Last month, we celebrated the visual artists in our community, and hopefully brought everyone a taste of what it will feel like when we can all get to know each other when we are able to mingle on campus once again.

As promised, we are continuing to dedicate a few Feature pieces to different parts of the HMS community, so while we wait out this pandemic in our own homes, we can still cultivate connections with one another.

This week, we’d like to introduce some of the musical artists that have chosen to make High Meadow part of their lives. Those featured here today by no means represent all of the talented musicians here at HMS, but will hopefully provide a sense of how important music is to our shared experience.

Be sure to read through to the end of this message to learn about our plans for establishing a Music Center at HMS, and get involved in the effort to enrich our community with the joy of song for years to come!

High Meadow Parent Musicians

Dean Jones
Dean has been holed up in his straw bale recording studio in Rosendale for the entire pandemic. It’s pretty cozy in there. Dean has made all kinds of music but for the last 20 years or so his main focus has been making music for kids (Rhys in 8th grade and Riley, Class o

f 2018) with his band, Dog on Fleas, and as a producer for other musicians. He also worked for 15 years as the one-man band for the environmental-themed giant puppet group, Arm of the Sea Theatre.  One of Dean’s proudest accomplishments is convincing his friend Bill Childs to start a non-profit record label (Spare the Rock Records) to release fundraising albums, starting in 2010 with “Many Hands: Family Music for Haiti” after the devastating earthquake. The label has raised over $200,000 for various organizations.

This year, Dog on Fleas was nominated for a Grammy in the Children’s Music category.  Together with The Okee Dokee Brothers (also produced by Dean) and singer Alastair Moock, the Fleas have declined their nominations, in protest over the lack of diversity in this year’s nominations.


Matt Bauder
Matt is a saxophonist and composer formerly based in Brooklyn, NY.  He spent 15 years in NYC before relocating with his family to Kerhonkson, NY this past March. He has led the band Hearing Things for the past 5+ years, melding his love for mid-century rock and roll, soul, and experimental outer limits. Bauder mainly plays saxophones, but his multi-instrumental skills on clarinets, flutes, guitars, and electronics have helped him to find a place in widely diverse settings as a side musician and collaborator. He has performed and recorded with many iconic figures in avant-garde and rock music including Anthony Braxton, Colin Stetson

, Rob Mazurek, Arcade Fire, Father John Misty, Iron and Wine, Haim, Vampire Weekend, and Italian pop star Jovanotti. His wife Kate Urcioli is also a music industry professional and their daughter Gina started the nursery 2’s program this fall at H

igh Meadow.

Listen to Matt’s music on Spotify and Youtube!


The Music Program at High Meadow School

The High Meadow music program is central to our mission and vital to our community. It engages students’ innate curiosity and encourages creative, personal expression, fostering collaboration across ages and interests, and builds intelligence that can be applied across disciplines. Apart from the music curriculum, making music together has always been a part of our school culture; at our whole-school gatherings, huddled together at the heart of our campus on Fireside Fridays, as part of our send-off to each year’s graduates, and at any and all celebrations – music enriches our lives and the life of our community. All of the images you see here are from the pre-COVID “Before Times” and represent a reality we all dream of longingly, and look forward to enjoying together before long.

Our music program is led by Victor Lissabet.

Victor joined High Meadow in 2017 and teaches Nursery through 4th grade General Music, as well as Advanced Band and Upper School electives at High Meadow. Prior to moving to the area, he practiced as a board-certified music therapist at California State University, Northridge Music Therapy and Wellness Clinic, working with groups and individuals with a variety of developmental needs. Victor also directs shows at the Rock Academy in Woodstock.

Over the past three years, Victor has worked with Susan to expand and enrich our music program to ensure all HMS students have the opportunity to cultivate an authentic appreciation for music and also connect with each other and our multicultural world through music.

In the nursery through 1st grades, Victor allows these budding musicians to explore a variety of rhythmic and melodic instruments from around the world. Students learn music history and basic theory, writing and performing songs of different genres and cultures.

More specific instrumental instruction begins in 2nd grade with violin, then a choice between guitar and ukulele in 3rd, a choice of several wind instruments in 4th, and then a slew of musical electives in the upper school (5th-8th) that include voice, percussion, wind, strings, and keyboard.

By the time students graduate from High Meadow, they’ve not only had a broad range of experiences with different instruments (including their own voice!) they have had the experience of making decisions based on their own interests and curiosity, and stuck with that choice, often overcoming frustration to hone their skills and increase resilience.

While Victor is our full-time music teacher, we have other part-time musician educators working in our upper school elective program, supporting performance-based events, and stepping in to help integrate music into our curriculum across the grades:


Ken McGloin
Ken has been a working musician since the age of 14. “It was the first regular job I ever had. I’ve always made my living playing music.” Some of the earliest songs he learned when his mother got him an electric, semi-hollow guitar at the age of 12, were of old blues recordings by Mississippi Fred McDowell and Freddie King records. Though heavily steeped in the Blues and Rock ‘n Roll, his primary focus shifted toward jazz during high school, which led him to the prestigious University of Miami music program. He ventured into classical guitar, studying under Enrique Gardano. He has led bands ranging from swing to hip-hop, folk to funk, and his “hard-core alternative” band, Lunchmeat, played the main stage at the 1994 25th Anniversary Woodstock Festival. He is a film and TV composer with credits that include popular TV shows such as “The Real World”, “Road Rules” and “The Oprah Winfrey Show” to name a few. Ken has been teaching music electives, after school classes, and individual lessons at High Meadow since 2009.


Roberto Rodriguez
Roberto was born in East Havana Cuba, and is a percussionist, composer and educator. Roberto is the winner of the BBC Radio 3, the most prestigious world music award, and is known for his groundbreaking new music which gives voice to his diverse cross-cultural roots. Roberto has performed with musicians from Joe Jackson, Rufus Wainwright and Paul Simon to jazz improvisers John Zorn, Marc Ribot and Lester Bowie from The Art Ensemble of Chicago. Drawing inspiration from Jazz to Afro-Cuban and Eastern European Jewish music to the Andaluz of North Africa, Roberto’s original musical approach shows how he can easily navigate different styles and genres composing music that is seamlessly crafted, redefining his own style he calls “all world music”. This year, Roberto teaches Spanish language to our K-8th grade classes, integrating rhythm and music into the curriculum. In past years, he has also taught percussion electives in the upper school, and is guaranteed to be involved in any opportunity to bring the community together with the entrancing and dance-inducing sounds of his drumming!

The Jesse Kolber Music Center

In 2017, architect Kurt Sutherland and sound studio designer Chris Bowman worked with High Meadow representatives James Zoutis, Victor Lissabet, Ann Ganter, Susan Paynter, and Norman Barron to design a new Music Center for High Meadow and the surrounding community.

The namesake for this new building is Jesse Kolber, the beloved step-son of our Head of School, Dr. Susan Paynter. When he tragically and unexpectedly passed away in November 2017, the Paynter-Kolber family chose to create a lasting tribute to him in a music center here at High Meadow School.  Music was a driving force in Jesse’s life. He graduated from SUNY Purchase with a degree in music composition and production, and devoted himself to supporting music and musicians. In the words of close friend and bandleader Andy Stack, “Jesse loved seeing talent and championing it. He had no hidden agenda — only to share love and vibration.”

The vision for the Jesse Kolber Music Center is to carry on this pure intention of sharing the joy that music brings a community. The Center will offer space, equipment, and instruction for young people to express their ideas, concerns, and dreams through musical composition, production, and performance. Young people today are cause-driven, and confidence gained from the creative process and the performance of original music often supports the expression of social activism. The Jesse Kolber Music Center will allow us to establish an array of unique programs that will include a music therapy program. Music is a universal language that bridges differences and is a powerful means to express that which is difficult or impossible to put into words. The music center will also serve as a cultural center for the surrounding community, and provide a recurring revenue source for the school—through renting rehearsal, recording, and instruction space, and hosting community workshops.

Please support us in making this vision a reality. Any donation will help us get closer to our goal, and we are $150,000 away from being able to launch the construction process. All donations to High Meadow School, a 501c3, are tax-deductible.