Multi-instrumentalist Akili Jamal Haynes has performed with Illinois Jacquet (Swing), Lester Bowie (Mixed genres), Wynton Marsalis (New Orleans), Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra (Mixed genres), McCoy Tyner (Modern Bebop), the Mingus Big Band (Bebop), Nana Kimati Dinizulu (Ghana), Lenny Kravitz (Funk/Rock), Stephen Scott (Bebop), Lamine Toure & Group Saloum (Senegales Sabar/Mbalax), Sidi Muhammed Camara (Mali), Isaura Oliveira (Bahia Brazil), Sory Diabote (Mali), Fred Woodard Collective (Bebop/Mixed genres), Taina Asili (Puerto Rico), Fulani Haynes (Bebop/Mixed Genres), and Stan Strickland (Mixed Genres), among others.

Akili is cultivating his multi-genre band, A Slice of P.A.I. (Positive African Images), which combines the ancient rhythms of the African continent with Funk, Rhythm and Blues, Hip-Hop, and Bebop. With the diverse backgrounds and musical histories of its personnel, the group is able to authentically infuse the many rhythmic creations and genres of Africans around the world into one sweet healing sound. P.A.I. has performed concerts and lecture demonstrations for communities and schools in the Greater Boston Area. Most recently, it supported the Green House Growers of the Dudley Greenhouse, brought music to students of the Martin Luther King School, and participated in Feté de la Musique. P.A.I. is currently working on a multi-media project called Metamorphosis of the Blues and a feature film called Becoming Chibuzo, which tells the story of Akili Jamal Haynes, a child prodigy forced to play trombone, who puts it down to pursue the dreams of his youth.

Composer/pianist Brian Friedland is the creator of Household Items, an ever-expanding collection of songs and videos utilizing texts from domestic products, childhood poetry, and a lease from an overzealous landlord for lyrics and musical inspiration. Between its subject material and finely calibrated performances, Household Items has garnered fans across the United States and received attention from a wide array of sources.  Friedland and his product-based music have been featured by  NPR, Boston culture blog BDC wire, and shared widely among fans of Pirate’s Booty snacks , earning him and his numerous collaborators invitations to perform.

A native of rural North Carolina, John Morrison has been called “a contemporary Southern version of Charles Ives”. Though he began his study of music with piano, he gained his most influential experiences playing the trumpet. A summer at the Governor’s School of North Carolina, when John played in an orchestra for the first time, and played entirely music of the twentieth century, changed his life and established a mindset regarding musical encounters. Only after college (Davidson College) did John begin to study composition, and he went on to earn a DMA in composition at the University of Michigan. Principle teachers included John Anthony Lennon, William Bolcom, William Albright, and Leslie Bassett. Now residing in Medford, Massachusetts, John teaches composition and theory at the Longy School of Music of Bard College in Cambridge.

Morrison has composed for a wide range of ensembles, solo instruments and chorus. He has been commissioned by number of leading ensembles, received numerous grants, and his music has been performed widely. A longtime practitioner of Zen meditation, John has become more and more interested in the role of contemplation in music, recently developing a pathbreaking analytical method into a workshop that offers an immediate pathway into comprehension of new music. Encountering music without preconceptions, as John did in high school long ago, is the objective and tactic behind the workshop, which he calls Just Listening.


Christopher Perry, MT-BC is a graduate of Berklee College of Music with a degree in music therapy. Whether working with adults with developmental disabilities, children with special needs, or in a hospice setting, Christopher has a passion for connecting with others through music. He has experience practicing music therapy with groups and individuals, in classrooms, homes and community spaces.

A naturally inquisitive and curious person from birth, Aidan Ramsay has always been fascinated with sound. As a composer, he finds himself often categorized as a writer of experimental music, due to his fascination with texture and color as primary musical forces, but he has also been trained as a jazz and classical composer, and retains great interest in an eclectic variety of music, from pop to the farthest reaches of the experimental, and maintains that all such genres are far more closely related than one might initially imagine. Mr. Ramsay is particularly interested in the intersections between music and diagetic sound design, and is always searching for the music hiding in everyday life. He is currently finishing a master’s degree at Boston University, where he studies with Joshua Fineberg. He previously studied at the University of Oregon under Robert Kyr  and David Crumb. Though young and early in his career, Aidan has managed to make a name for himself writing for artists such as JACK Quartet and Esteli Gomez, of Roomful of Teeth fame.

Hannah Sigel holds a BM from Boston Conservatory at Berklee, where she studied voice under the tutelage of Kevin Wilson. Having performed and taught privately for years, Hannah is delighted to share her passion for music with the community and inspire the next generation of musicians. Originally from Miami, FL, Hannah is passionate about the importance of music in our communities and its members lives. She hopes to inspire a will and drive to make a difference in our communities through music education and performance.

Dr. Brandon Vaccaro is a composer, performer, music producer, and audio engineer. As a composer, Vaccaro has received awards, commendations, and commissions from Iowa State University Carillon Festival, New York Youth Symphony’s First Music program, the University of Denver, the University of Colorado, Boulder, ASCAP/SCI, the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences, and the Motion Picture Sound Editors. As a performer and improviser, Vaccaro has been active in chamber and popular venues. He was guitarist of several innovative bands in Colorado’s Front Range including Kallisti and Coefficient of Friction. He has also collaborated with S. Lyn Goeringer, Conrad Kehn (as MacroCephalic Cabal), Jesse Woods (as Ground), and Scott Schulz (as Shutter Trio). From 2007-2008, he curated a gallery series for music, sound installations, and audio/visual works in Denver titled Sound.scapes Presented by Mystery Cabal. Vaccaro holds a Doctor of Musical Arts in composition from the University of Colorado-Boulder. He also studied at the Lamont School of Music, University of Denver and the University of Colorado, Denver. Vaccaro is currently the coordinator of Sound Recording Technology and an Assistant Teaching Professor in Music at the University of Massachusetts, Lowell.


The Boston Saxophone Quartet is a unique blend of musicians combining a tremendous range of repertoire and individual experience in wind performance. Members of the BSQ have performed with the Boston Pops and Boston Symphony Orchestra and leading Broadway theaters throughout New England. The BSQ performs for a variety of functions that can run the gamut from corporate sponsors to formal concerts, wedding receptions, etc. offering a wide repertoire: Swing, Ragtime, Jazz, The Beatles … all the way back to the Renaissance. The BSQ musicians are proficient on all the woodwinds including flute, clarinet, oboe and bassoon.

The Boston Saxophone Quartet performs regularly at First Night Boston and hosts the Noteworthy Scholars Composition Competition. Past CMCB finalists and award winners include Deena Corkindale, Alicia Yu, Tal Rimoni and Jennifer Riche.


“Check the House for Art” is a multimedia program that will inspire students to find artistic inspiration in their everyday lives and think creatively about connections between language, music, and visual art.  With the help of the accomplished vocalist Laura Jaye, and images designed by local visual artists, Friedland’s original music dramatizes everyday items such as product descriptions, ingredient lists, instructional manuals, and his own childhood poetry.  Through participatory music making, lively discussion, and collaborative activities, students will explore firsthand the power of musical and artistic concepts to express emotion, tell stories, and create humor.  They will hopefully leave empowered by the experience to create their own artistic work, inspired by everything that’s around them.