Music Department Faculty BiosAlison Launhardt, Mill Road Elementary School and Linden Avenue Middle School, and Department Co-Coordinator
Mrs. Launhardt was born and raised in Hyannis, MA, and graduated from Barnstable High School in 1980. At the age of nine, she learned to play the trumpet, which she still plays today. She is a member of Bugler’s Across America, a volunteer organization whose members play TAPS for military funerals. Mrs. Launhardt graduated from Ithaca College in 1984 with a Bachelor’s in Music Education, and in 1992, graduated with a Masters in Elementary Education from SUNY New Paltz. She and her husband Larry have two children, son Parker and daughter Tyler, who are Red Hook graduates. Mrs. Launhardt has been teaching music in Red Hook since 1987. Click here to visit Mrs. Launhardt's website.Cara Silvernail, Mill Road Intermediate School, and Department Co-CoordinatorFrom an eclectic background of instrumental jazz, classical, multi-cultural, and the avant garde, Ms. Silvernail joined the RHCSD’s vocal music faculty in 2001. She brings with her the applied education of Interlochen Arts Academy, The New School for Social Research Jazz and Contemporary Music program, over 30 years of teaching and performing, and Bachelors in Performance and Masters in Education degrees from Michigan State University, and Western Connecticut State University. Her passion for music and the arts, as well as their role in enriching each student’s education, drives the Mill Road Intermediate School’s music curriculum. Click here to visit Mrs. Silvernail's website.Steve Dunda, Mill Road Elementary SchoolSince 1996, Mr. Dunda has been teaching instrumental music and band at Mill Road School where his second-year bands have earned numerous “Gold With Distinction” awards at area NYSSMA Festivals. Mr. Dunda earned his Bachelor of Music degree in Music Education from SUNY Potsdam in 1981 and his Master of Music degree in Music Performance from the University of Illinois in 1983. Mr. Dunda also earned a Diploma in Fine Arts in Music Conducting from the University of Calgary in 1994.Mr. Dunda is a Past President, Vice President, and Treasurer of the Dutchess County Music Educators Association. He is a certified NYSSMA All-State Adjudicator, and also holds memberships in the New York State Band Directors Association, the National Band Association, the Music Educators National Conference, the Percussive Arts Society, and the American Federation of Musicians. He is the Timpanist and Principal Percussionist with the Woodstock Chamber Orchestra, and “first call” substitute timpanist and percussionist with the Hudson Valley Philharmonic Orchestra. He and his wife Xuemei live in Kingston. For more information on Mr. Dunda’s teaching approach, click here to visit his website.Kyle Pogemiller, Linden Avenue Middle SchoolAndy Van Ness, Linden Avenue Middle SchoolMr. Van Ness is thrilled to be teaching instrumental music at Linden Avenue Middle School. He graduated in December 2011 from The Crane School of Music at SUNY Potsdam with a Bachelor's in Music Education, a Master's in Music Composition, and a Master's in Mathematics. As a graduate of Red Hook Central Schools, he is well aware of the exceptional Red Hook music department and is very excited to provide the experiences he loved as a student to future generations. Click here to visit Mr. Van Ness's website.Brian Zeller, Red Hook High SchoolBrian Zeller teaches instrumental music at Red Hook High School, where he leads the Red Hook High School Band, two jazz ensembles, the improv workshop, and teaches small-group instrumental and composition lessons, as well as music appreciation classes. He is the product of a fine public school music program, which he credits with providing him the skills to earn a bachelor’s degree in music composition from the Oberlin Conservatory, and a master’s in music education from the Eastman School of Music. Mr. Zeller is committed to providing high-quality musical opportunities for every Red Hook student, and giving each student the tools to find lifelong meaning and success through the study of music. Click here to visit Mr. Zeller's website.Matt Funigiello, Red Hook High SchoolMatt Funigiello is thrilled to join the Music Department at Red Hook High School as Choral Director. He received his Bachelors of Music from the State University of New York College at Potsdam's Crane School of Music and his Masters at Greensboro. He served as Choir Director at Galway Central Schools previously and has been an active Accompanist and Music Director in the Capital Region. In addition, Matt has served in the Red Hook Community for three years on staff at Camp Rising Sun, a highly selective leadership program for emerging leaders from around the world.