top of page
Site Bar.png

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 serves as the Director of Operations for the Rutgers University Athletic Bands; helping to recruit new members, plan band camp, place orders, 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, and two sons, CJ and Lucas, in High Bridge, NJ.  They also have a dog, Teddy. (Chow Chow/Schnauzer mix). 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).  Most recently, he obtained his Masters Degree in Educational Leadership from Montclair State University (2020). His full time job is being an Assistant Principal in Bernardsville where he has been since August 2022.


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.

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.  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.

Mr Brown.PNG

Richard Hartsuiker

Richard Hartsuiker is in his sixth year as Director of Bands at Morris Hills High School in Rockaway, New Jersey. His curricular responsibilities at Morris Hills include directing the Advanced and Freshmen level concert bands, teaching small-group/individual lessons to all band students, and teaching the electives Advanced Placement Music Theory and Music Theory/Composition. Mr. Hartsuiker’s extra-curricular duties include the directorships of the Scarlet Knights Marching Band, Jazz Band, and Pit Orchestra.  He is also a co-adjutant with the Rutgers University “Marching Scarlet Knights”, serving as a brass technician and drill instructor. Prior to coming to Morris Hills, Mr. Hartsuiker taught at Roxbury High School for sixteen years, where he assisted the Honors Wind Symphony in their selections and performances at the 2008 Midwest Band and Orchestra Clinic (the first New Jersey concert band ever selected to perform at this international conference) and the 2008, 2012, and 2016 Music for All National Concert Band Festivals.  Marching bands under his direction have won numerous state and national championships, as well as multiple selections as a finalist band at Music for All Regional Championships. Mr. Hartsuiker is currently pursuing his Artist Diploma in Trumpet Performance at Rutgers University as a student of Kenneth DeCarlo, holds a Masters of Music degree in Conducting from Messiah College, (studying with Dr. Bradley Genevro and Eugene Migliaro Corporon), and is an honors graduate from William Paterson University. He has studied trumpet with Dr. J. Craig Davis, Roger Ingram, Chris Jaudes, Dr. William Stowman, Garth Greenup, and Kurt Zimmermann, and has participated in master classes given by the Boston Brass, Fred Mills, Allen Vizzutti, Andrew Hitz, and Wynton Marsalis.  Additionally, Mr. Hartsuiker has taken voiceover lessons and clinics with voiceover artists Lainie Cooke, Sara Krieger, and Joe Gallogly. 
Mr. Hartsuiker has had the privilege to conduct concerts at Carnegie Hall on multiple occasions, and he has performed as a conductor and/or trumpet soloist on the stages of David Geffen Hall in Lincoln Center and the Whitaker Center for the Performing Arts in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. He has guest conducted the New Jersey Region I Symphonic Band, the inaugural New Jersey Region I Honors Brass Ensemble, and has served as manager for the New Jersey All-State Wind Ensemble, New Jersey Region I Wind Ensemble, and New Jersey Region I Symphonic Band multiple times.  He also has adjudicated the NJMEA Middle School Band Festival numerous times, and is a guest clinician for bands and brass sections around the region.  Mr. Hartsuiker enjoys performing as a trumpet soloist and chamber musician throughout New Jersey, and has managed a successful private trumpet studio for players of all ages and ability levels, placing many students in Area, Region, Junior Region, and All-State Bands on a year-to-year basis.  Mr. Hartsuiker is happily married to his wife Michelle and is the proud father of three wonderful sons.

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!

Andrew Rubano


Andrew earned his Bachelor's Degree in Music Education and Percussion Performance from Rutgers University in 2012. He returned to work with the Rutgers Band in 2017 after completing his Masters Degree in Percussion Performance from the University of Delaware, where he served as the Graduate Assistant of Athletic Bands. While in school he also performed with Reading Buccaneers Drum and Bugle Corp before aging out with the 2011 World Champion Cadets as a member of the quadline for 2 seasons. After marching he continued his career teaching Cadets 2 from 2012-2015, Cadets Winter Percussion 2014-2016 and Carolina Crown 2016-2018. Currently, Andrew resides in NJ teaching Elementary and High School Band in the Brick Township Public Schools. He also serves as the Arranger and Percussion Caption head with the Reading Buccaneers Drum Corp, and is excited to continue his role as Battery Arranger and Instructor for the Rutgers University Drumline.

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.

Graduate Staff

John Hylkema

John Hylkema is in his inaugural season with the Marching Scarlet Knights and is thrilled to be working with these outstanding students, faculty, and staff.  In 2012 John earned a Bachelor's degree in Music Education, and in 2014, he earned Master's degrees in Wind Conducting and Music Education, all from Syracuse University’s Setnor School of Music. During this time he served as Music Director and Conductor of the University Concert Band, Graduate Teaching Assistant for all the concert and athletic bands as well as instrumental music education courses, and performed as the principal trumpet in the University Orchestra, Wind Ensemble, Jazz Ensemble, and various other musical organizations on campus and in the Syracuse community. John is currently in pursuit of a Doctor of Musical Arts degree at Rutgers University's Mason Gross School of the Arts where he studies conducting with Dr. Todd Nichols. As a conductor, John has previously studied with Dr. Bradley Ethington, Dr. James Tapia, Dr. John Laverty, Dr. Justin Mertz, and Maestro Daniel Hege of the former Syracuse Symphony Orchestra. He has also studied trumpet with Gabriel DiMartino, Vince DiMartino, and Larry Wright, and has performed and recorded albums with world-renowned artists such as Vince and Gabriel DiMartino, Ronald L. Caravan, Joseph Alessi, Carol Jantsch, Marshal McDonald, Maynard Ferguson, and the Boston Brass.


Since 2014, John has served as the Director of Bands at Readington Middle School in Readington, NJ where he was named the New Jersey Governer's Educator of the Year in 2018. His duties include directing the 6th-8th grade concert bands, jazz ensemble, serving as the advisor for RMS's chapter of the Tri-M National Music Honor Society, and is the district's brass lesson specialist. He is also the Assistant Director of the Hunterdon Central Regional High School Marching Red Devils.


As an active performer and conductor, John is a member of the Eastern Wind Symphony trumpet section, serves as Assistant Director for the Eastern Wind Symphony Youth Band and Raritan Valley Symphonic Band, freelances as a pit orchestra musician, and continues to attend various conducting symposia around the country. His professional organizations include the National Association for Music Education, New Jersey Music Educators Association, New Jersey Association of Jazz Education, Pi Kappa Lambda, and Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia. 

Mikayla Bertleson

From Bay City, Michigan, percussionist Mickey Bertelsen's ideals are centered around being a "total percussionist". She frequently performs with musical theater shows, classical chamber ensembles, orchestras and other contemporary music ensembles. 

Mickey's passions are performing in musical theatre orchestras and teaching. She has played with many select musical theatre shows in theatres in Michigan, New Jersey, and Colorado. She also values the art of teaching and has many private students studying percussion (orchestral and drum set) and piano under her guidance. 

Besides musical theater, Mickey also serves with the 395th Army Band in Mustang, Oklahoma. As a member of this Army Band she has an active performing career in the band's concert band, rock band, and marching band as well as providing musical support for funeral details.

Mickey earned a Bachelor's degree in Music Education from Central Michigan University and a Masters of Music degree in Performance from Michigan State University. While at Michigan State University she also earned a Certificate in Music Career Development.


Currently, Mickey is a freelance musician in the greater New York City area and has played with The New York Giants Drumline, premiered new musicals, and has played in many other professional settings. Mickey is attending Rutgers University in New Jersey where she is studying to earn her Doctorate of Musical Arts degree in Performance. She has previously studied with: Andrew Spencer, David Hall, Jon Weber, Gwendolyn Dease, Joseph Tompkins, Mike Truesdell, Ian Sullivan, and Javier Diaz. 

Tim Hanley

Timothy Hanley is a clarinetist and music educator from Houston, TX. Some highlights of his performing career include performing as Assistant Principal Clarinet for Opera in the Ozarks in the Summer of 2019, touring a wind quintet across Sardinia as a part of the Tra Mare, Stelle e Magia Festival, and performing with the PRISMA Festival Orchestra in Summers 2018 and 2022. He appeared as a soloist with the Boston Conservatory Conductor’s Orchestra in 2019. Timothy was awarded Young Artist of the Year at the 2017 Zodiac Music Festival in Côte d'Azur, France.Timothy holds a B.M. from the University of Houston, and a M.M. at the Boston Conservatory at Berklee. He is currently pursuing a DMA at Rutgers University. His principal teachers are Jessica Phillips, Mark Dover, Randall Griffin, YaoGuang Zhai, and Michael Norsworthy.

Timothy teaches students and masterclasses for Through the Staff, an organization dedicated to breaking down the systemic barriers in the music education field that block young musicians from accessing musical resources. He also teaches privately at the Most Music School in Metuchen, NJ, and teaches classes and Marching Band at Rutgers University. 

Dana Mandell

Dana Mandell is a graduate student in the Wind Studies Program at Rutgers University, pursuing a Doctor of Musical Arts degree in Wind Conducting and studying with Dr. Kraig Alan Williams. Currently, she serves as the director of the Rutgers Concert Band and frequently conducts the Rutgers Wind Ensemble, Symphonic Winds, and Symphony Bands. 


Before arriving at Rutgers, Ms. Mandell held the position of Assistant Band Director at the University of Notre Dame. There, her duties included conducting concert bands, directing pep bands and chamber ensembles, instructing the Band of the Fighting Irish, and teaching methods courses. 


Ms. Mandell earned a Master of Music degree in Music Education from Arizona State University, where she worked as a graduate assistant for the athletic band program and instructed the Sun Devil Marching Band. She earned a Bachelor of Music degree in Music Education from the University of Massachusetts Amherst, serving as a student leader for the Minuteman Marching Band under the direction of the late George N. Parks. 


Ms. Mandell is entering her fifteenth season as an educator in the marching arts and actively serves as an adjudicator, clinician, and consultant across the country. She is excited for the upcoming season with the Marching Scarlet Knights.

Kevin Cotter
Kevin Patrick Cotter proudly serves as Director of Bands at Matawan Regional High School in Aberdeen, NJ. Mr. Cotter holds a Master’s Degree in Wind Conducting from Messiah University and a Bachelor’s Degree in Music Education with Honors from William Paterson University.

Mr. Cotter is currently pursuing a doctoral degree, DMA in Wind Conducting at Rutgers University. On euphonium, Mr. Cotter performed exclusively with Atlantic Brass Band from 2005-2012, and won two National Championships. Throughout his student life, Mr. Cotter is grateful to have studied with excellent mentors: Matthew J. Paterno, John Palatucci, and Aaron VanderWeele on euphonium; and in wind conducting Dr. J.Craig Davis, Dr. Travis J. Weller, and Dr. James Colonna.

Kevin and his wife Lorraine, also a music educator, and their children Michael, Margaret, and Elizabeth reside in Neptune, New Jersey. In his spare time, Mr. Cotter is an active member of Free and Accepted Masons of New Jersey and does not enjoy writing about himself in the third person.
Adam Wilson
Rutgers Requsted Photo.jpeg
Adam Wilson has been educating students around the country for ten years.  He is currently pursuing his DMA in Wind Conducting at Rutgers University.  Mr. Wilson holds a Master's Degree in Wind Conducting from the University of Louisville and a Bachelor's Degree in Instrumental Music Education from the University of Oklahoma.  Before coming to Rutgers, Mr. Wilson taught elementary, middle, and high school band in Louisville, Kentucky, where he started the band program at the Grace James Academy of Excellence.  After his undergraduate degree, Mr. Wilson joined Teach for America and taught high school band and choir in Chicago, Illinois.  He also served as a Chicago Public Schools Fine Arts Advisor, All-City Director, and Chicago Teachers Union Representative.  Mr. Wilson has studied conducting and rehearsal technique with mentors including Dr. Frederick Speck, Dr. Amy Acklin, Dr. Michael Raiber, and Dr. Debra Traficante.  Mr. Wilson studied trombone throughout his degrees with Dr. Brett Shuster and Dr. Irvin Wagner, which included opportunities to travel and play throughout the country and record with a variety of other instrumentalists.  In his free time. Mr. Wilson enjoys playing basketball, catching up on his backlog of video games, and feeding treats to his two cats Omega and Sushi.
bottom of page