Who We Are

Who We Are


Matt LaRocca - Executive Director

After working as a mentor with Music-COMP for 10 years, Matt LaRocca became the Executive Director in 2017. Matt is on the composition and theory faculty at the University of Vermont and is the Artistic Director and Conductor of the Champlain Philharmonic Orchestra. Committed to new music and innovation, Matt is the Chair of Creative Projects for the Vermont Symphony Orchestra.

As a musician, Matt is equally at home in both the rock and classical worlds. His classical work has been commissioned by groups such as the Vermont Symphony Orchestra, the New Jersey Youth Symphony, and the Great Falls Symphony Orchestra. He also works as an arranger for rock bands and has created orchestral arrangements for artists such as Guster (his work can be heard on their OMAGAH! album), Kat Wright, Francesca Blanchard, Matt Flinner, and Henry Jamison. Artistic residencies include an expedition to the high arctic through The Arctic Circle organization and composition/improvisation teaching residencies at schools throughout New England and California. Matt performs as a violist and guitarist in classical, rock and improvisation ensembles, and most often can be seen playing the electric viola through his array of guitar pedals. He holds degrees in chemistry and music from Middlebury College and a doctorate in music composition from Boston University.

For more information, visit www.mattlarocca.com

Matt LaRocca - Executive Director




Stefanie Weigand - Director of Education

Stefanie Weigand has served as President and Membership Chair of the VT chapter of ACDA (American Choral Directors Association). She currently serves as a member of the NAfME Council for Choral Education and Youth R&R Chair with the ACDA Eastern Region. She enjoys working as a presenter, clinician, and guest conductor across the region and is currently the conductor of the Northern VT University - Johnson Chorale. Stefanie has been involved with Music-COMP as a performer and teacher since January of 2013 and is thrilled to be stepping into the role of Director of Education. She was the 2014 recipient of the VMEA’s Outstanding New Music Educator Award and received a Masters of Music Education from Castleton University.
After completing her BFA in Musical Theatre from Ithaca College, Stefanie toured nationally with a Children’s Theatre Company and worked on stage and off as a performer, pit musician, and music director in New York. Since moving to Vermont, she has appeared as a vocalist, pianist, and music director for various organizations including TURNmusic, the Vermont Philharmonic, Stowe Theatre Guild, Lyric Theatre, Apex Ensemble, the Green Mountain Mahler Festival, The Saturn People's Sound Collective, Burlington Civic Symphony Orchestra, the Green Mountain Opera Festival, and more. Stefanie’s work as a studio vocalist can also be heard on a number of albums released through Lane Gibson studios and Lovetown Recording.
She now enjoys living in central Vermont with her husband and theatre partner-in-crime, along with their two daughters (plus their dog, cat, and chickens).

Learn more at: www.stefanieweigand.net
Follow Stefanie on Facebook:  @stefanie.weigand.music
And on Instagram: @bodybreathsound 



Stefanie Weigand


Erik Nielsen's compositional catalog includes works for chorus, orchestra, wind ensemble, solo instruments, chamber music of many configurations, works for dance, film and electronic music. His works have been performed in Canada, Europe, Asia, South America and Australia as well as many locations in the United States and have been performed by ensembles including A Far Cry, the Amabile, Chiara, Emerson and Ying String Quartets; the National Symphony Orchestra;  the Killington and Manchester Chamber Players; Bread and Puppet Theater; the Vermont Contemporary Music Ensemble; Vermont Opera Theater, Vermont Symphony; Vermont Youth Orchestra and Village and Northern Harmony. He has won awards from ASCAP, the Vermont Arts Council, and in 1991 was chosen Vermont Composer of the Year by the Vermont Music Teachers Association. Mr. Nielsen lives in Brookfield, Vermont and teaches music theory and composition with the Vermont Youth Orchestra, the Monteverdi School and privately. He is senior mentor with Music-COMP. More info.


Elzy Wick is the mother of three sons, the oldest Alex 10 a student at Champlain Elementary School in Burlington, VT has had pieces performed at Opus 24, 25, 26, and 27 and is working on piece for submission to Opus 28.   Elzy has a background in Public Relations, Fundraising and Communications. She was formerly employed by the Robin Hood Foundation of New York, NY and CNET Networks in Boston and New York. She is a marketing consultant for Find&GoSeek, an online resource for families looking for family-friendly activities in Vermont.  She is on the board of directors for RunVermont, the Capital Campaign Committee for the King Street Center, and runs several fundraising events for Champlain Elementary School each year.   Elzy teaches water aerobics at The Edge gym, plays tennis, and is an avid runner.   She leads a running program for kids -- Ready, Set, Run! - in the Spring.   Elzy and her husband, Jeff, moved back to Vermont in 2003 to raise a family after spending several years in New York City and Boston. More info.


Michael Close is a composer, cellist, and teacher living in Worcester, VT.  He graduated from Bennington College in 2003 with a bachelor's degree in music composition and a master of arts in education. He teaches cello and chamber music classes at the Monteverdi Music School in Montpelier.  He has been a composer-mentor with 'Music-Comp' since 2004, a program which encourages and supports students in composing and arranging music. He is also the music teacher at Moretown Elementary School where he teaches everything from band to chorus to general music classes.  Michael plays cello with a wide variety of orchestral and chamber groups around Vermont.  He is the section leader of, and has been a soloist with the Montpelier Chamber Orchestra.   He is a prolific composer and some of his most recent original musical works have been performed by the Montpelier Chamber Orchestra, The Birmingham Bloomfield Symphony, The Vermont Contemporary Music Ensemble, and the Eleva Chamber Players. More info.


Matt Podd is a pianist, composer, and educator based in Brooklyn, NY. He holds degrees from The Eastman School of Music and Ithaca College. As a pianist Matt specializes in jazz, gospel, pop, musical theatre, and choral accompaniment. He has appeared on stage with some of New York City’s finest musicians at Town Hall, St. Patrick’s Cathedral, Symphony Space, the 92nd Street Y, Rockwood Music Hall, and Shapeshifter Lab. As a composer, arranger, and orchestrator Matt Podd has a wide range of experience, from children's choir to jazz ensemble, chamber groups to full orchestra. He has composed and arranged music for the Young People's Chorus of New York City, the New York Pops Orchestra, Jake Shimabukuro, Stephen Kellogg, Milton Delug, and countless other artists, choirs, and ensembles. Matt works regularly with his twin brother Adam on a variety of composing, arranging, and recording projects. They have worked as co-composers on several new musicals including Nightfall On Miranga Island, featured in NYC Fringe Festival 2012 Encore Series. More info.
Hilary Goldblatt lives and teaches in Vermont’s capital city, where she enjoys working with young musicians and composers at Main Street Middle School and Montpelier High School. Hilary earned a Master’s in Flute Performance from the University of Michigan School of Music in Ann Arbor. As an undergraduate, she performed with the Yale Symphony Orchestra in venues ranging from Carnegie Hall to Korea. Hilary enjoys making music locally with Music-COMP, the Opera Company of Middlebury, TURNmusic, PipeDreams flute quartet, and Saturn People’s Sound Collective. She and her husband have two young sons and love to ski and sail.

Suzanne Garrity

Carol Weston

Previous Members:

Bill Reilly, President and Treasurer

Bill Reilly has 25+ years of management experience in the music & consumer products industries. He started as a sales rep. for Capital Records, and then went to RCA Records in a field management capacity. From there he went on to lead sales & marketing departments at six different high tech start ups. Most recently he was COO of Sibelius software where he became aware of The Vermont Midi Project (now called Music-COMP). He was an early corporate supporter and joined the Board of Music-COMP after leaving Sibelius. He resides in Castle Rock, Colorado with his wife Marie-Anne. More info.

Sandi MacLeod, Founding Member, Executive Director

Sandi MacLeod, Ed. D. taught music in public schools in Winchendon, MA, Ramona CA, Milton VT and at Founders Memorial School in Essex Town, VT, one of the schools where the Vermont MIDI Project was first implemented. Sandi taught at the University of Vermont. She has been active in state wide initiatives to improve music education: Music Scope and Sequence committee, Teachers Education Resource person, Vermont Arts Assessment Design Team, the Web Project, Vermont Standards and Grade Expectations in the Arts. Siince 1998, Sandi has presented workshops frequently at technology and music conferences all over the United States and Canada.  In 2011 she co-authored materials for Inside Music: Exploring Composition, a composition curriculum built on lessons learned from her many years as a teacher and project coordinator of the Vermont MIDI Project along with co-author Matt Podd. As a founding member of the project, Sandi continues to explore her passion for music composition, online mentoring and the process of critique and reflection. More info.

Anne Hamilton, Founding Member and Vice-President

Anne K. Hamilton is recently retired as Choral Director and Music Theory and Composition teacher at North Country Union High School. Prior to that, she spent nine years as an itinerant K-8 music teacher in four Vermont schools, and six years at the middle school level.  She holds a Bachelor of Music Education from Ohio Wesleyan University, a Masters Degree in Creative Arts in Learning from Lesley College, and Kodaly Certification from KMTI at Hartt School of Music.

Anne is a founding member of the Vermont MIDI Project, now called Music-COMP.  She has presented workshops and in-service training at Music and Technology Conferences in New York City, Seattle, San Diego, New Orleans, Nashville, Dallas, and many other cities throughout the United States. She has been a clinician at four National and six Eastern Division MENC Conferences as well as state conferences in Mass., Texas, Maryland and Florida. Anne has contributed to several articles and books about music and technology, including three MENC publications, and teaches at the Summer Arts and Technology Institute at Champlain College. In 2009 she was named the Vermont Music Educator of the Year, is a former President of Vermont ACDA, and was also featured in Choral Director Magazine as a "Choral Director of Note".

Zachary Avshalomov

Zack is a fourth generation professional musician, stemming from a long line of classical composer/conductors. Being involved in music and the arts his entire life, Zack received his Bachelor's degree in Jazz and Environmental Studies from Ithaca College, and currently resides in Los Angeles, CA, where he actively performs and records. On the business side, Zack played a pivotal role in the creation and development of USA Projects (now HatchFund), an online micro-philanthropy platform benefiting artists, from conception to launch and then through a period of significant growth, resulting in over $5 million raised to date. Before that, Zack served as the Business Development Manager at Online Fitness (.com) for half a decade, which equipped him with a broad understanding of the online enterprise. As a musician, entrepreneur, and environmentalist, Zack brings a versatile and fresh approach to problem solving, and is honored to serve as an active member on Music-COMP’s Board.

Leora Black

Leora Black PhD., is known locally for her service to the Colchester-Milton Rotary Club and her devotion to Music-COMP, an organization that inspired her youngest son to pursue music composition in college. Leora is a licensed marriage and family therapist and licensed clinical mental health Counselor at Counseling Connection, PLC, in Colchester, an affiliation of independent practitioners.


For just a few dollars per month, you can help ensure students will be writing music with Music-COMP for years to come. With your support, students throughout Vermont will continue to see their music come to life!