Jaci Giammattei is a certified music educator currently working in the New Haven Public School System. Jaci’s musical education started when she was in the 4th grade with piano lessons. She participated in middle school band and high school choral ensembles. As a RVP vocal student, Jaci studied classical voice under Dr. Louis Negri and musical theater and vocal performance under Rose Coppola-Trabandt. In 2001, Jaci began her studies at Western Connecticut State University as a vocal performance and music education student. Throughout her studies, Jaci continued to substitute at RVP studios as a vocal coach. Under the tutelage of great professors at WCSU, Jaci began to excel in the art of teaching music, as well as performing. Throughout her studies, she continued to focus on voice and piano, as well as the basics of a wide range of wind instruments. In 2006, Jaci graduated with a 3.5 GPA and was awarded a degree and certification in music education. She began her career working in Derby Public Schools and stayed in her choral, band, and general music position for three years. After budget cuts, Jaci moved to New Haven Public Schools. There, she teaches general music and keyboard, band, and chorus. With the aid of the New Haven's music department, Jaci's school was awarded the VH1 Saves the Music grant and received $30,000 in instruments for her program. Throughout her career in New Haven, she has worked closely with Yale School of Music through the Music in the Schools initiative. In 2010, Jaci graduated with a Master’s in Interdisciplinary Special Education and Special Education certification. With this degree, Jaci has been able to incorporate the different techniques for students of all abilities into her music program, making it diverse and learning focused.
Outside of her career, Jaci has worked hard at building and maintaining her private lesson business. She began teaching privately in 2005 as a substitute with RVP Studios. In 2008, Jaci worked 3 years with Connecticut Dance Theater and the Arts as their vocal coach and piano instructor. Through her private studio, Jaci has the pleasure of working with children of all ages and abilities. Her music students have been awarded Best Overall Vocalist awards and Best Overall Pianist awards at National Competitions, lead roles in musicals through the Whitney Players and local high school productions, as well as pageant winners in local Junior Miss Connecticut pageants. Miss Jaci's students have also performed at local fairs and festivals, auditioned and were accepted to sing the National Anthem at the Bridgeport Bluefish games, auditioned for THE VOICE and AMERICAN IDOL, and participated in local talent shows.
Jaci has had the honor of working with some of the great local talent in the area as well. Jaci enjoys working in musical theater and has performed in musicals such as “A Chorus Line,” “Damn Yankees,” and “Guys and Dolls,” under the direction of Act II theater at Albertus Magnus College and Educational Center for the Arts in New Haven. She has directed three shows as well, including “The Emperor’s New Clothes,” and “Music Man Jr.” In 2000, she worked with the opera program, Teen Opera New England, and helped create and perform an original opera at the Schubert Theater. Jaci has traveled the U.S. with her dance team in local and national competitions with dance and voice. Currently, Jaci plays with the cover band “Cover This” out of New Haven .
The Early Years
Michael Giammattei, also known amongst the CT music community as Mikey G, has dedicated his life to the pursuit of making music not only as a career, but also as a way of life. He's had a love of music since he was a youngster, especially gravitating towards anything percussive. This love led him to his instrument of choice, and his drumming journey began while in 5th grade of the Shelton, CT school system. However, it wasn't until middle school that he first began to experiment on the drum set. His music teacher at the time was selling a 5-piece Slingerland kit and asked him if he was interested in purchasing it. Of course he jumped at the chance to buy it and got the money from his parents to do just that. It is somewhat of an indescribable feeling when sitting down for the first time behind your very first drum set, but a feeling he tries to hold onto each time he does so in the present. Not ever taking lessons, Michael began to teach himself the intricacies of the drum set every day after school. However, during the day while at school, Michael progressed through the music program, which allowed him to become a well-rounded drummer. He was immersed in several styles of music which included Classical Concert pieces, as well as your typical Football Fight songs. Being part of the Shelton High School Drum Corp afforded Michael the opportunity to march in many parades, as well as many field shows. Being a member of the Drum Corp (and then Captain of the drum line in his Junior and Senior years), he was often given opportunities to play solos when doing field shows, usually in front of hundreds of people. This was his first introduction to how teamwork in a musical atmosphere could make amazing things happen. It was also a taste of performing in front of large audiences which was something that he would learn to appreciate later on.
The Learning Curve
He is proud to say that he is self-taught on the kit and was able to advance his abilities on his own. It wasn't until after college and a few bands later that Michael met up with his first ever drum instructor, Ron Nihoff, at a local open Mic night. Ron studied with Joe Bonadillo out of NYC and was the perfect drummer to advance Michael's drumming skills. After finishing several years of lessons with Ron, Michael set out on his own. He began playing in both cover bands and original bands just to play as much as he could and to make a little money on the side. It was at this time he met his second drum instructor, Greg Trabandt, Proprietor of RVP Studios in CT. Michael's biggest leap forward as a drummer took place at this time; not only in his playing, but also in opportunities that began to present themselves. A local group of musicians was assembled and put together with a few out-of-towners, thus making up the band Pipeline. It didn't take long for this band to do big things such as showcasing for record labels at SIR in NYC. Labels that were interested in the band were Epic, Universal, Sony and Casablanca. Though it was not meant to be for this band to make it nationally, it did give him that extra fire and push he needed to keep trying to reach his ultimate goal of making a living playing music. It was also at this time that Michael was afforded his greatest achievement to date, a write-up in DRUM! Magazine’s Oct 2005 issue. Though the article was a small one about new up-and-coming drummers, it was a moment of validation that all the hard work, time, and effort being put in was paying off, as well as a sign that showed him he was on the right track to possibly making his dreams a reality.
Experiences and Awards
Throughout the years, Michael has had many amazing experiences and opportunities. He has been in many original bands that have played as direct support for such National Recording Artists as Saliva, Bowling for Soup (which just so happened to be the debut performance of his band Our Finest Hour), The Plain White Tees, Ra, OTEP, Static-X, Split Shift, Revelation Theory, The Strokes, Cavo, Atom Smash, American Bang, The Steve Broderick Band featuring the lead singer of TSO fame, The Marshall Tucker Band, Chris Jensen, Black Jack Billy, and Keith Anderson, among others. He has performed at many local CT staples such as Toad's Place, Café 9, and The Webster Theater, as well as at universities such as Western CT State University, Sacred Heart University, SUNY Cobleskill NY, and Cornell University. Also being in one of the last bands (Calm to Chaos) to ever play the infamous CBGB's in NYC (before closing their doors) was quite a big honor for Michael and his band mates. That very same band, Calm to Chaos, was named the Best Original Rock Group by Readers Choice for the 2007 Hartford Advocate Grand Band Slam. His bands have had their songs played on CT radio stations as well as being on National CD compilations. He has had some songs he recorded drum tracks for place very high in National songwriting contests, most notably the Billboard Song Writing Contest in which he placed in the top few hundreds out of thousands. Their songs also finished in the top for many National band competitions. He was named "Best Instrumentalist" in the New Haven Advocate's Grand Band Slam Readers Poll for 2011 and his band This Time Down named "Best Punk Band". He has recorded drum tracks for several different artists/bands demos/albums including: Pipeline, Our Finest Hour, Big Ugly, David Miller, The Dominick P. Mauro Project, Tom Forst, Amadeo L. Gauthier, Chris Bickley, This Time Down, and Forgotten by Friday. In 2015, Michael's band, Forgotten by Friday was nominated for "Best Country Band" in the CT Music Awards Grand Band Slam Readers Poll and took home the title and trophy for the 2015 Best Country Band in CT. He has several albums to his credit, the self-entitled "Calm to Chaos" debut album on Horizon Music Group Recordings, the newly debuted album "Believe" with his band Forgotten by Friday and an appearance on another local artist's album, Chris Bickley's "Tapestry of Souls"also produced by HMG. This album featured: Kelly Keeling of Baton Rouge/Trans-Siberian Orchestra/Michael Schenker Group/Lynch Mob/Dokken/Carmine Appice/Blue Murder fame (on Vocals), Chandler Mogel of Outloud/Talon fame (on Vocals), Mike Vescera of Obsession/Loudness/Yngwie Malmsteen fame (on Vocals), Eric Klaastad of Trouble Tribe/Cindy Lauper/Billy Joel/Thunderhead fame (on Bass), Chris McCarvill of X Factor X/Obsession/Dokken fame (on Bass), Scott Spray of Arc Angel fame (on Bass), Michael K. Smith (on Bass), Dom Mauro (on Bass), Rick Gauthier (on Bass), Bill Holloman of Nile Rodgers/Larry Gatlin/Bruce Springsteen/Paul Simon/Slash/Elton John/Steven Tyler/Patti Lebelle/Diana Ross/Les Paul fame (on Sax & Trumpet), Gaetano Nicolosi of Iron Horse fame (on Drums), Bobby "T" Torello of Thunderhead/Michael Bolton/Johnny Winter/Grace Slick/Black Oak Arkansas/Air Supply fame (on Drums), Paul Pedroncelli (on Drums), Vic Steffens (on Drums) and B.J. Zampa of House of Lords/Obsession/Metal Church fame (on Drums). The track that Michael recorded for "Tapestry of Souls" features Michael K. Smith on bass and Mike Vescera on lead vocals.
Michael currently drums for several origional and cover bands. Forgotten by Friday is an Americana/Southern Rock/Alt-Country group like such acts as Keith Urban, Zack Brown, Lynyrd Skynyrd, and The Black Crowes. They have two albums to their credit: 2010's "Believe" and 2015's "Whiskey & Song." He also plays with the Grunge Tribute act SNAP, which pays tribute to the Big 4 of Grunge: Soundgarden, Nirvana, Alice in Chains, and Pearl Jam. Never one to shy away from a challenge, and not only being a drum instructor, Michael also actively plays with several cover acts as the #1 fill-in guy on the skins, which include styles ranging from soul/funk bands, country bands, classic rock, and modern rock bands. He is the occasional house drummer for several open mic nights, and does the occasional studio session when his talents are needed.