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RON CASTONGUAY (b. 1971)

 

An innovative music educator and accomplished musician, composer, conductor and performer, Ron Castonguay was named Director of the Arts and Music Director at The Frederick Gunn School in 2019. Ron teaches all levels of Vocal Ensemble, String Ensemble, and Concert Jazz Band as well as AP Music Theory and provides private music instruction. He is responsible for the leadership and development of the school’s Visual and Performing Arts programs and champions the growth and integration of the arts and community through the new Thomas S. Perakos Arts and Community Center. As a result of these efforts, the school has developed collaborations and maintains partnerships with local arts organizations, including Pilobolus, Sherman Chamber Ensemble, the Litchfield Jazz Festival and Litchfield Jazz Camp. Prior to his arrival at Gunn, Ron served for 23 years as Department Chair for the Performing Arts and Music Director for grades 9 through 12 at Gulliver Preparatory School in Miami, Florida. There, he created and directed the school's String Ensemble and Symphony Orchestra, Wind Ensemble, Jazz Ensemble, Jazz Combo and Vocal Ensemble. His ensembles performed at Lincoln Center, Carnegie Hall, Walt Disney World and Universal Studios, the Strathmore Center for the Performing Arts and other notable venues, and consistently earned top marks at district, state and national music festivals. Ron holds a bachelor's degree in music theory and composition from the University of Miami (Florida). He is a professional saxophonist, experienced conductor and published composer. He conducted the professional run of “Into the Woods” at the Adrienne Arsht Performing Arts Center in Miami in 2015 and performed an alto saxophone solo with the Miami Symphony on Gershwin's Rhapsody in Blue. Ron’s compositions have been performed numerous times and span a wide array of ensemble genres, from instrumental to choral, and in all musical idioms, from classical to contemporary to jazz. His compositions are currently available at JWPepper.com and LeapYearMusic.com. One of his choral works, Trust In The Mercy Of Your God, was debuted by the University of Miami Chorale under the direction of Jo-Michael Scheibe, and a concert of Castonguay's compositions and arrangements were presented at the University of Miami's Gusman Hall in 2009. 

 

Most recently, Ron released his new book, "Rhythmic Sight-Reading: The Tik-A Tee Method," on March 15, 2024. It is a 172-page spiral bound method book for any and every ensemble, focusing only on rhythm and time signatures, from basic to advanced, with over 346 practice exercises, all accompanied by over 363 supplemental MP3s. Learn more here!

 

Ron has been, or is currently, an active member of the National Association for Music Education, American String Teachers Association, Connecticut Music Educators’ Association, Jazz Education Network, Florida Orchestra Association, Florida Vocal Association, Florida Bandmasters’ Association, Florida Music Educators’ Association, Florida American String Teachers Association, and the Florida Schools Music Association.

 

As a saxophonist, Ron has released two self-produced CDs of original music in the contemporary jazz genre; 1998’s Subtle Touch and On The Right Track, released in 2008. He is also a studio musician, most recently performing all of the saxophone parts on Kate Nauta’s Holiday LP.  Ron’s music is available on Pandora, Spotify, iTunes, and CDBaby. He performs live as a solo artist as well as a member of a jazz duo called Perfect Manhattan, and two jazz/blues/funk bands called Front Burner and The Roxtones.

 

Ron is available as a commissioned composer (any idiom), a guest conductor (any genre), and a professional saxophonist (classical or jazz). 

Ron resides in Washington, CT, with his wife, Melissa, and their two daughters, Siena and Summer.

Notable Conducting Venues

  • Graceland Performing Arts Center, Memphis, TN

    • Wind, String, Vocal and Jazz Ensembles

  • National Civil Rights Museum, Memphis, TN

    • Vocal Ensemble

  • Hard Rock Restaurant, Memphis, TN

    • Jazz Ensemble

  • BB King’s Restaurant, Orlando, FL

    • Jazz Ensemble

  • Strathmore Center for the Performing Arts, MD

    • Wind, String, Vocal and Jazz Ensembles

  • Adrienne Arsht Performing Arts Center, Miami, FL

    • Professional Orchestra for run of "Into The Woods," Carnival Theater

  • Lincoln Center Avery Fisher Hall, NYC

    • Wind, String and Vocal Ensembles

  • Jazz at Lincoln Center’s Allen Room, NYC

    • Jazz Ensemble

  • Osceola Center for the Performing Arts, FL

    • Wind, String, Jazz and Vocal Ensembles

  • Performing Arts Center in Atlanta, GA

    • Wind, String, Jazz and Vocal Ensembles

  • Carnegie Hall, NYC

    • Wind, String and Vocal Ensembles

  • Atrium outside The Metropolitan, NYC

    • Jazz Ensemble

  • Walt Disney World & Universal Studios, FL

    • Wind, String, Jazz and Vocal Ensembles

  • Performances with National Music Festivals

    • Wind, String, Symphonic, Jazz and Vocal Ensembles

      • WorldStrides Heritage Festival of Gold, Dixie Classic National Adjudicators’ Invitational, OrlandFest, MemphisFest, Battle of the Jazz Bands, Lakeside Jazz Festival and others

Achievements and Accolades

  • 18 Consecutive years of Consistent Superior Ratings (MPA and Solo & Ensemble Festivals)

    • Florida Orchestra Association’s District/State Music Performance Assessments for String Ensemble

    • Florida Bandmasters’ Association’s District/State Music Performance Assessments for Wind Ensemble

    • Florida Bandmasters’ Association’s District/State Music Performance Assessments for Jazz Ensemble

    • Florida Vocal Association’s District/State Music Performance Assessments for Concert Choir

  • 22 Consecutive years of attendance to the Music Educators National In-Service Conference in Tampa, FL

  • 22 Consecutive years of student participation in the Florida All-State Music Festival across all ensemble genres

  • Student selection to NAfME All-National Ensembles (Orchestra and Chorus) – 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020

  • Conducted the professional run of “Into The Woods” at the Adrienne Arsht Performing Arts Center in Miami, FL

    • 28 performances, January – February, 2015

    • Responsibilities included attaining/auditioning orchestra musicians, rehearsals, score editing/adaptation, performances

  • Music Theory & Ensemble Director at the University of Miami’s 2004 Summer Choral Camp

  • Performed alto saxophone solo with the Miami Symphony for the performance of Gershwin’s “Rhapsody In Blue”

  • Performed alto, tenor and bari saxophones on Kate Nauta's holiday LP release in 2019

  • Clinician at the 2022 & 2023 CMEA All-State Music Festival and In-Service Conference

  • Clinician at The Midwest Clinic 2023

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