MATTHEW J. LAPINE
Founder and Artistic Director
Matthew J. LaPine is an active performer, educator, conductor, and composer in central New Jersey. He received the designation Master of Music in Choral Conducting and Music Education from Westminster Choir College of Rider University, where he studied voice and graduated with distinction. He also received his Bachelor of Music in Music Education from Westminster, studying voice and piano, graduating summa cum laude, and winning the Sophomore Piano Competition. As a conductor, Mr. LaPine has been the graduate assistant with Westminster Williamson Voices and Westminster Schola Cantorum (under the supervision and direction of the acclaimed James Jordan), rehearsal assistant for the Westminster Jubilee Singers (under the direction of J. Donald Dumpson), and he has led rehearsals and soloed with the Westminster Symphonic Choir. He has studied piano with Lillian Livingston, Francis McGuigan, and Ann Marie Nowak; voice with Marvin Keenze and Sonia Funk-Olin; and music theory and composition with Jay Kawarsky, Barton Bartle, and Anthony Kosar.
Mr. LaPine is the Founder and Artistic Director of Rise Up Chorus, a non-profit organization whose purpose is to enrich lives through human interaction using music as our commonality. He is Choral Director at Bernards High School, where his choral ensembles have received national acclaim and have performed in various locations along the East Coast. He is the Director of Camerata, an ensemble for young men in grades 7-12 with changing or changed voices, with the New Jersey Youth Chorus. He is Co-Director of Early Childhood Music Camps at Westminster Conservatory of Music, and sings professionally for the Roman Catholic Diocese of Metuchen (NJ) where he is a soloist, section leader, and guest conductor with the Festival and Chamber Choirs. Mr. LaPine’s ensembles have performed in such prestigious locations as The White House (Washington, D.C.), Carnegie Hall (NYC), St. Louis Cathedral (New Orleans, LA), Dom zu Salzburg (Salzburg, Austria), Melk Abby (Melk, Austria), Minoritenkirche (Vienna, Austria), the Roper Performing Arts Center (Norfolk, VA), the Thomas Jefferson Memorial (Washington, D.C)., in Nashville, TN, the Prairie Center for the Arts (Chicago, IL), and with such ensembles as the Canadian Brass, the Celtic Tenors, the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra, Barry Manilow, Colby Colliet, and Tori Kelly and singing the National Anthem at New York Jets, New York Mets, and Somerset Patriots games. In February, 2020, the Bernards High School Madrigals, under Mr. LaPine's direction, was heard on National Public Radio's show "From the Top."
Mr. LaPine has been published as a contributing author in multiple works, most recently the journal article “Fitting It All In” (in the national publication, Teaching Music Magazine), and he is a member of the National Association for Music Education, New Jersey Music Educators Association, American Choral Directors Association, and the New Jersey chapter of ACDA.
Mary M. McGuire
Youth Chorus Director
Mary M. McGuire is the chorus director at the Lovell J Honiss School in Dumont New Jersey, where she directs four Superior-rated choral ensembles of 6th, 7th, and 8th grade students. During her four years teaching in Dumont, Ms McGuire has tripled the choral program's enrollment to total nearly 100 students. Students under her direction are consistently accepted into County, Region, and All-State Honor Choirs.
In addition to her public school choral program, Ms McGuire has served as co-manager for the Region 1 JHS Treble Chorus in 2016 and 2017, and Bergen County MS Chorus in 2017. Ms McGuire also serves on the New Jersey Conservatory of Music Board of Directors as the Director of recruitment. Miss McGuire has appeared recently as a mezzo-soprano soloist in performances of Handel's Messiah and Dixit Dominus; Mozart's Missa Brevis in F and Vesperae Solennes de Confessore; and Schubert's Mass in G.
Ms McGuire holds a Bachelor of Arts in Music Education (Magna cum Laude) from the John J. Cali School of Music at Montclair State University, where she studied choral arts with Heather Buchanan, voice with Anastasia Swope, and microtonal music with the late Dean Drummond. She resides in Morris County with her husband.
Administrator and Collaborative Pianist
Thomas DeLessio is Director of Liturgical Music for the Roman Catholic Diocese of Metuchen and the Cathedral of St. Francis of Assisi. Under his direction are the Cathedral Choir, three Parish choirs for children in grades K-12, the Diocesan Festival Choir and the Diocesan Chamber Choir, of which he is the founding director. He coordinates and directs combined choirs for major Diocesan Liturgies, and has conducted choirs on pilgrimage to St. Peter’s Basilica, Rome and the Basilica of the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception, Washington DC.
Mr. DeLessio is organist and pianist for nearly 400 liturgies each year. He is an organ recitalist, has given two organ dedication recitals, and has performed “Symphony No. 3” (Organ) by Camille Saint-Saëns on three occasions with the Tim Keyes Consort and the Young Players Philharmonic.
Mr. DeLessio received his undergraduate degree in Music Education and Organ from Westminster Choir College in Princeton, NJ and his graduate degree in Liturgical Studies from LaSalle University. He maintains a private piano and organ studio in Whitehouse and is also accompanist for the Somerset Hills School District and for the male ensembles (Coro Vivo and Camerata) with the New Jersey Youth Chorus.