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High School Instrumental and Vocal Music

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James Chwalyk

Mr. Chwalyk is a graduate of Montclair State University, where he earned Bachelor of Music degrees in Music Education and Music Theory/Composition with a Minor in Microtonal Music, and The College of New Jersey (TCNJ), where he earned a Masters degree in Educational Leadership with a concentration in Instruction. He is an active performer on trombone, euphonium and keyboards in the northern New Jersey area and continues to write both original compositions and new arrangements for a variety of groups. Mr. Chwalyk directs the Lyndhurst High School Concert, Marching and Jazz Bands as well as the Lyndhurst Summer Music Program and teaches Music Theory. He is also the Pit Orchestra Director for the Lyndhurst High School Musical.

In his spare time, Mr. Chwalyk enjoys hiking, strategy games, and learning new languages.

Elena Wise

Ms. Wise is a graduate of Rutgers University in New Brunswick with a degree in Music Education from Mason Gross School of the Arts. She has taught in both the state of Illinois as well as New Jersey. Ms. Wise has taught both vocal and instrumental music in Lyndhurst. She has been the district choir director and led many concerts at that level, including several middle school musicals, before moving up to LHS. She looks forward to having a great school year!


Middle School Instrumental and Vocal Music


Connor Coffey

Mr. Coffey is a graduate of Kean University, where he earned a B.A. in Music Education, and The College of New Jersey (TCNJ), where he earned a Masters degree in Educational Leadership with a concentration in Instruction. He directs the LMS Concert and Jazz Bands in addition to serving as Music Director for the Middle School Musical and advisor for the LHS Ultimate Frisbee Club. Mr. Coffey can be found actively performing around New Jersey in his rock band. Besides music and Frisbee, he has many passions such as fitness, traveling, and baseball. LET'S GO METS!

Brian Lang

Mr. Lang is a graduate of The College of New Jersey with a degree in Music Education. He first joined the Lyndhurst Music Department in August of 2015, and is now in his 9th year of teaching in the Lyndhurst Public Schools. Throughout the years, Mr. Lang has worked in each Upper Elementary School, the High School, and now currently works as the LMS Choir and Chorale director at Lyndhurst Middle School. In addition, Mr. Lang is the publicist for the LHS Musical, as well as the Vocal Director of the LMS Musical. Mr. Lang looks forward to another wonderful year!


Elementary School Band and Music Class


Jake Newton

Mr. Newton is a graduate of William Paterson University from May of 2022 where he earned his Bachelors in Music Education K-12. But he has been teaching music since high school through offering private tutoring of his fellow classmates throughout high school and college. This is his first year at Lyndhurst Public Schools and is very excited to roll up his sleeves and teach the higher elementary school students the beauty and joy of music. Throughout high school and college Mr. N helped to form a handle of groups that would perform for the entire school, was director of music in the music organization he was apart of, and was very active in the theater programs that were offered.

In his spare time Mr. N likes to garden, read, and practice piano!

Eric Knitel

For the past 30 years, Mr. Knitel has been employed as a professional singer, musician, voice-over artist and theatrical performer for NY, regional, and national companies as well as an artist-in-residence in numerous schools in the tri-state area. He also co-founded a community theater company, St. Anne Stages, and continue to serve as an assistant director of music and a freelance church musician since his graduation in 1988 from Rutgers University, Mason Gross School of the Arts, in New Brunswick, NJ.

Prior to teaching music here in the Lyndhurst Public Schools, Mr. Knitel also taught music in the Carlstadt Public School, for the Emerson School District, and for St. Anne Parish School in Fair Lawn, NJ.

In September 2003, the opportunity arose for Mr. Knitel to begin teaching music in grades K-8 at St. Anne’s Parish School in Fair Lawn, NJ. He immediately realized his professional performing experience and his extensive knowledge and love of music and theater was a perfect match for the educational arena. This realization prompted the shifting of his career goals from performer to educator. At the same time, Mr. Knitel began the process of gaining alternate route certification through the State Department of Education and currently holds a "highly qualified" Teacher of Music certification.

When it comes to teaching and education, Mr. Knitel has had some strong influences and role models. They all have had a hand in his personal formation as an educator and a teacher. He has been very fortunate over the years to have many friends and colleagues as mentors, including employers, other teachers and his best friend — his wife — who is also a music teacher. Mr. Knitel has been married to his wife Christine for over 30 years and together they have two beautiful daughters Julia (27) and Elena (23). Their daughter Julia starred as Carole King in the North American Tour production of "Beautiful, The Carole King Musical" and is now on the National Tour of "Come From Away," while their daughter Elena is a recent college graduate, achieving a BFA degree in Production Design/Costume Design at Montclair State University and is now working as a dresser at the Metropolitan Opera.


Other High School Music Courses and Color Guard


Nick Cardone

Mr. Cardone is a graduate of Rutgers University in New Brunswick where he earned a Bachelor of Music degree in Music Education. At Rutgers, Mr. Cardone also was a member of the Rutgers University Glee Club in addition to his primary studies on clarinet. As a woodwind player, he can be found playing in a variety of musicals around New Jersey. Mr. Cardone is excited to be able to share his passion for music with the students and faculty at Lyndhurst High School.

Gina DiMaggio

Dr. Gina DiMaggio is a graduate of Northeastern University, where she earned a doctorate in education. She also has a master’s degree in education from The College of New Jersey and a bachelor’s degree in English from Thomas Edison State University. She was named Bergen County Teacher of the Year in 2022-2023 and Lyndhurst High School Teacher of the Year in 2021-2022. Along with Elena Wise, she was voted Most Comedic Teacher in 2012 by her students. In addition to being the Color Guard advisor, she is also an English teacher at LHS, as well as a member of the Equity Steering Committee and the advisor/coach for the Mock Trial Team, Model United Nations, and JV Cheering Team. She also frequently makes cameo appearances in the high school musicals! She was fortunate to be able to participate in the LHS Color Guard as a student in the early 90s and performed in Montreal, Disney World, and Universal Studios. She is excited to be able to continue with Color Guard as an advisor and watch her students have those same opportunities!