Markus Grae-Hauck, Music Director
Markus Grae-Hauck grew up in Germany. He has also lived in France and Spain, figured out the meaning of life, co-founded an opera company, conducted over 70 musical theater productions (including a national tour of Irving Berlin’s “I Love A Piano”), and played keyboards in a rock band while dressed in a neon pink jumpsuit. His original piano compositions have been featured on syndicated German network radio and distributed worldwide on the compilation CD “le classique abstrait” published by Universal Music.
Markus graduated summa cum laude from Berklee College of Music and holds a Master of Music degree in choral conducting from the Boston Conservatory. He has served UU congregations in Boston, Brooklyn, and Queens. He is active in the NY metro area as a pianist, conductor, and vocal coach; and he is delighted to be working with the vibrant UU Congregation at Montclair.Markus's Blog
Stearns Matthews, Assistant Music Director
Stearns Matthews is a MAC and Bistro Award-winning vocalist based in New York City. His critically acclaimed debut album SPARK won the 2015 Bistro Award for Outstanding Recording as well as the LaMott/Friedman Manhattan Association of Cabarets and Clubs Award for Outstanding Recording. He also won the 2015 MAC Award for Best Male Vocalist. Stearns holds a Bachelor of Music in Music Theater at Westminster Choir College in Princeton, New Jersey under the tutelage of Dr. Christopher Arneson and Nova Thomas.
During his time at Westminster Choir College, Stearns also sang at such venues as Carnegie Hall, Riverside Church, NJPAC, and Spoleto Festival USA with the Westminster Symphonic Choir and the esteemed Westminster Choir, under the batons of Dr. Joseph Flummerfelt, Harry Bickett, David Robertson, and Dr. Joe Miller. He was a featured soloist with the Westminster Choir and Westminster Schola Cantorum.
Stearns has appeared several times in the Mabel Mercer Foundation’s 21st Annual Cabaret Convention, held at Jazz at Lincoln Center and The Town Hall. Stearns also serves on the Board of Directors of the Manhattan Association of Cabarets and Clubs (MAC). Raised in a Unitarian Universalist Congregation in Meriden Connecticut, he is happy to have found a spiritual and professional home at UU Montclair.
Thomas Parente, Composer-in-Residence
Dr. Thomas J. Parente is the author of the college textbook Essential Materials for Class Piano, and co-author of Experiencing Choral Music. A former vice president of the Dalcroze Society of America, he has presented workshops and clinics across the U. S. and abroad. Tom is an associate professor of piano and voice at Westminster Choir College and maintains an active studio of private piano students in Montclair.