Tony Lechner ~ Executive Director
Founder and resident director at Hadley, Northampton, Brattleboro
Tony Lechner is the founder and creative director of Rock Voices, Inc. An award-winning director, composer, performer, and educator, Tony brings his passion for singing to all of the groups he works with. His specialty is vocal harmony, and he has a talent for making learning music easy and fun. Tony has a masters degree in jazz composition and arranging, and custom-arranges all of the music for the choir. As a middle and high school teacher, Lechner created 5-Alone, a high school jazz a cappella group that won numerous DownBeat, CASA & CARA awards and performed around the globe, including at the North Sea Jazz Festival, Monterey Jazz Festival, IAJE Toronto, IAJE New York, IAJE Los Angeles, and Disney World.
Tony is also a freelance composer and sound designer, having scored many a project for Boston-based animation company Fablevision, and his original songs have gained international recognition (he’s even had one in a movie!). Tony is now dedicating his time and energy to providing people of all ages with more opportunities to sing.
Nate Altimari ~ Capital Region, NY
Nate Altimari has spent the past 20 years working in vocal music. As an arranger he has worked with high school, collegiate and professional groups all over the country, garnering many awards and features on “best-of” compilation albums. As a director he has founded and led many groups to international acclaim and brought unknown groups to the height of awareness in the a cappella community.
Nate is an award-winning vocalist as a member of his group Firedrill! which is based in Boston, MA. As a clinician, Nate has led workshops and masterclasses in vocal performance, stage performance, rehearsal techniques, ensemble singing, arranging and vocal percussion at festivals all over the country, including SoJam, VoCal Nation, N.E. Voices, Voices of the 603, Kettering, Ohio A Cappella Festival, Clarkston Michigan A Cappella Festival and others.
Nate currently works as a vocalist, Voice Actor and producer in Albany NY where he and his family have settled.
James Boratko ~ West Hartford, CT
Until his retirement from IT Management, music was always Jim’s second career. Even so, he managed to perform with Grammy Award-winning artists Paul Halley and Paul Winter at Ozawa Hall at Tanglewood and the Cathedral of St. John the Divine in New York City. He continues to sing throughout the area with the award winning choirs of Joyful Noise. Now he is a full time musician, serving as Organist and Music Director for the First Church of West Hartford, directing the Choral Club of Hartford, playing keyboards for the classic rock band, Still Kickin and the Big City Horns, and piano for the swing band Simply Swing, as well as several other groups.
Jim’s forte is to combine singing excellence with the joy of performance. He is fond of providing challenges to his groups that are just beyond their comfort zone, so that, after they have achieved them, they can grow in self confidence and ability. He strives to bring a visual element into his groups’ performance, so both they and the audience can experience the song beyond just singing and listening. Leading the West Hartford Rock Voices chorus is the perfect opportunity to combine his talents, experience, and passion.
Mark Barstow ~ Portland, OR
Even as an elementary schooler Mark Barstow wanted to rock. He fired his piano teacher at age 10, set a boom box on the family piano, and let Billy Joel teach him to play by ear as he sang his heart out. Since then he’s been a composer, solo and choral singer, and rock band leader. He earned his bachelor’s degree in vocal performance at the University of Massachusetts, where he was an original member of the Acafellas – the first singing group of Rock Voices founder Tony Lechner.
In Oregon, Mark has sung with Choral Cross-ties, Portland Baroque Orchestra, Oregon Ballet Theater, and the Portland Symphonic Choir, where he was also a soloist. He also worked on liturgical recordings for the Oregon Catholic Press and provided private vocal instruction. However, his favorite musical endeavor in Oregon so far was the decade he spent leading a rock band.
Now Mark is excited about blending his musical passions and vocal experience into just the right combination: directing Rock Voices Portland.
Connie Galli ~ Auburn, MA
Connie Galli is recently retired after a successful 35 year career at Shepherd Hill Regional High School in Dudley, Massachusetts. One of the pioneers of the show choir genre in Central Massachusetts, Connie’s choirs have earned national recognition for their high standards of performance and trend-setting shows. She is looking forward to expanding her music career as director of the Auburn Rock Voices, adjunct instructor at Anna Maria College, and as a clinician and adjudicator on the national show choir circuit.
Bob Thies ~ Keene, NH
Bob Thies is an award winning trombonist who has spent almost 30 years working as a musician, vocalist, actor, producer, and stage tech for local theater and production companies, and independent musicians in both Vermont, and California. Bob is the head of the music department at St. Joseph’s Regional School in Keene, New Hampshire, where he directs their middle school chorus, beginning and advanced bands, and teaches general music education to grades Pre-K to Grade 4. He’s a multi-instrumentalist who writes and arranges for vocal and instrumental groups of all sizes.
Bob studied music composition and performance at The College of Marin in Marin County, CA, and at The College of The Canyons, in Los Angeles, CA., and for ten years, he was the lead trombonist and guest vocalist for the award winning San Francisco based swing band, Lee Press-on & The Nails. He has shared a stage with such acts as The Village People, The Osmonds, Gwen Stefani, Third Eye Blind, Smashmouth, Big Bad Voodoo Daddy, and many others.
When Bob isn’t blasting 80s vinyl at ear piercing decibels, or helping his wife, Bethany, wrangle their four children, he continues his pursuit of the ultimate cheeseburger.
Mike Winslow ~ Framingham, MA
Michael Winslow is currently A Teaching Artist at Greater Hartford Academy of The Arts and Artistic Director of the Hartford Gay Men’s Chorus. Prior to coming to his return to Connecticut, he was the Show Choir Director at Mt. Zion High School in central Illinois for 6 years. Throughout his 17 years of teaching, Michael’s groups have won numerous awards at both the local and national level. Michael is a graduate of The Hartt School in West Hartford, Connecticut where he was a member of the Chamber Singers directed by Richard Coffey. He also studied piano with Luiz DeMoura Castro. Michael attended Boston University for his graduate studies. Michael currently resides in Waterbury, CT. He is an active private teacher, accompanist, soloist, clinician, and arranger.