FACULTY AND STAFF
Tom Ulichny, Founder & Director
In 2005, Tom Ulichny graduated Magna Cum Laude from Berklee College of Music in Boston, Massachusetts. As a multi-instrumentalist at Berklee, Tom studied guitar, drums, and world percussion, followed by a semester in Pune, India, studying Indian rhythmic systems and tabla, a traditional Indian hand drum. After graduating, Tom worked as an adjunct professor for the St. John School of the Arts in the U.S. Virgin Islands and was the Director of Music Education for Fell's Point Music in Baltimore, MD, where he developed curriculum for an African drumming program at Living Classrooms Charter School. In the fifteen years that Tom that has been teaching private lessons and music seminars, he has worked with students of all ages and skill levels.
Tom now makes his home in midcoast Maine, and is in full pursuit of a lifelong dream through the founding of the Midcoast Music Academy in Rockland. When he's not playing some obscure kind of frame drum, you can find Tom searching for the perfect trout stream with his three dogs and his wife, Anne.
Jen FEldman, executive director
Jen Feldman is a well-rounded and versatile educator and musician who has lived in Midcoast Maine for twenty years. She holds a BA in Theatre from Middlebury College and a Master’s in Education from Lesley University. After finishing her degrees, she taught in public and private middle schools in North Carolina and Maine and served for several years as a social worker for children and families in Knox and Waldo counties. After the birth of her sons, she was introduced to and inspired by Peopleplace Cooperative Preschool, where she taught for ten years and, in the past year and a half, helped to develop a fledgling outdoor education program.
Her musical experience began with a love affair with the eclectic mix of Mozart, The Kingsmen, Joan Baez, Dave Brubek, Kiri Te Kanawa and Sam Cook that was in constant rotation in her childhood home in Belgium. She started playing the flute as a child and added first alto and then tenor sax in young adulthood. Jen also studied voice in high school and college. Today, she is an accomplished musician and performs with several local bands in Midcoast Maine.
Jen came to MCMA first as a parent and quickly realized the singular excellence of the Academy and its community of faculty and families. She joined the board of directors in 2017 and has served as its president for over two years.
When she is not at MCMA or band practice, she loves everything about spending time outdoors in Maine and making music with her husband and two sons.
robin lane, Operations Manager
Robin's musical journey started in elementary school with church, school choirs, and the cello. Graduating from Farmington High School in Connecticut, he then moved on to The University of Massachusetts Amherst, studying music theory and taking African drumming classes in addition to his major in social thought and political economy. Realizing his passion for music, Robin withdrew from UMass to pursue a private music education, beginning his studies with lessons in piano and music theory & composition with a private teacher from Holyoke, MA. Robin then relocated to Rockland, Maine, and started studying drums and voice at Midcoast Music Academy. He is currently studying cello with April Reed-Cox at Woodsound Studios.
Since joining MCMA as a student four years ago, Robin has become increasingly involved with the MCMA community -- first as a volunteer, then as a teaching assistant for our after school programs and summer camps, and now as the Operations Manager for the school. Robin handles all scheduling inquiries and offers day-to-day support for the MCMA team. Robin's natural warmth, passion for music, and ability to connect with students of all ages is a perfect fit for Midcoast Music Academy.
sarah watson, booking representative
Sarah grew up taking music lessons and has always enjoyed being involved in projects centered around music. She tried many different instruments as a child and young adult, never quite feeling like she found the right one but always hoping to pursue drums some day. Now, she takes drum lessons at Midcoast Music Academy, and she’s certain she’s found her instrument.
Along with her excitement of finally being able to pursue her passion for drums, Sarah is does all event booking for Midcoast Music Academy. She works closely with clients to curate the perfect ensemble and music selection for local events, such as weddings, receptions, cocktail hours, community events and more. When she’s not sipping coffee and emailing clients, Sarah manages a local bookstore. She can often be found running trails along the beautiful coast, or listening to Journey classics far too loud in her car.
Abigail Nash, faculty & communications coordinator
Violin, Viola, Voice, Piano
Abigail Nash began her musical endeavors on the piano when she was five years old. She graduated Summa Cum Laude as a classical violinist and violist with a degree in music education from the University of Maine in May 2012. While studying at the University of Maine, Abigail worked under the tutelage of violin/viola professor Dr. Anatole Wieck, who holds a doctorate from Juilliard. During her time at the university, she was a member of the orchestra as well as the principle violist for all four years. During her last year of college she interned in the Bangor school system and instructed string players of all levels. In addition to Abigail’s studies and work on violin and viola, she also is an accomplished pianist. She was assistant accompanist for one of the chorales at the University of Maine and is currently a piano accompanist for a Catholic School. Abigail has been teaching private lessons for six years and currently teaches piano, violin, viola, and beginning cello and voice. In that time she has had the opportunity to work with students of all ages and with vast ranges of musical abilities. Abigail loves teaching her students and sharing her joy and passion for music with them. She has performed in numerous venues and with many groups around the state, including performing with members of the Bangor Symphony Orchestra, playing for the Bagaduce Chorale, the Penobscot Theater, and others. In her spare time she enjoys making music with other musicians and riding her beautiful horse, Indy.
Zachary bence, faculty
guitar, bass, & composition
As a young man, and like many before him, Zachary Bence was first inspired to pick up the guitar after a chance meeting with a Jimi Hendrix record. That love at first listen sparked a musical journey that led from bluesmen like Howlin' Wolf and Son House to Jazz giants such as Wes Montgomery and John Coltrane. After high school, Zachary went on to further his musical studies as a Jazz performance major at William Paterson University in New Jersey, where he studied privately with solo guitar maestro Gene Bertoncini and in ensembles under the direction of such greats as Harold Mabern, Mulgrew Miller, and Clark Terry. In addition to his instrumental studies, Zachary developed his prowess for composition and arranging while studying privately with multi-instrumentalist and composer Kevin Norton. Outside of school, Zachary honed his skills as a teacher, spending years giving private guitar, bass, and piano lessons to students of all ages and abilities.
After moving back home to Bangor, Maine in the summer of 2013, Zachary quickly began gigging throughout the state. Eventually he joined the Maine-based band, Chris Ross and The North, which has gone on to tour nationally and record two full length albums. With an omnivorous approach to genre and style, Zachary continues to collaborate and perform with all manner of musical acts, both on stage and in the studio. When not performing or teaching, Zachary can most likely be found exploring his new home in midcoast Maine or hunched over a board playing his favorite game of chess.
Joe Cough, faculty
voice, guitar, trumpet
A Maine native and ‘spinto tenor’, Joe Cough possesses a B.A. in Human Ecology from the College of the Atlantic where he studied composition with John Cooper; and a M.M. in Vocal Performance from the University of Maine under the instruction of Nancy Ogle. He studied and presented a lecture regarding the vocal music of Gabriel Fauré. While living in Southern Maine, he premiered the vocal works for various Maine composers both at the University of Southern Maine and the Portland Conservatory of Music. He has performed recently as a guest soloist for the Bangor Symphony Orchestra, the Bar Harbor Music Festival, and the Acadia Choral Society. He has also filled many partial roles for various operas, including the role of Faust in Gounod’s Faust, Don Jose in Bizet’s Carmen, and Pollione in Bellini’s Norma.
Aside from his vocal work, he plays guitar for his Celti-Scandi duo Eleanor’s Crown with his wife Lindsay. Lately he has been composing vocal work with pianist/electronic music artist Tom Luther, which is born from his love and interest of Gregorian chant, bard music, and Jewish mysticism. He is also a teaching artist leader with the Maine Arts Leadership Institute in which capacity he encourages students and educators alike to develop healthy mindsets when approaching music in its practice and its creation. His educational work is greatly influenced by the work of Alfie Kohn. Currently, he teaches full time at Midcoast Music Academy in Rockland, Maine, where he instructs students not only in voice, but also guitar, piano, trumpet, songwriting and music theory. He lives with his wife and their two sons on the midcoast of Maine.
STUART MASON GURLEY, faculty
BASS, PIANO, GUITAR
Stuart Mason Gurley is a bassist, multi-instrumentalist, and composer from Falmouth, Maine. He carried out undergraduate studies at both Berklee and UMA and received a Master’s Degree in jazz studies and double bass from USM. Stuart has performed live hundreds of times in a wide variety of styles (such as jazz, rock, pop, country, hip-hop and classical), playing everything from small clubs to supporting Christian Howes (renowned jazz violinist), dueling synthesizers with Dr. Fink (former keyboardist for Prince and the Revolution), and sharing the stage with popular acts such as Panic at the Disco and many more.
Stuart has had extensive studies in musical pedagogy and has been putting those methods into practice in southern Maine for over six years. He has taught school music classes, private instruction, and directed ensembles; his ensemble Beware of Pedestrians won the 2013 MAMM Slam band competition in Portland. Stuart attempts to unify both his personal and educational philosophy with the Tom Waits quote, “The way you do anything is the way you do everything.” Stuart still lives in Falmouth with his wife, Caitlin, and baby daughter, Anna. He is currently recording the debut album of his most recent project, “I love you to pieces; distraction, etc.” by S. Mason Gurley and the Satellite Ensemble.
Tom Luther, faculty
Piano and digital Music composition
Tom Luther is an improvising composer, pianist, and media artist working in acoustic and electronic environments. He has performed throughout the state of Maine with his modern jazz group TLQ (Tom Luther Quintet), an ambient music trio called Algorithm, and as a soloist. Luther is also a media artist, working with video, live installations, and interactive objects. In his work, Luther applies traditional composition, improvisation, generative, and interactive techniques, drawing freely from his experiences in numerous musical forms. The messages and stories are universal, and genre is simply a cultural idiom appropriate to a certain group at a certain time. Luther explores these notions through adapting techniques from different genres to create hybrid works that straddle the worlds of jazz, classical, electronic, and ambient music, bending genre and blurring the boundaries that define them. He has released two albums of his music with the TLQ, “Everything Is Blue” (2012) and “Necessity(2015). His interactive installation “Spine” premiered at Waterfall Arts in 2015, and he has shown two multi-media works as the Kelpie Gallery's annual “Wet Paint on the Weskeag” fundraiser. Luther was a featured solo performer at “Jazz on a Summer's Eve” at the Camden Opera House, and performs regularly with TLQ and as a sideman with the Mike Whitehead Group. He is currently working on a new ambient/downtempo trio, and an interactive floor puzzle that creates music. Luther is a graduate of the Hartt School of Music, and studied privately with pianist and composer Anthony Davis.
drew weber, faculty
drum kit, concert & marching percussion, hand drums, and piano
Andrew (“Drew”) Weber is a drummer and percussionist who has taught and played drums professionally for over twenty-five years. He was born and raised in Detroit, Michigan, and began playing drums at age twelve. His professional career began at 16, when he joined the pit orchestra of a local theater company. Shortly thereafter, he began playing in clubs with a variety of rock groups. After high school he attended Berklee College of Music in Boston, where he majored in performance and studied with a number of master drummers, including John Ramsay, Joe Hunt, Tommy Campbell, and Skip Hadden, all the while continuing to play gigs in and around the Boston area.
After Berklee, Andrew performed in venues throughout the East Coast and Midwest, playing music of varying genres - jazz, rock, metal, blues, country, and more, before eventually moving back to his home state of Michigan. Over the last 20 years, he established himself as one of the top instructors of the Detroit metro area, teaching drums and percussion to students of all ages and skill levels. In addition to his private teaching, he has also served as a percussion assistant and drum line instructor for numerous middle schools and high schools.
Andrew is a long time member of the Percussive Arts Society, and also an active member of the Sabian Educators Network and Vic Firth Education Team, and regularly attends national percussion education conferences. In December 2015, Andrew was recognized in Modern Drummer magazine by world-renowned drummer Dom Famularo as one of the top 100 drummer educators in the world. As a teacher, he has over 2000 private students to his credit, and as a player he has worked with countless bands and performers over the years and continues to play regularly. Andrew moved to Midcoast Maine in early 2016 to head the drum department at MCMA, where he teaches individual lessons and a variety of group classes on all aspects and styles of playing drum kit, concert and marching percussion, various hand drums, as well as beginning piano and music theory.
gary clancy, founding faculty
Gary was born in Troy, New York on November 12, 1951. As a young musician in the 60s and early 70s, Gary had an illustrious career touring the east coast, sharing the stage with or opening for many renowned national acts (garyclancy.wixsite.com/gary-clancy/old-skool-
Shortly after Midcoast Music Academy was founded in 2012, founder Tom Ulichny received a phone call from an unknown number. On the other end of the line was Gary- a lifelong musician and UMaine faculty member in the music department who cut his teeth touring and gigging, recording, producing, writing, and teaching music. He had run across an ad seeking students and faculty members for a new, contemporary music school in Rockland and he was curious about this new school and wanted to meet Tom.
Gary Clancy loved MCMA from the first day he walked through the door. He believed in Tom during moments of doubt and stress, tears and desperation. Gary poured such love and unwavering support into the crazy idea to start a school from scratch with nothing else but heart and belief.
Reflections from some of Gary’s students may best tell the story of a life well lived:
“It is with a heavy heart that I learn about the passing of a man who transformed my life.” “He ignited a lifelong passion for the guitar and music in general.” “Musical Mentors are more than teachers... They are planters of seeds that will bear the fruit of their musical legacy long after they leave us...” “Gary taught me that sometimes as in life the wrong notes are the right choices to get to where you want to be.” “He pushed my creativity instead of my technicality. I will always hold my time with him close to my heart.” “Inclusive of everyone at all levels. An amazing teacher and beautiful human being.”
Gary Clancy will be missed. His music is in the air, his lessons are in the walls.
As a founding faculty member of Midcoast Music Academy, Gary’s passion for music and education will live on through the Gary Clancy Memorial Scholarship Fund. This will help fulfill the mission of allowing any dedicated student to study music regardless of financial constraint. To donate, visit his Memorial Scholarship Fund page.
Midcoast Music Academy admits students of any race, color, national origin, and ethnic origin to all the rights, privileges, programs, and activities, generally accorded or made available to students at the school. It does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, and ethnic origin in administration of its educational policies, admission policies, scholarship and loan programs, and other school administered programs.