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Operational Staff

Chris Keri: Director of Operations

Chris Keri has been on staff with the Marching Scarlet Knights since 2013 after being a 4 year member and section leader of the trumpet section.  Chris the current Director of Operations for the Rutgers University Athletic Bands; helping to recruit new members, plan band camp, place orders for the program, and help organize other aspects of the season.

Chris has also been the voice of the Marching Scarlet Knights since 2016, announcing the band on and off the field for every performance.

Chris is married and lives with his wife, Leigh, in Somerville, NJ.  They also have a dog (Chow Chow/Schnauzer mix) and are expecting their first child in December 2019. He is a graduate of Rutgers; receiving his Bachelor's Degree in Psychology in 2013 and his Master's Degree in Special Education in 2014.  He is also a Certified Teacher of Orton Gillingham (2017) and is working to obtain his Masters Degree in Educational Leadership from Montclair State University in the summer of 2020. His full time job is being a fifth grade teacher in Bernards Township where he has been teaching since September 2014.


Todd Vaccaro: Equipment Manager

Todd is returning for his fifth season as a staff member with the Rutgers University Marching Band, where he was previously a visual/brass tech.  He graduated with a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering (Aerospace Concentration) from Rutgers University in 2015. During his time at Rutgers, Todd was a member of the Marching Band, where he was a 4 year member and a co-section leader of the trumpet section during his senior year.  He also performed in the Rutgers University Concert Band, and could be seen playing in the pit orchestra for numerous shows with the Livingston Theatre Company. He also marched with the Bushwackers Drum & Bugle Corps for their 2012 season. Todd is a Brother of Mu Beta Psi.  


Today, Todd is an avid trumpet player and can still be seen playing for shows in NJ at times.  Most recently, he has played for The Addams Family and The Wizard of Oz with Stage Left Productions in Hazlet, NJ, where he also currently resides.  He is also a member of the Eatontown Municipal Band in Eatontown, NJ. He works full time for A.D.E. Systems in Sayreville, NJ as a mechanical engineer in the commercial HVAC industry.

Percussion Staff


Carlos Vazquez: Percussion Caption Head

Carlos is a graduate of the Mason Gross School of the Arts at Rutgers University, where he double-majored in Music Education and Psychology. Carlos has been a percussion educator in New Jersey for over a decade teaching at several high schools, private lessons and clinics. He is an active freelance musician in the New York and New Jersey area specializing in classical, marching and Latin percussion. He has played on the national tour of Hair! the musical and currently plays for the NY Giants Drum Line as an employee of Gallant Entertainment.  He has had the honor to play alongside musicians such as Eddie Palmieri and Delfeayo Marsalis and has recorded with the popular hip-hop group The Wu-Tang Clan. This will be Carlos’ 8th season as an instructor for the Rutgers University Drumline. 


Mark Monaghan

Mark Monaghan has 4+ years teaching experience at all levels ranging from beginner high school to world-class marching ensembles, including collegiate teaching experience.  Mark’s drum corps experience started Crossmen in 2012 and 2013.  Later he joined the Santa Clara Vanguard for the 2014 and 2015 seasons, winning the Fred Sanford High Percussion award in ’14.  Mark also marched with United Percussion for the 2012 and 2013 seasons.


Mark’s teaching experience includes United Percussion, Rutgers University Marching Scarlet Knights, Edison HS, and Bridgewater Raritan HS.  Mark Monaghan has a bachelors in psychology, with a minor in music.  He is currently pursuing his second bachelors in music education, with a concentration in classical percussion.


Matt Blood: Front Ensemble Caption Head

Matt Blood is a percussion arranger, educator, and performer from South Jersey. He has arranged percussion scores for many ensembles on the East Coast from middle school level to world class drum and bugle corps. Currently, Matt is the Percussion Supervisor/Arranger for the West Deptford Band, Front Ensemble Caption Head/Arranger for the Hawthorne Caballeros, and Front Ensemble Caption Head/Arranger for the Rutgers MSK, Front Ensemble Designer for the Jersey Surf, and a front ensemble technician for the perennial WGI PIW Finalist, United Percussion. Matt received his Bachelor’s degree in classical percussion performance from Mason Gross School of the Arts at Rutgers University in New Brunswick, NJ, where he also has performed in some of their top ensembles. In addition, Matt has performed as a member of the United Percussion Front Ensemble during their 2012-2014 seasons.


Tom O'Hara

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 also has several snare drum solos published through Bachovich Music Publications. A solo from his book entitled “Six Impressions for Solo Snare Drum” was featured on the repertoire list for the 2017 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. Tom is very excited to join the Rutgers University Marching Band percussion team!

Teaching Staff

Brian Brown: Woodwind Tech

Brian S. Brown holds his Bachelor of Music from the University of Delaware and Master of Music from the University of Connecticut, both degrees with a concentration in Music Education.   Mr. Brown began his music education career as band director at Immaculata High School for 5 years where his marching bands were consistently ranked top in their group and captured a marching band championship.  Mr. Brown has many years experience in music education and the marching arts.

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He has had the opportunity to conduct the CJMEA region symphonic band at the high school level and at the NJSMA region band at the middle school level in northern new jersey.  Mr. Brown is employed in Ridgewood, New Jersey where he is Director of Bands at George Washington Middle School. Currently he is a member of the Raritan Valley Symphonic Band playing in the clarinet section. He is returning for his 2nd season working with the RUMSK clarinets and piccolos and is looking forward to it.

Tim Burke: Graduate Assistant

Tim Burke is currently studying a MA in Wind Conducting and hold a Music Education BA from Mason Gross School of the Arts. Burke studied tuba under Alan Baer, the principal Tubist of the New York Philharmonic. Later, he went on to teach Elementary, High School, and Marching Band in Chatham and North Arlington, New Jersey. Burke is a freelance musician and teacher operating in the greater Metropolitan and New England area.


Zack Wroblewski: Graduate Assistant

After being a member of the saxophone section in the Marching Scarlet Knights for three years, Master’s student Zachary Wroblewski is returning this season as part of the teaching staff for the saxophone section. During his undergraduate studies Zach served as Woodwind Captain and Saxophone Section Leader. He recently earned his BM in Music Education from Mason Gross
School of the Arts at Rutgers this past spring and will be continuing his studies at Mason Gross under the tutelage of Prof. Daryll Bott, working towards a Master’s in Wind Conducting with hopes of entering the teaching field in the future. Zach is also entering his second year of working with Immaculata High School’s Marching Band as the Woodwind and Visual Assistant. A student of the saxophone, he continues to develop his instrumental playing through taking private lessons on the instrument. He also teaches private lessons on the saxophone to young musicians.


Matt Sakasitz

Matt Sakasitz is joining the MSK Staff this year as he begins a Master's in Wind Conducting at Rutgers University this fall. Previously he graduated from Rutgers with a B.M. in Music Education in 2018 and has taught marching band, concert band, and general music throughout New Jersey. Matt is currently on staff with the Bushwackers Drum and Bugle Corps.


Color Guard Staff


Louis Hellinger

Louis Hellinger is a NJ resident and has over 20 years of performance, design and instruction experience for color guard, drum corps and band. He began his passion for this activity quite humbly in a local Independent A guard and the Raiders Drum Corps, both from his hometown of Bayonne, NJ. Later, he was a member of the renowned Emerald Marquis color guard from Wakefield, Ma. Louis also performed with the Sunrisers (NY) and Westshoremem (PA) drum corps throughout his marching career.


After marching Louis has had the privilege to work with many wonderful groups in a design capacity. Louis has been the creative director/designer for West Orange HS for the past 12 years. Most recently, he has also worked with: Cypress Independent (TX), The Black Watch (NJ), The Blue Knight (CO), AMP (NJ) and Sacred Heart University (CT).

In addition to all of his competitive teaching, Louis is proud to be a part of the the Flaggots Color Guard (NY/NJ/PA/CT) and he has been the Creative Director since 2005. The Flaggots is known across the country to be one of the most well-known and exciting parade color guards.


Jen Lube

Jen Lube has actively been involved in the marching arts since high school. She has performed with a variety of drum corps and world class indoor groups on the East Coast.


Over the years she has also taught and consulted for several high school marching bands, winter guards, and independent programs in the tristate area.


Currently, Jen works with AMP winter guard from Camden, NJ. Jen is excited to work with the RU color guard for her second season.


Laura Saad

Laura is excited to join the technical staff of the Rutgers University Marching Scarlet Knights for the 2019 season!

Her marching experience includes six years of DCI as well as three years in WGI. Her teaching experience includes almost a decade of experience choreographing and instructing various marching bands and winter guards in the NJ/PA area, most notably including seven seasons with WGI world finalist, AMP winter guard from Camden, NJ.

Outside of the marching world, Laura is an aspiring research psychologist. She holds a BS in psychology from the University of the Sciences and is currently working towards a PhD in cognitive psychology at Rutgers University.

Design Staff


Steve Alia

Stephen Alia has been designing crowd-pleasing drill for the Marching Scarlet Knights since 2017. Stephen is a professional visual designer for the marching arts. As the owner of Stephen Alia Visual Design, LLC, his active visual design clientele includes college and high school bands from Florida, Indiana, Michigan, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Tennessee, and Texas. In addition, he is a member of the design and instructional staff for the Medellin Gran Banda from Medellin, Colombia and the Artistic Director for the Horizon Performing Arts Association from Auburndale, Florida. From 2011-2013, Stephen served as Program Coordinator and Visual Designer for the Legends Drum and Bugle Corps, a Drum Corps International Open Class Finalist.


Stephen was a public school band director in central Florida for the seventeen years. Most recently, he served as the Director of Bands at Jere L. Stambaugh Sr. Middle School in Auburndale, Florida, directing the Symphonic Band, Jazz Ensemble, Beginning Bands, and the three-time State Champion Stambaugh Color Guard. In addition, Stephen is a member of the music education faculty of Southeastern University in Lakeland, Florida.

Stephen was the Frostproof Middle/Senior High School Teacher of the Year in 2005 and has been listed in “Who’s Who of American Teachers” twice.


Stephen has a Bachelor’s Degree in Music Education from the University of Central Florida, where he studied trumpet with Lyman Brodie and John Almeida. He performed as a member of the Magic of Orlando Drum and Bugle Corps.


Stephen judges marching band as a member of the Central States Judges Association and indoor guard and percussion with the Florida Federation Judges Association. His professional affiliations include MENC, FMEA, FBA, and Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia.