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Meet the 2022 Front Ensemble Staff

Jean Carlo Rodriguez

Jeancarlo “Jay” Rodriguez Front Ensemble Technician

Jay is a marching percussion educator currently residing in Newark, DE. Jay has worked with various high school programs in the NJ area and is currently a front ensemble technician at United Percussion, Hawthorne Caballeros and the University of Delaware. 

Jay performed as a member of the Raiders Drum and Bugle Corps (2013), United Percussion (2014-2018), and Carolina Crown (2016-2019). Throughout his time in the activity, Jay has had the honor of learning from many influential instructors including Steve Ballard, Ian Hale, Jim Ancona, Thom Hannum, Marcus Neudigate, Alex Kluttz, Dave Osworth and Annie Chernow. 

Jay is a recent graduate of Suffolk University with a bachelor’s degree in marketing.

Lornaa Morales

Lornaa Morales Front Ensemble Technician

Lornaa Morales is a multi-instrumentalist currently pursuing a Bachelor of Music Therapy Degree at Montclair State University. This will be her second season teaching our Front Ensemble. Lornaa is an Alum of the Hawthorne Caballeros performing from 2017 to 2019, and served as section leader from 2018 to 2019. Lornaa is also a member of the United Percussion Front Ensemble, performing in 2019, 2020, and currently section leader for this upcoming 2022 season!  Lornaa has taught at various high schools in NJ , and is currently a Front Ensemble Instructor at Madison High School, and a multi-instrumental music instructor at Vienna Music School in West Orange. In her Music Therapy studies, and clinical practice Lornaa is learning to use music and technology as a mode of helping individuals seeking Mental Health and Wellness Support.

Valeri Liiva Katz

Valeri Liiva Katz Front Ensemble Technician

This will be Valeri’s 25th year with the Hawthorne Caballeros. She has had many various positions including writer, arranger, section leader, member, conductor, and instructor. This year she will be a technician for the front ensemble’s percussionists. She has won the percussionist of the year award in 2004, DCA championships in 2003 and 2021.

Valeri grew up outside of the Philly-area, Media, PA. She marched with The Crossmen of Pennsylvania for 3 years and aged-out with The Blue Devils of Concord, California. She completed her undergraduate degree in Music Education from West Chester University of West Chester, PA. She taught Lone Star Junior Drum and Bugle corps of Commerce, TX. She completed her masters in Music Education at The University of North Texas, Denton, TX.

Valeri has taught music throughout NJ since 1998; marching bands, indoor drum lines, concert bands, jazz bands, pit orchestras, instrumental lessons, choirs, general music, and the Little Kids Rock program. She is presently a full-time instrumental music teacher and band director at the Elizabeth Public School District in Elizabeth, NJ since 2009, working at Winfield Scott School No. 2 and Toussaint L’Ouverture Marquis De Lafayette School No. 6.

Tom O'Hara

Tom O’Hara Front Ensemble Technician

Tom O’Hara is a percussionist and educator based in central New Jersey. Tom began his teaching career in 2011 at Edison High School where he served as Co-Percussion Caption Head for the marching band and indoor percussion ensemble until 2019. He has given clinics and worked with numerous schools and organizations throughout New Jersey, including the Greater Princeton Youth Orchestra.

Tom has also composed several snare drum solos which are published through Bachovich Music Publications. Solos from his book entitled “Six Impressions for Solo Snare Drum” were featured on the repertoire list for the 2017 and 2021 Modern Snare Drum Competition. 

Tom received his Bachelor of Music from Rutgers University, where he studied intensively under Joseph Tompkins, Javier Diaz, Michael Truesdell, and Kyle Zerna. He currently serves as an instrumental music teacher in the Linden Public School District and works with the front ensemble for the Rutgers University Marching Scarlet Knights.

Tom is very excited to continue working with the Hawthorne Caballeros percussion team!

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