2020-2021 BOARD MEMBERS
Cathy Zack started playing French horn in 6th grade. She attended Oberlin College as an English major, but was able to take horn lessons at the conservatory and play in the band and wind ensemble. She joined the Civic Orchestra right out of college in the fall of 1981, and has played third horn in the orchestra ever since then except for 5 years when she attended medical school in New Hampshire. She has enjoyed the music and the lifelong friendships that the orchestra has brought to her life—she actually met her future husband, John, in the orchestra when he joined as a trumpet player in 1988. They have 2 teenage children, Dave and Arianna, who play in their school bands. Cathy is a family physician, after 25 years in primary care she now works as a night hospitalist at Middlesex Hospital.
Dani Heller Zero
Dani has been playing with CONH since 2010. She holds a bachelor’s degree in horn performance from the University of Hartford’s Hartt School and master’s in public policy from SCSU. Because Dani doesn't know what she wants to be when she grows up, she's again continuing her education -this time in data analysis, at SNHU. An active freelancer across the state, Dani has played with various groups such as the Connecticut Symphonic Winds, Beth el Symphony, NHCO, and the American Chamber Orchestra. In 2013, Dani appeared on America’s Got Talent with the 3 Penny Chorus and Orchestra. Originally from Long Island, Dani works at Yale University and lives in Hamden with her husband Dominick, their three rabbits: Bwub von Boopwafel, Vienna & Brexit Höppendorf, and a gecko.
Denise Martino is a veteran music educator and freelance flutist, piccoloist, and vocalist. She is a recently retired elementary music teacher, who specialized in both instrumental and choral music in the East Haven Public Schools. During her tenure, she was featured in Who’s Who Among America’s Teachers, and was nominated for East Haven’s Teacher of the Year and the Grammy Music Educator Award. Denise holds Bachelors and Masters Degrees in Music Education from Central Connecticut State University, and is certified in Orff-Schulwerk pedagogy. She has enjoyed playing with the Civic Orchestra of New Haven since 2019, and also performs with several local bands, various pit orchestras, in church, and volunteers her talents at area convalescent homes. She has had a private flute studio since high school, and has prepared many students for college and beyond. Denise is a Lifetime Member of the National Flute Association.
Ciara Picard Cohen
Ciara Picard Cohen began her teaching career in Hartford as a PreK-8 Music and Orchestra Director. Currently, Ciara works at Francis T. Maloney High School where she has been an Orchestra Director and Music teacher for the past six years. She received a Bachelor of Music in Music Education and Violin/Voice Performance at The Crane School of Music at SUNY Potsdam. She will be continuing her education at The Teacher’s College at Columbia to receive her Masters in Music & Music Education. She has been the recipient a fellowship from the Dalio Foundation to study Aesthetic Immersion and Arts Education at Lincoln Center. Dedicated to growing her orchestra program, she has also been directing the City Wide Orchestra in Meriden since 2013. She and her husband Alex reside in Killingworth, CT where they have two sons Jackson and Charlie.
Laurie Ongley has played viola in the Civic Orchestra of New Haven since 2016 and has been a board member since 2017. She works in concert production at the Yale Institute of Sacred Music, where she manages the Yale Camerata and the ISM’s choral library, and performs multitudinous other tasks to help make concerts happen. Ongley earned a Ph.D. in musicology and a B.A. in music, both from Yale, and has variously worked as a music teacher, an editor, and a publications manager.