Song and Beat Team
Meet The Song and Beat Team
Ernesto Abreu - Executive Coordinator / Instructor
Ernesto was born in New York's East Harlem and grew up during the 1970's and 1980's surrounded by music. He began his formal music education when he was five years old. He studied African, Afro Haitian, Afro Puerto Rican, Afro Cuban, and Afro Dominican drum culture from some of the greatest percussionists in New York and around the world. Ernesto taught himself drum set, piano, and guitar by the age of sixteen. He is a well-versed percussionist, playing Conga, Bongo, Djembe, Bata, Timbal, Tambora Dominicana, and many other instruments. He was a member and co-writer in Cooly's Hotbox, Antibalas, and Topaz. He has performed all over the U.S., Canada, England, Europe and Japan. Ernesto received a BA in Music from SUNY Purchase College. He is passionate about educating the young about the unique beauty, creativity, and genius in Pan African Drum Culture music.
Shari Honig - Program Coordinator
Shari is an educator, former dancer, and most importantly, a mother of two. She is a graduate of Hunter College with a B.A. in Cross-Cultural Literature and an M.A. in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages. Currently, Shari is the ESL teacher and International Student Advisor at Professional Children’s School and a consultant for the Juilliard Pre-College Division. Shari has taught both elementary and middle school in the New York City Public School System, community based English as a Second Language and literacy classes, and has done extensive private tutoring. In the private sector, Shari was Director of Operations for On Location Education, the nation’s premier tutoring service for children in the entertainment industry, and administrator of the School for Young Performers, a New York State registered non-public school catering to "pre-professional" and "professional" children. As a graduate of Professional Children’s School herself, Shari possesses the unique perspective of the young artist and the experienced educator. As an advocate for the educational needs of children, Shari has presented seminars at Nickelodeon and the Disney Channel and published an article in Young Performer Journal on the reality students face balancing academics and extracurricular activities. Shari’s experience with teaching diverse populations, educational administration, curriculum development, and child advocacy was recently recognized when she was recipient of the Professional Children’s School Alumni Award. Shari is dedicated to sharing her passion for the arts and education through Song & Beat.
Goussy Celestin - Instructor
Brooklyn-born, Haitian-American, Goussy Célestin has studied and performed, for the last two decades, as a jazz pianist, vocalist, and dancer. Goussy performs with Retumba!, a traditional folklore music and dance ensemble dedicated to spreading the rhythms and movements of the Caribbean and African Diaspora. She can currently be seen around the city with her own ensemble, C.O.R. (Catalysts Of Rhythm), and with ASE Dance Theater Collective, a neo-folklore music and dance ensemble. For over two years, she served as a keyboardist for the Femme Nameless, a 10 piece all female Afro beat band dedicated to the tradition of Fela Kuti, and as a solo dance artist for Beauteez 'n' the Beat, an ensemble which incorporates hip hop, tap, Afro-Cuban, and jazz music/dance elements with spoken word. Goussy has opened for distinguished members of the famed Buena Vista Social Club with, Mo' Guajiro, a NYC based traditional Cuban-Son group. She has toured the U.K., U.S., and Japan. Goussy teaches music and dance around New York City in various programs for children.
Matt Baranello - Instructor
Matt Baranello is a drummer, percussionist, and composer who is equally fluent in Jazz, Afro-Latin, and American popular styles. While his primary instrument and focus is drumset, he is an equally gifted percussionist specializing in congas, bongos, timbales, and the sacred Afro-Cuban bata drums. He received a Bachelors of Music in Jazz Performance from the Manhattan School of Music in 1999. Additionally, Matt is a dedicated educator, currently on staff at Intunation New Jersey, where he teaches drumset and percussion. Currently, Matt is a member of Bryan Vargas& iYa Esta! and the Nate Lucas Group.
Julissa C. Vale - Instructor
While pursuing a degree in Marketing and Communication, Julissa C. Vale began studying music theory and percussion at the East Harlem Music School. Upon receiving her degree, the Brooklyn bred Puerto Rican continued to study percussion at the Boys and Girls Harbor Conservatory and then Drummers Collective. Her professional career started in the late ‘90’s and since has played with New York City based bands such as Goddess, Fluid, Purple Crush and Jason Michael’s Tuesday’s Child. Most recently she was featured in Emmy Award Winner Jason Samuels Smith’s A.C.G.I show at Sadler’s Wells, London. Currently, Julissa is working with boricua roots music group Tato Torres and Yerbabuena, Victor Jones’ Cultur-Versy and SEA Theatre Company. Percussion is her life and she’s a life-long student of rhythm.
Ghana Imani Hylton - Public Relations and Marketing Coordinator
Ghana Imani Hylton is a Human Resource Manager & Event Planner. She is currently employed at Susan Ulin Associates Ltd, a fundraising & event management firm for non-profits, and additionally has her own party planning business. Ms. Hylton has over a decade of experience in the Human Resources field with both non-profit and for profit organizations. She has taught effective interviewing, resume writing, staff development, performance management and other HR skills at Medgar Evers College Women’s Empowerment Summit, CityKids, and other charities. In addition, she is a published writer & performance poet whose work is included in the recent compilation book “We Got Issues!: A Young Women’s Guide To Living A Bold, Courageous and Empowered Life”. Raised in Montclair, New Jersey, Ms. Hylton now resides in Brooklyn, New York with her husband and their three children.
Michele Luc - Advisory Board Member
For 11 years, Michele Luc has worked as a trainer & Director of Training at Global Kids, Inc, where she developed curricula on social justice & international issues. She has co-coordinated gender-based programs for girls at several schools in Brooklyn, facilitated numerous peer-education programs & conducted professional development & special trainings for hundreds of educators & youth organizations interested in experiential learning. She has facilitated interactive workshops for youth & adults in New York, NJ, Arizona, California, Washington, DC, Croatia, South Africa, Norway & Haiti. She is currently consulting for several different organizations including Development Without Limits, Teatown Institute, Global Arts to Go and Positive Conflict Management Associates.
©2009 Song & Beat Inc.