Home arrow Bios
Biographies

 

marcnewest.jpgMarc Trachtenberg
Founder/Director

The inspiration for Rock-a-Baby came after years of working with children of all ages and recognizing a need for early childhood exposure to music.  Trachtenberg made a career as a piano teacher by day and gigging keyboardist by night.  With a B.S. in Music Education from N.Y.U. and a strong desire to enrich children’s lives through music, Trachtenberg expanded his career as Music Director for several plays and music programs at schools and community centers in Rhode Island and New York.  He became the accompanist for Looking Glass Theater, a touring group that brings theater to underprivileged schools and communities.  He co-created a children’s musical theater class at the JCC in Manhattan, co-wrote children's musicals The Lady & the Ladle, and Hood, a production of Robin Hood for the Wheeler School in Rhode Island.  He has performed with Jay and the Americans, The Blues Brothers, with cover bands, The Tremors, The Free Downloads (who appear in the feature length film: The Comedian , 2017) and recording artists including PT Walkley.  Marc has also composed and performed for television and web (Gillette, Ad Council, Hasbro, Team Umizoomi), and even appeared as the voice of Keanu Reeves on MTV's Celebrity Deathmatch .  Trachtenberg’s diverse and extensive experience culminates with Rock-a-Baby – a unique and enriching musical adventure for you and your child.
 
 
DanielTepperBio.jpgDaniel Tepper
NYC Regional Manager
Teacher, Guitar, Vocals, New York
 

Daniel started working with children at his first summer job as a day camp counselor, and he’s loved doing it ever since!  As an actor/musician, he has performed in his fair share of children’s musicals, most notably in NYC’s Fringe Festival Encores Series with Super Sidekick! The Musical, and through the Northeastern Children’s Theater Company.  He has taught drama and music at Camp Airy in Thurmont, MD. Daniel is a proud graduate of NYU, and has fostered his love of comedy by studying at the Upright Citizens Brigade Theater and Magnet Theater.

 
emily.jpg
Emily Siagel Jabbawy
Boston Regional Manager
Teacher, Vocals

Emily Siagel Jabbawy was born and raised in  a musical home in Newton Massachussetts and currently works at The Dance Academy of Siagel Productions as the Director of their early childhood program, Little Beats, teaching dance as well as Music & Movement to infants and toddlers. She has a passion for music, dance, and children and contagious enthusiasm for the Rock-a-Baby band. Emily is thrilled to be following her dream of working with children and sharing all the love that music has to offer and can’t wait to ROCK OUT with you and your little ones!

 
 bencaplan1.jpg Ben Caplan
Teacher, Piano, Vocals, New York

Ben is an actor and musician in the New York City area. He was born and raised in Baltimore, Maryland where he began playing piano at age three. Ben studied piano at the preparatory program at renowned Peabody Institute and was accepted into the Carver Center for Arts and Technology’s magnet acting program for high school, where he discovered his love of coaching his fellow students and composing. After high school, Ben was accepted and attended New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts, where he trained in Practical Aesthetics at the Atlantic Theater Company’s Atlantic Acting School. Ben has worked as a music director at New York University, Feinstein's/54 Below, and in the New York Musical Theatre Festival. When he’s not performing, composing, or music directing, Ben works in the greater New York City area as an audition coach specializing in youth coaching for magnet programs, summer programs, and college auditions.

 
calebest.jpgCale Israel
Teacher, Keyboards, Vocals, Newton
 
Cale plays Harmony, the keys of the Rock-a-Baby band and he never skimps on humor. Part comedian, part expert musician, Cale brings a creative flare and musical expertise to Rock-a-Baby. A graduate from the New England Conservatory, Cale is a versatile musician who enjoys playing the drums, the piano, and exotic instruments. He may be super-sized, but he's VERY popular with the Rock-a-Babies and their families.
 
 
 
 
 

rachelbest.jpg

Rachel O'Connell
Teacher, Vocals, Rhode Island

Rachel O'Connell first fell in love with Rock-a-baby when she brought her daughter to a class in 2014, and by 2015 she had joined the band. Rachel has been performing since she was old enough to climb onto tables and belt out songs from Mel Brooks films and Gilbert & Sullivan operettas. Since then she trained as a founding member of the Indianapolis Children's Choir, and she has performed in chorales, orchestras, and numerous plays and musicals at the college, community and professional levels. She studied theatre and music at Washington University in St Louis. She has also studied guitar at Old Town School of Folk in Chicago and ukulele at Rhody Center for World Music and Dance. Rachel and her husband love to sing and play music at home with their own two Rock-a-babies Sol and Matilda. 

 

BrendanBio.jpg
Brendan O'Grady
Teacher, Keyboards, Vocals, New York

Brendan O'Grady is so happy to have Alisa finally write his bio after working for RAB for 5 years. He has been playing piano for children for more than a decade and is Associate Musical Director and sometime show director and writer for The Story Pirates. He also plays bass for, and has recorded and toured with, artists including The Bloodsugars, Blue Harvest, Johnny Flynn, Michael Bram, Geoff Hartwell and Yonrico Scott. He fulfilled a childhood dream when he was able to perform with The Blues Brothers. In the fall of 2014 he played bass for the Off-Broadway production of FOUND at the Atlantic Theater Company.

 

Olivia Petzyolivia.jpg
Teacher, Vocals

 

 

Olivia loves spending time with kids so much that she often meets them the very second they're born! She's a birth doula, singer, actor, improviser, and chess teacher in NYC.  Olivia performs improvised musicals at the Magnet Theater, where she's been a house team member since 2012. Olivia spent two years co-starring in the off-Broadway sketch comedy hit How to Be a New Yorker and hosts many events around the city, including the annual Bryant Park Spelling Bees. She has a BFA in Musical Theatre from Point Park University in Pittsburgh and has worked regionally as an actor in many plays and musicals. Singing, dancing and playing instruments with the Rock-a-Babies is the highlight of her week!

benpoolepic.jpgBen Poole
Teacher, Guitar, Vocals, Rhode Island

At 19 years old, Ben is now the youngest member of the R-a-B band! He's a Rhode Island native and has had a passion for music and the guitar for over 10 years. In high school, he started playing live shows at nursing homes and retirement centers around New England. Through these performances he discovered a potential for music to brighten the lives of others. He has a strong interest in music education and is thrilled at the opportunity to introduce musical concepts to young children. Ben is psyched to be rocking out (as Rhythm) in Sharon, Providence and Warwick this session!

 
 
damien.jpg
Damien Scalise
Teacher, Guitar, Vocals, Boston
 

Damien Young Scalise has been working as a guitarist, singer-songwriter, and music teacher since 2009. He received his Bachelor's degree in Jazz Studies from Ithaca College in 2013, having studied with Steve Brown, Michael Titlebaum, and Peter Chwazik. Since then, he has been pursuing his Master's degree in Jazz Studies from New England Conservatory, which he will receive in May of 2015, studying with guitarist/improvisor Joe Morris and composer/improvisor Anthony Coleman. Damien loves working with children, especially within the context of music. He has always believed in the power of communication through music and has found a great outlet for communicating with little ones who can't yet speak in Rock-a-Baby! 


benny.jpg
Benny Tilchin
Teacher, Guitar, Vocals, Rhode Island
 
Benny Tilchin has been a member of many musical acts over the years, including Wordsworth, Dingo, The Mammoth Jammoth, Lil' Jo
nny, Five Guys Twelve Shoes, The Free Union Band, The Stone Enders, and Banjovi.  He is the found
er and sitting chairman of SOFTAMERICA (society of free theatrical and musical entertainers redefining interactive community
arts), and writer/director/conductor of the Open Air Funk Opera.  Benny is currently running the SOFTAMERICA Free Funk Recording Studio in Rumford, RI.  He knows that today's Rock-a-Babies are tomorrow's heroes.
 

mattwhyte.jpg

Matt Whyte
Teacher, Guitar, Vocals, New York

Matt Whyte is thrilled to be joining the NYC Rock A Baby Band this winter. Pete Seeger was known to have remarked that playing for children throughout his long career was what brought him the most inspiration…and Matt considers advice from Pete Seeger hard to top. Matt works full time as a composer, producer and performer in Brooklyn, where he lives with his wife and unborn baby girl. Among his endeavors as a musician, Matt has travelled around the world with his band Earl Greyhound and more recently as guitar and keyboard player for Joan as Policewoman. He sings Brazilian music every other week in Williamsburg but understands little of what he sings.

courtney.jpg

Courtney Woods
Teacher, Vocals, Rhode Island
 

Courtney Woods began her musical career singing along to Disney Sing-Along VHS tapes using the living room coffee table as a stage.

Today Courtney still loves the spotlight. She is the lead singer of a funk/soul cover band, I’d Hit That. She also proudly performs with Rhode Island’s local Rocky Horror Picture Show shadow cast, RKO Army.

Courtney loves working with children. She teaches private swim lessons for all ages and is studying to become a speech pathologist.

 

 

 

Rhythmbio.jpg Rhythm
Puppet, Back-beat
 
Rhythm was created in 2007 along with his friends Melody & Harmony.  He’s the blue puppet with the hula skirt hair, but don’t think he’s sad.  Rhythm is the heartbeat of the music; the pulse; the driving force behind the song, so he’s got nothing to be unhappy about.  He’ll also lead you in dance if you let him. He was spotted Hokey Pokeying near a 7-11 in Hoboken, doing the Twist in Nigeria with the Uyot, and napping under a parachute in Brazil with a caxixi by his side.  He’s been drumming since he was born and supplying the comic relief when things get tough at Rock-a-Baby.  Look out for Rhythm moshing in your nearest pit.
 

 

melbio.jpg
Melody
Puppet, Vocals
 
Diva, and proud of it.  She’s the pink, pretty puppet with the blond hair, purple eye shadow, polka-dot headband and a voice from the heavens...  And she knows it!  Watch out Gaga and Madonna: Melody might not be on stage at the Super Bowl, but all the Rock-a-Babies know her by name.  Don’t let her ‘Type A’ personality fool you, though.  She’s sweet and charming and knows that anyone (and almost any instrument) can sing the melody too, so she’d be happy to have you sing with her any day.  Whether it’s playing the Musical Riddle, or belting her solo hit “That’s Me,” it seems like Melody is always ready for the spotlight!
 
 
 
Harmonyharmbio.jpg
Puppet, Piano

He’s shy, funny, cute, and weird.  He’s Harmony.  And he’s the foundation upon which any great song is built.  Take a hit like the Rock-a-Baby opening number:  it wouldn’t be much without him banging out those chords on piano to make a solid base for the Melody.  He knows that without him you’d probably start singing off key.  He loves it when the Theme of the Week is announced so he can start working on his new collection (did you know he’s already got sixty gardens, some of the most extraordinary bugs in the world, and two hands?)  He’s been working on his stand-up and his poetry too… just don’t ask him for any examples.

 

 

 


 
 
©2008 Rock a Baby. All Rights Reserved.
Site Design: Daniel Cohen Designs