gathering a reputation for contributing to the local music community. Zach strongly values his connection to the music community at large and feels very passionate about helping up and coming local artists in anyway he can. Starting at Berklee College of Music in the fall of 2009 and ending in 2014 he graduated with two bachelors in music business and professional music.
Zachary’s teaching style hones in the importance and understanding that everyone learns differently. Putting yourself on the same level as the students learning style, understanding how they learn best, and then explaining the material is how you have a happy, successful learning experience. Experienced in many styles including rock, metal, funk, jazz, and classical Zach’s well roundedness has influenced the way he listens, thinks about and teaches music. Most importantly he feels that establishing and constantly practicing your fundamentals will propel your understanding and ability to new heights.
Check out some of Zak’s work with The New Review.
Instruments: Guitar (electric and acoustic)
Levels: Intermediate to advanced
Ben Cohen received his first guitar at the age of 13, and has been addicted to it ever since. He has played both guitar and bass guitar in numerous bands around the Boston area. His current band is Lattermath, a progressive metal outfit in which he plays lead and rhythm guitar. At the age of 15, After having outgrown several previous teachers Ben began studying guitar with Berklee professor and one of the fastest guitarists in the world, Joe Stump. In 2004, Ben was awarded a Berklee Entering Student Talent Scholarship and began his studies at Berklee College of Music in Boston, MA. Now 27 years-old, Ben is a graduate of Berklee, with a Bachelor’s degree in Professional Music. In 2008, he attended Mattias “IA” Eklundh’s prestigious Freak Guitar Camp in Gothenburg, Sweden, studying with Mattias, who is widely considered to be one of the most innovative guitarists in the world today.
In 2000, Ben began to teach guitar lessons, and has been teaching passionately ever since, specializing in rock/metal, while also being well-versed in a diverse array of other styles. He has been teaching at Plugged In since 2005, and enjoys passing on wisdom gained from years of playing in professional bands to younger players. Ben continues to strive to push the limits of his playing, and encourages his students to do the same on their instruments, while maintaining a relaxed, anxiety-free teaching style that is focused on the individual goals of each student, no matter what the student’s level of experience and stylistic preferences might be.
Levels: Beginner to advanced
Kilian Duarte is a professional bassist from Caracas, Venezuela based out of Boston, Massachusetts. A Berklee College of Music graduate, Kilian has performed with such acts as Scale The Summit, Felix Martin, Angel Vivaldi, Lattermath, and Gypsy Jazz Experience among many others. He frequently does GB work around the NE area and has also performed bass in theater productions of: Rent, Shrek the musical, The Full Monty, Honk Jr., Promises Promises, Lucky Stiff, and Little Shop of Horrors among others.
Instruments: Bass (electric and upright)
Levels: Beginner to advanced
Raised in Needham, Louis Fram went on to study Bass on scholarship with a major in performance at the Berklee College of Music. He works as an accompanist at Berklee and teaches ensembles and instrumental lessons for Plugged In. He is an active member of the local jazz and folk music scenes. Louis has studied with bassists such as John Lockwood, Bruce Gertz, Paul Del Nero, Dave Hollender, Jim Guttman, and others.
Louis is a member of the Lonely Hearts String Band (formerly know as Beatlegrass), and the bluegrass outfit Granny’s Hot Sauce. He has preformed with the likes of Matt Savage, Stash Wyslouch, Mariel Vandersteel, The Thinking Big-Big Band, and many others.
He plays and teaches various genres of music ranging from Jazz, to Bluegrass, Folk, Rock, and Classical music. He gigs out regularly at local venues such as Club Passim, Wally’s, Ryle’s, The Lily Pad, The Cantab and plays at festivals around the northeast like the Joe Val Bluegrass festival. Louis has also been involved in music theatre, most recently playing the part of Ray Brown (Ella Fitzgerald’s husband and bassist) in a production of the ‘Ella’ the musical at the Weston Playhouse Theatre Company in Weston, VT.
In lessons, Louis specializes in teaching Bass at all levels as well as teaching instruction in music theory. He emphasizes a strong foundation in basic instrumental technique as well as learning songs, repertoire and theory. It is important that a student follows their own interests, while receiving instruction in the fundamentals of music that apply to all genres.
Instruments: 6 or 7 string electric guitar, acoustic guitar
Levels: Beginner to advanced
Stephanie Goyer, a Berklee College of Music graduate, has been playing guitar for 17 years and teaching professionally for 7. Steph is also an accomplished song-writer and has been teaching students song-writing skills for 7 years. Steph gigs regularly in the Boston area and has toured the east coast. Although her playing is mainly focused in rock and metal, she has studied classical, jazz and funk and enjoys working with students in any style of music.
Steph likes to cater her guitar lessons to the students interests, learning style and personal goals. Beginner students working with Steph can expect to learn all of the fundamentals like reading music, pick holding, fretting, string bending, sliding, and playing with vibrato. For advanced students, she puts a great emphasis on fret board knowledge, scales, theory, exercises and soloing. Steph incorporates technology into her teaching and is happy to make custom exercises and backing tracks for students to practice with or help with transcriptions, recording or song writing. Above all, her main goal is to make the student love guitar as much as she does!
Instruments: Vocals, Keyboard
Levels: Vocals (Beginner to advanced), Keyboard (Beginner to Intermediate)
Haydee is a young Boston-based studio vocalist that is well versed in many genres and styles. Her dark and rich mezzo soprano voice blends together with her unique and expressive stage presence to create an exciting entertainment experience that can capture the attention of any audience. Haydee is a very passionate and emotional singer and has the rare ability to perform a sweet and delicate jazz gig in an afternoon and then a hard-hitting metal gig in the evening while still sounding entirely like herself. She performs regularly with her bands: Aversed and Carnivora, and has recently released her solo project ZAHRA. All projects have anticipated album releases within 2018. In 2017 she performed at the monstrous Chicago Open Air the same day as Ozzy Osbourne and Slayer to name a few. She is a teacher, composer, and performer and loves collaborations. She has taught privately and through schools since the age of 18 and her main goal is to empower her students to be confident and excited about their instruments.
Levels: Beginner to advanced
Marco Perfetti is a singer-songwriter, voice teacher and Berklee College of Music alumnus. He started his career in Italy, winning national competitions like the Tour Music Fest, and participating to the first edition of the talent show “The X-Factor”. He graduated at the University of Pisa in “Music, Cinema and Theatre” and he also has a diploma in “Modern singing” at the Lizard Academy of Florence, and one in “Performance” at the CET (Centro Europe di Tuscolano) one of the most prestigious music schools in Italy. He worked as a voice teacher in music academies and high schools for nine years now. He currently performs with his Boston based project Perfect Mark, and he released the album “Flesh & Voice”, for which he wrote, arranged and produced all the tracks. Marco’s performance highlights include the Piper Club in Rome, Umbria Jazz Festival, Canadian Music Week Festival in Toronto, The Cotton Club in New York, The Independent Music Conference in Los Angeles, Noda Summer Music Fest in Charlotte (NC), Launch Music Festival in Lancaster (PA) and the Elm City Music Fest in Hamden (CT).
The voice is one of the most interesting and fascinating instruments because of its infinite variety of sounds, and for the fact that every single voice is unique. In my classes, I help students to explore their instrument beyond the simple concept of learning a melody and repeating it, showing them how to use their voice at its full potential of expression. I like to teach the technique together with the interpretation, going through every musical style. I firmly believe that there is something to learn from every genre, and I think that the listening process is an essential step to find our own personal voice. There is a whole world hidden behind what we think “singing” is; in my class I like to guide the students through this discovery of their personal inner musical talent, in order to become a real singer and not just a mere vocalist.
Instruments: Electric Bass, Guitar
Levels: Beginner to advanced (bass), Beginner to intermediate (guitar)
Greg has been involved with the Plugged In community since graduating Berklee College of Music in 2007. He has been teaching professionally for 10 years, and is passionate about making a difference in every student’s life. Greg works with each student and parent to set and achieve personal goals. He specializes in improvisation, reading, music theory, stage performance, rhythm, time and feel. Greg teaches all styles on bass but specializes in rock, blues, funk, R&B and jazz.
Greg writes and performs full time with the nationally touring band Melodeego. Along with his band, Greg is extremely passionate and involved with the issues of social and environmental justice. Because of this he is able to help students connect music with the other areas of their life they are passionate about, allowing music to be an even better outlet of expression for them. His other strengths include patience, flexibility, creativity, and good humor.
In addition to teaching music, Greg is an experienced academic tutor for grades k-12. He has had great success working with students who are into music, but struggling in school.
Levels: Beginner to advanced
Born and raised in Boston, Massachusetts, Matt Zappa is an alum of Berklee College of Music. He is currently the drummer of the progressive metal band, “Protean Collective”, the pop/rock band, “Robot and the Wizard”, and the instrumental metal band, “The Mike Kerr Group”. In addition, he is a session musician, drum clinician and a radio DJ. His early knowledge of music came from listening to big band, hip hop, and Motown, leading to a love of all forms of percussion. He started playing drums at the age of 14, and he immersed himself immediately in the diverse and competitive New England music scene. There, he played in and filled in for bands of many different styles such as funk, rock, latin, jazz, and metal.
He continued his education by choosing Berklee College of Music, where he also gained knowledge as a composer which led him to pursue film scoring. He endorses Rich Drum Sticks, has been voted the Best Drummer in Boston by Shakefist Magazine, performed 2x at the NH Drum Festival (2013, 2014), and is a radio DJ at WEMF’s Citywide Blackout.
Instruments: Guitar, Bass, Drum Kit/Percussion, Great Highland (Scottish) Bagpipes
Levels: Guitar (beginner to intermediate), Bass (all levels), Drum kit/Percussion (beginner to intermediate), Great Highland (Scottish) bagpipes (all levels)
A multi-instrumentalist and songwriter with roots in the New Jersey/New York DIY music scenes, Jon joined the Plugged In staff two years ago. He offers private instruction in guitar (beginner to intermediate), bass guitar (all levels), drum kit/percussion (beginner to intermediate), and great highland (Scottish) bagpipes (all levels). Jon employs a holistic pedagogical approach that incorporates relevant music theory, effective practice and self-motivation techniques, and creative/songwriting exercises into a highly personalized curriculum, which recognizes, encourages, and responds to each student’s unique capacity for growth (as both a musician and a young person) while promoting an atmosphere of fun and safe creative expression.
BOARD OF DIRECTORS
Brandt Brisson – Treasurer
Brandt joined the Board of Directors of Plugged In in 2012. He met with Tom and Sandra at a United Way Board Connect event in Boston and was impressed with their passion for music and inspiring young musicians. Brandt is currently a Vice President / Systems Project Leader at Brown Brothers Harriman in Boston and has been in the financial services industry for the past 20 years. Outside of work, Brandt enjoys playing guitar for Plugged In’s band, Bored of Directors. Brandt lives in Watertown with his wife, Tina and two children.
Tony Callini – Governance Chair
Tony joined the Board of Directors of Plugged In in 2016 after admiring the great work Tom and Sandra did in the community spreading love, music and compassion. Although Tony pays his bills by posing as CFO of Monotype, the company behind pretty much every cool typeface and font used in the western world, his real passion lies in the musical universe. In his spare time, Tony’s a drummer in a local funk/rock band called Off Label and enjoys gigging in and around the Boston area. Tony lives in Wayland with his wife, Stephanie and two teenage daughters.
Michael Green – Facilities Chair
Dad of two Plugged In Alumni. Manager of Global Product Compliance group for San Diego based semiconductor company. Electrical Engineer with experience developing standards and negotiating with government regulatory bodies in U.S., Asia & Europe. Drummer and fan of alternative British Pop.
Bruce Greenfield – Clerk
Bruce recently moved to Needham from Ohio in 2015, drawn by the allure of 2 his granddaughters. Bruce is currently on the faculty of the School of Business at Northeastern U., and a consultant in Operations Management. Aspiring harmonica player. Grew up during the golden age of Motown and rock, still loving it!
Linda is a Plugged in parent and is drawn to and believes in the mission of the program. She has been in education for over 30 years. Most recently, for the past decade Linda was the Head of School of Atrium School in Watertown and is now serving as Interim Head at Tremont School in Lexington. She has over 25 years of board experience in non-profit organizations and looks forward to her daughter joining her brother at Plugged In. Linda lives in Watertown with her wife, Jill and their children, Noah and Eva.
Jen King - Inclusion Committee Co-Chair
Melissa is a Plugged In parent of a busy teen who just started her 6th and final year in the program. She is currently serving on the Board for Plugged In overseeing grants. Melissa has been an enthusiastic volunteer for many non-profit programs through her years serving in many capacities from stuffing envelopes to director.
Melissa has had a long and varied career in several different fields. She spent almost ten years in her role as a technical sales representative for Waters Corporation, several years working for a small startup as the business manager and many years working for herself as a shiatsu massage therapist and interfaith minister performing over 300 wedding ceremonies in the Philadelphia area. Seven years ago she started in the hearing healthcare field. She is currently a licensed hearing instrument specialist at Boston Hearing Services in West Roxbury helping people communicate well again.
Dan Maranci - Inclusion Committee Co-Chair
Dan joined the Plugged In board in 2010, having seen his son flourish in the amazingly positive and special environment created by Tom and Sandra. Dan has been practicing immigration law since 2000, and has represented clients pro bono in immigration law matters, and with special education appeals before the Massachusetts DOE. He is a guitarist, singer and songwriter, has played in Boston based bands, and lives in Needham.
Tony Mastromatteo – President
Tony is a Plugged In parent and member of the board of directors since 2012. He was previously Governance chair and has served as the Board President since 2015. He’s also the lead singer of Plugged In’s “Bored of Directors” band. Tony holds a BS and MS in engineering and currently works for Zift Solutions, a cloud software company based in North Carolina. He has a 4th degree black belt in Kenpo Karate and serves as lead instructor and steering committee member for the local, non-profit chapter of Kids Kicking Cancer.
John is a Research Director at Gartner, Inc., a research and advisory firm based in Stamford, Connecticut. He is also the a co-founder of The Greenhouse, a recording and mixing studio in Gilford, NH, and the host of the Young Performers Open Mic at Jasper Hill Cafe and Bistro in Holliston, MA.