Our Directors

Gary Bernice

Gary Bernice is the director of Springfield’s High School of Science and Technology Concert Band, Jazz Band, Wind Ensemble, Symphonic Band, and Stomp Percussion Ensemble. As co-founder and co-director of Springfield’s Mentoring Through Music Program (MTM) and Peer-2-Peer Mentoring Program (P2P), he also coaches chamber ensembles (small music ensembles) and teaches group and individual music lessons after school.   

Mr. Bernice graduated Summa Cum Laude from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst with a Bachelor of Music degree in Music Education and holds a Master of Music degree in Music Education, also from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. In 2006, Mr. Bernice completed an honors thesis through the Commonwealth Honors College at the University of Massachusetts titled Students’ Beliefs About Relevant Curriculum in the Secondary Urban Music Classroom.  

In 2008, Mr. Bernice received the Pioneer Valley Distinguished Teaching Award. In 2011, he was selected to receive the Yale Distinguished Music Educator Award and in 2012 he was the recipient of the New England Public Radio Arts and Humanities Award. In 2013, he was the subject of a University of Massachusetts research study on transformative teaching. He was also chosen as a quarterfinalist for the first annual Grammy Music Educator Award in 2013. In 2015, he was honored with the University of Massachusetts Distinguished Young Alumni Award and the William Pynchon Award for distinguished service to the Springfield community. In 2018, Mr. Bernice was honored with a distinguished membership to the Sigma Alpha Iota International Music Fraternity as a "Friend of the Arts." 


He is a member of the National Association for Music Education, the Massachusetts Music Educators Association, the Massachusetts Instrumental and Choral Conductors Association, and served on the Massachusetts Board of Elementary and Secondary Education Arts Education Advisory Council. He resides in Springfield with his wife Elise and their three children—Lily, Hannah, and Isaac. He remains an active musician and an active advocate for the Springfield community. 

Carissa Lueth


Ms. Lueth graduated from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst where she performed in multiple ensembles on a variety of instruments, and served as tuba field staff and tuba section leader of the Minuteman Marching Band. She takes pride in her well-rounded playing, performing on euphonium, trombone, tuba, clarinet, saxophone, voice, and percussion.

Ms. Lueth enjoys traveling with her music students in mind! In 2018, she traveled to Scotland, England, Montreal where she saw and met South American jazz vocalist Lorraine Klaasen, and Ireland where she received Irish traditional tin whistle lessons. In 2017, she toured Ireland with the UMass Wind Ensemble and performed alongside a local secondary school, and in Christ Church Cathedral. After the tour, she visited Belgium to tour the International Musical Instrument Museum, Denmark, Scotland, and England. Ms. Lueth loves reaching out to the community through music. She has coordinated instrument show and tell events for elementary students, hosted food and clothing drives to serve underprivileged people in the community, and currently performs in community bands in western Massachusetts.