Musical Leadership

Musical Leadership at a Glance (Bio below)

Nick Seifert,
 Director
Colleen Grzywacz, 
Assistant Director
Don Staffin, 
Assistant Director
Doug Brown, Vocal & Performance Coach
Debra Lynn, Music Advisor
Manny Lopez, Music Advisor
Sean Devine, Music Advisor
Dr. John Wilson, Music Advisor


-----------------------------------------

Nick Seifert - Director

Nick is the Assistant Director of the Immaculata High School Band in Somerville, New Jersey.  He shares the podium of three co-curricular Concert Bands and the 12-time USBands champion Immaculata Spartan Marching Band. Nick also directs the Jazz Band, and teaches instrumental lessons and electives in Music Technology and Music in Film.

Nick is a graduate of the University of Notre Dame where he majored in saxophone performance and biological sciences.  Nick was fully immersed in musical performance groups while at Notre Dame.  He was involved throughout college with the Band of the Fighting Irish, performing with the Marching, Jazz, Concert, and Varsity Bands, and conducting his own arrangements for the Saxophone Choir.  For his service to the band, he was awarded the prestigious Notre Dame Outstanding Band Member Award in 2020.


In addition to his instrumental pursuits, Nick sang with Notre Dame’s Christian a cappella group “Unchained Melodies”, and was elected music director his freshman year.  Under his direction, the group gained much recognition on and off campus, performing in Notre Dame’s acca-fest, producing a campus-wide Christian Unity Concert, recording a professional music video, and starting a yearly service tour, bringing their music to homeless shelters, churches, and nursing homes throughout the Midwest. 

Nick also served as the president and assistant director of the Notre Dame Handbell choir, performing with and conducting the group at masses and concerts in the Basilica, on the choir’s annual spring break concert tour, and on the group’s first recording project in over a decade.  The Notre Dame Handbell Choirs were recently named as the featured performing ensemble for the 2021 Area V Festival Conference, and Nick was named Notre Dame’s Club Officer of the Year for his service to the ensemble.

As a product of the band and choral programs at Bridgewater-Raritan High School, and a lifetime member of the Pluckemin Presbyterian Church, Nick is very excited to return home as an educator and director to the central NJ music community.
 

Colleen Grzywacz - Assistant Director

Colleen grew up in Sussex County and studied music at The College of New Jersey, earning her Bachelor of Arts in Music Education with a Vocal Concentration.  During her time at TCNJ, she was a member of the Trentones, a college a cappella group, singing with many of the group’s founders.  Colleen was also a member of the TCNJ Chorale and Concert Choir.  She was very active in TCNJ’s Opera Theatre, participating in several musicals and operettas throughout her four years.  

After college, Colleen taught Chorus, General Music, directed Select Choir, and served as the Drama Club Music Director at Eisenhower Intermediate School in Bridgewater, NJ and was named the NJ Governor's Teacher of the Year in 2011.  After Colleen had children of her own, she moved to Hackettstown Middle School where she currently teaches 5th-8th grade Chorus, 5th grade General Music, and directs two select choirs.  Throughout her time at HMS, she has helped prepare several students for honor choir auditions and has had students accepted to ensembles at the county, region, state, and eastern level.  She is passionate about providing her students with a positive and enriching experience in Chorus and building the foundation of healthy singing!  

Colleen is an active member of many professional music organizations such as the American Choral Directors Association, National Association for Music Education, New Jersey Music Education Association, and the Morris Area Choral Director’s Association.  For the past three years, Colleen has served as Manager of the Morris Area Middle School Honor Choir.  
 
Colleen has been a member of Somerset Hills Harmony since January, 2020 and has thoroughly enjoyed performing with the group.  In her spare time, she loves gardening, exercising, and spending time with her husband and three children.


Don Staffin - Assistant Director, In-House Arranger

Don has been singing, directing, and arranging for a cappella choruses since, well... a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away.  Don and his wife Chris (SHH member and leader) co-directed their a cappella group in graduate school at Cornell University. He joined Jersey Harmony Express, the predecessor of SHH, in 2011 and grew as a contributor with his vocal percussion and arranging skills.  As president, Don has led the development of a Music Advisory Board to help set the musical vision as the organization went through a complete transformation to a mixed chorus as “Somerset Hills Harmony”. 

Tapping into his contemporary a cappella pedigree, Don stepped up as the interim music director of SHH’s own contemporary a cappella ensemble, The Gold Dynamic. 

In 2017, Don and Chris became co-directors of the Bridgewater-Raritan High School A Cappella Alliance, an after-school workshop and performing ensemble for students looking to expand their musical horizons beyond traditional choral music to the world of contemporary a cappella.  He has spearheaded SHH’s longtime partnership with the Bridgewater-Raritan scholastic arts community, including the establishment of the annual "Pluckemin A Cappella Festival" held each June.

Don has published more than twenty contemporary a cappella arrangements, is a published book author and part-time stand-up comedian.  Don and Chris have four daughters, two of whom are also part of the Somerset Hills Harmony family.  Professionally, Don is an executive with a global marine and e-commerce company.


Doug Brown - Vocal & Performance Coach 

Doug has been an active member of the Barbershop Harmony Society (BHS) since 1983  and is currently President of the Atlantic Harmony Brigade. He also performs with the NYC-based Voices of Gotham and Somerset Hills, NJ choruses. Over the years Doug has served many roles. He has been as a Section Leader for multiple voice parts in multiple choruses, a Choreographer, Music VP, Assistant Director, and front line Musical Director. His performing quartets have appeared on radio, national television, and in commercials. Doug has competed in multiple competitions including qualifying for the Mid-Atlantic District contest. He has been selected to coach quartets from across the country and taught musical leaders at multiple Districts' Harmony schools and the Barbershop Harmony Society's Harmony University.  Administratively, Doug was elected and served on the Mid-Atlantic Board of Directors and the Barbershop Harmony Society International Board of Directors. In 2015, the Mid-Atlantic District inducted Doug into their Hall of Honor. 

Doug is the Chairman and CEO of Paradigm Associates LLC, a company he founded in 1985. He has appeared on television and radio and has worked with executives representing every corner of the US, Canada, Central America, Europe, Asia, and South Africa.

While at the University of Delaware, he was elected to campus-wide, regional, and national offices and was an Intern in the U.S. Senate for Sen. William Roth (R-DEL). As a high school Intern, Doug was picked up and driven around by none other than Joe Biden, a County Commissioner in Delaware.

He has won numerous awards from organizations such as the Meadowlands Regional Chamber, The New York Society of Association Executives (NYSAE), and the Trusted Advisors Network, who inducted Doug into their Hall of Fame.

He and his wife, Jill, who have two grown sons, have both been active in their Cranford, NJ community. Doug is active as both a Lector and a Cantor for St Michael's Parish.

Dr. John Wilson - Music Advisor

John Wilson has served as the choral director at Bridgewater-Raritan High School for fifteen years. His choirs perform frequently, and were most recently featured at the 2020 ACDA Eastern Division Conference in Rochester, NY. Dr. Wilson’s ensembles have performed at major venues in the New York/New Jersey area under the direction of Ryan Brandau, James Jordan, Amanda Quist, Alan Raines, Lee Nelson, and Andrew Megill, a notable example being a performance of Monteverdi’s Vespers of 1610 in March of 2018 at Princeton University Chapel. John conducted the Virginia All-State Middle School Treble chorus in 2018 and the CJMEA Region Treble Chorus in 2019. Dr. Wilson has taught undergraduate courses in conducting and music education at Rutgers University, where he earned his masters and doctorate degrees in choral conducting. During 2020-2021, Dr. Wilson had the privilege of leading the Rutgers University Choir. John served as an Associate Director at the Princeton Girlchoir organization between 2015-2018, where he conducted the Cantores ensemble. This ensemble was featured in a recording of Steven Sametz’s A Child’s Requiem in 2015 which was led by the composer. From 2014-2019, Dr. Wilson served as a faculty member at the Summer High School Vocal Institute faculty at Westminster Choir College, where he conducted the Men’s Ensemble and taught a primer in conducting.

John is inspired by the community that is created through music making and the transformative power of text and music. John has been on the NJACDA board since 2013, where his role was to coordinate the annual NJACDA High School Choral Festival with Dr. Deborah Simpkin King.

Debra Lynn - Music Advisor

Debra Lynn is a Direct-Line Scholar of Garcia-Marchesi Bel Canto, the 1800’s fundamental Italian approach to singing. She has her undergraduate degree in Voice Performance, performed in concert venues in Austria, Germany, France, Scotland, Ireland and throughout the United States, establishing her professional singing career and private vocal studio on Maui in 1997. Raised by a baritone barbershop father, trained under the Suntones in the early 60’s, it was only a matter of time before Debra would find her way back to using her skills to assist others.

Debra has been contributing her vocal production understanding to the world of Barbershop since 2010,  when she wrote her first articles connecting Bel Canto with higher-level results in The Harmonizer, presenting each year thereafter at BHS International Conventions and serving on Harmony University faculty at Belmont University in 2017/18. Her extensive coaching work has helped men and women to achieve the highest level success in all three barbershop organizations. She is author of The Bel Canto Buzz: Beautiful singing made simple! and is currently on International Faculty for Sweet Adelines International. Debra now maintains a worldwide online vocal studio and in 2018 established a Certification Training Program to
expand her impact and global vision for singing ease in this unique time of human transformation.

Manny Lopez - Music Advisor

Manny Lopez is an energetic and engaging leader in the world of music, mentoring and education.  With roots in San Antonio, Texas, Manny has traveled far and wide to engage youth in choral outreach events as well as support the musical and leadership needs of adult choral groups throughout North America.
 
He combines his collegiate studies in Music Education, career as a music educator and over 19 years of experience as a member and leader with the Barbershop Harmony Society to bring fresh perspectives in his outreach to choral communities and singers.  In Manny’s time with the BHS he has been an International Youth in Harmony committee member, director of Youth in Harmony for the Southwestern District, Director of the mixed voice chorus, the “San Antonio Chordsmen” and Director of the Southwestern District’s Youth chorus, “The Young Guns”.   He is a founding member of “The Marcsmen”, a men’s chorus that has made several appearances on the BHS international stage.  Manny is an active quartet singer, most prominently with collegiate quartet “Varsity”, the male quartet “Exclamation” and currently singing lead in mixed quartet “Southern Stride”. Most recently Manny was certified as a Leadership Facilitator for the Barbershop Harmony Society in which he engages with barbershop groups to achieve successes beyond just the music.
Copyright © 2021 Somerset Hills Harmony