Mike O’Leary - Front Ensemble Tech
Mike is a New Jersey based educator, musician, and arranger. He is currently a 4th and 5th grade instrumental music teacher in the Edison Public Schools district in Edison, New Jersey.
Mike has worked with numerous marching bands located in New Jersey, some of which include Sayreville War Memorial High School, J.P. Stevens High School, Bridgewater-Raritan High School, and Old Bridge High School. Mike is currently the Percussion Caption Head at Edison High School.
Mike holds a bachelor’s degree in Music Education with a concentration in percussion from Rutgers University, where he studied with Joe Tompkins, Javier Diaz, Mike Truesdell, Ian Sullivan, and Kyle Zerna. Mike was also a performer with the Bushwackers Drum and Bugle Corps from 2015-2019, Imperial Dynasty in 2018, United Percussion in 2018 & 2021, and Carolina Crown in 2018.
Andy Pham - Front Ensemble Tech
Andy Pham is a Front Ensemble Educator based in New Jersey, and a Computer Science Major at Rowan University. He started his marching career at Upper Darby High School in Upper Darby, PA from 2015-2019. He also went on to perform with Cadets2 in 2017 and 2018, United Percussion in 2018, 2019, 2022, and currently 2023, and lastly The Cadets in 2022.
Andy has just completed his third season as the Head Front Ensemble Tech at Deptford High School, and is continuing his second season as the Front Ensemble Tech at Highland Regional High School. Andy is excited to join and work alongside a team of excellent members and educators in the Hawthorne Caballeros!
Valeri Liiva-Katz - Front Ensemble Tech
This will be her 26th year with the Hawthorne Caballeros Senior Drum and Bugle Corps. She has had many various positions including writer, arranger, section leader, member, conductor, and instructor. She has won the percussionist of the year award in 2004, DCA championships in 2003, 2021 and DCA high percussion award in 2022.
Valeri grew up outside of the Philly-area, Media, PA. She marched with The Crossmen of Pennsylvania for 3 years and aged-out with The Blue Devils of Concord, California. She completed her undergraduate degree in Music Education from West Chester University of West Chester, PA. She taught Lone Star Junior Drum and Bugle corps of Commerce, TX. She completed her masters in Music Education at The University of North Texas, Denton, TX.
Valeri has taught music throughout NJ since 1998; marching bands, indoor drum lines, concert bands, jazz bands, pit orchestras, instrumental lessons, choirs, general music, and the Little Kids Rock program. She is presently a full-time instrumental music teacher and band director at the Elizabeth Public School District in Elizabeth, NJ since 2009, working at Toussaint L’Ouverture Marquis De Lafayette School No. 6.
Lornaa Morales - Front Ensemble Tech
Lornaa Morales is a multi-instrumentalist currently pursuing a Bachelor of Music Therapy Degree at Montclair State University. This will be her third season teaching our Front Ensemble. Lornaa is an Alum of the Hawthorne Caballeros performing from 2017 to 2019, and served as section leader from 2018 to 2019. Lornaa is also a member of the United Percussion Front Ensemble, performing in 2019, 2020, and was section leader for the 2022 season. Lornaa is now the Front Ensemble Caption Head for United Percussion 2. Lornaa has taught at various high schools in NJ, and is currently a Front Ensemble Instructor at Madison High School, and a multi-instrumental music instructor at Vienna Music School in West Orange. In her Music Therapy studies, and clinical practice Lornaa is learning to use music and technology as a mode of helping individuals seeking Mental Health and Wellness Support.
Jeancarlo “Jay” Rodriguez - Front Ensemble Tech
Jay is a marching percussion educator currently residing in Newark, DE. Jay has worked with various high school programs in the NJ area and is currently a front ensemble technician at United Percussion, Hawthorne Caballeros and the University of Delaware.
Jay performed as a member of the Raiders Drum and Bugle Corps (2013), United Percussion (2014-2018), and Carolina Crown (2016-2019). Throughout his time in the activity, Jay has had the honor of learning from many influential instructors including Steve Ballard, Ian Hale, Jim Ancona, Thom Hannum, Marcus Neudigate, Alex Kluttz, Dave Osworth and Annie Chernow.
Jay is a recent graduate of Suffolk University with a bachelor’s degree in marketing.