Sophia Cannavo is one of Downright Music and Arts' teachers: specializing in beginner piano and voice lessons. Having been extensively trained in theater and music, students can expect a full lesson of both performance etiquette and musical technique from lessons with Sophia.
Within a healthy, happy and supportive environment- people of all ages are encouraged to grow and develop their skills and methods of writing, creating, playing and performing.
"I strive to make every student as comfortable as possible, while still teaching them as much as they need to know to be a great singer, musician, performer and professional artist. Every student has uniqueness and potential: and together- we create magic...and have a blast doing it!"
Mary Corso, a recent graduate from the Jackie McLean institute at the hartt school of music, is a hardworking and experienced vocalist. Mary has been singing since the age of 12, and has gained experience in the genres of musical theater, jazz, pop, funk, and has also participated in different choirs. Through her education at hartt Mary was able to perform with many legendary jazz players such as Steve Davis and Nat Reeves and has also played in her own band and several other bands outside of school.
Mary's musical inspirations mostly come from classic jazz singers such as Billie Holiday and Ella Fitzgerald but she is also influenced by modern day vocalists such as Gregory Porter, John legend, and Alicia Keys. Mary's teaching style and direction allows her students to be open minded to trying different styles of singing but also being able to learn the basics of singing and general music knowledge.
Atticus Kelly is a performer and multi-instrumentalist from New Britain, Connecticut. As well as teaching guitar and piano privately and in store, he tours nationally with his band The Mclovins. Well versed in Jazz,Pop and Rock styles, he teaches beginner to advanced level students of all ages.
George began playing the drums at 12 years old. Both of his parents had a love of music and shared that love with George at an early age. George started playing in garage bands with his friends throughout high school. After high school George made his way to Los Angeles to study at Musicians Institute where he studied with many of the best studio musicians in California. He returned from California with a plan to practice and take any gig that came his way. Playing in numerous bands and clubs in New Haven for two years he decided that he wanted to study jazz and in 1998 entered the Hartt School conservatory were he immediately began playing with his professors on a weekly basis. George graduated from Hartt in 2002. George’s musical philosophy is that music can enrich our lives at any level of ability. You must first have a love of music and a love of learning.
ERIC DELLA VECCHIA
Eric began playing saxophone in the 4th grade. His first musical influence was his father Louis who would listen to a multitude of jazz and R&B. When Eric was very young, his uncle, Brien Sandstrom, was a bassist in a local funk and R&B group, Coallition. Some of Eric's early musical influences were Charlie Parker, Miles Davis, Earth Wind and Fire, Michael Jackson and The Beatles. As luck would have it, once Eric entered Bristol Eastern High School, he had the pleasure of studying under George Sovak and Richard Theriault, who both were well respected local jazz saxophonists as well as his middle school and high school band directors respectively.
Eric then entered CCSU as a saxophone performance major under the guidance of Dr. Scott Plugge, whom he had been studying with beginning during his senior year of high school. After two years of study at CCSU, Eric followed Dr. Plugge to Huntsville, TX to continue his studies of both classical and jazz saxophone. Throughout his college career, Eric performed in many of the university ensembles as well as the Elements Saxophone Quartet.
Eric's first serious outing as a professional saxophonist began in the group Stanley Maxwell. Over the past 13 years Stanley Maxwell performed up and down the East coast (and Oklahoma) in the "jam band" scene playing many music festivals sharing the stage with such groups as The Disco Biscuits, The Roots, Dweezil Zappa, Jacob Fred Jazz Odyssey and Fred Wesley to name a few.
In addition to being the newest member of Avenue Groove (filling the shoes of one of his best friends, Anthony Manzi), Eric also teaches saxophone at Downright Music and Art in Collinsville, CT. Many of his students have gone on to perform in the Northern Region and All-State Festival bands. Collinsville has also been an influence in Eric's development as a performing musician by giving him the opportunity to play out up to five nights a week in various organized and impromptu groups given its concentration of musicians and artists. When Eric is not playing, working or practicing, he enjoys spending time with friends and his daughter, Haven.