Todd Shafer was hired into the Instrumental Music Department staff in the fall of 2001, after finishing his degree at the University of Michigan in Tuba Performance/ Music Education. From his hiring, he spent 13 years under the mentorship of the past Director of Fine Arts, the highly awarded/recognized Ronald “Buddy” Bibeault. After Mr. Bibeault’s retirement in 2014, Todd was named the Director of Instrumental Music.
During his tenure, Todd has received numerous gold medals for his middle school jazz band and 7th and 8th grade concert bands, and high school wind ensemble at state festivals which have included performances in historic Symphony Hall in Boston and Mechanics Hall in Worcester as part of the “Gold Medal Showcase”. Each year, numerous students from his 7th and 8th grade band were chosen, as well as his current high school students, to participate in the Central District Concert Festival, which consists of ensembles made up of select musicians from all over central MA. Starting in 2011, Todd took over as the High School Marching Band Director and has continued the strong tradition of excellence receiving gold medals in his first three years at both the Massachusetts Instrumental, Choral Conductor’s Association (MICCA) Festival, and at the New England Scholastic Band Association (NESBA) Festival, where the band was crowned Division 5 Champions in 2013, winning all caption awards. Also in the 2013 season the Charger marching band won Division A at the Towson University “Bands of America” Regional Championship. The BMR Marching Band has been crowned UsBands Division IV Open National Champions in 2015, 2016 and 2019.
Nicholas Marcotte started his musical career in the Blackstone Millville school district in 2000 as a trumpet student. During his time as a student in the Blackstone Millville music program, Nicholas studied and performed under the direction of Thomas Hessney, Russ Arnold, Todd Shafer, and Ronald “Buddy” Bibeault. He also performed in the Central District and Massachusetts All-State ensembles.
Nicholas received his Bachelor’s degree in Music Education from Rhode Island College in 2014. As a member of RIC’s ensembles, he performed with Byron Stripling, Wycliffe Gordon, Ronald Barron, and Doc Severinson.
In his tenure as a teacher, Nicholas’ 7th and 8th Grade Bands and High School Jazz Band have received several Gold Medals and have performed at Symphony Hall in Boston and Mechanics Hall in Worcester as part of the MICA “Gold Medal Showcase”. He is also the Assistant Director of the Marching Band which has been awarded 1st place in the US Bands Division IV National Championship twice since he began that role.
Paula Ryan holds a bachelor’s degree in Music Education from Rhode Island Collage and a Master’s degree in Music Education from Boston University. Her primary instruments are flute and piano.
Paula directs the Hartnett Middle School Chorus. The chorus travels yearly to the State House in Boston, Ma where they perform a concert for the general public. They perform a holiday concert and a spring cabaret concert. The chorus also enjoys singing at various celebrations throughout the towns of Blackstone and Millville.
Paula assists the 6th grade band and teaches elementary flute lessons. She is also a general music teacher at the elementary level. She has been teaching private flute and piano lessons since high school. She has taught at BMR, Mt St. Charles Academy and Woonsocket High School.
Paula is organist/Pianist and music director at St Theresa’s Church in Blackstone, Ma. She has held the position since 1986. She is director of the adult and children’s choir at the church.
Paula is a lifelong Blackstone Resident. She graduated from Blackstone-Millville Regional in 1985. She and her husband Christopher have a son Oliver who is a student at BMR.
Christopher Cossuto completed his student teaching at Blackstone-Millville Regional High School under the guidance of Todd Shafer. He was grateful to be met with support from parents and faculty alike during his time with the Concert Band, Wind Ensemble, and Marching Band.
Upon graduating from the University of Massachusetts Amherst as a bachelor of music education, Chris continued to teach the Marching Band’s percussion section, running a techniques class and giving private lessons to students. Mr. Cossuto was pleased to be appointed as a middle school band director for the 2020/2021 academic school year.
Christopher is the current director of the Fredrick W. Harnett Middle School 7th Grade Band, Jazz Band, and BMR Winter Percussion Ensemble. He hopes to encourage a high level of achievement and musical success with the students while maintaining an encouraging culture and environment.
Chris has had numerous influential teachers and experiences at the University of Massachusetts studying under Thom Hannum, Ayano Kataoka, and Dr. Mathew Westgate. Outside of playing in the university Wind Ensemble, Marimba Bands, Marching Band, and Percussion Ensemble, Chris participated in the 2018 DCI World Class season with the Cavaliers Drum and Bugle Corps.