About Us

Mission Statement

The DCC Academy of Music is committed to providing individual lessons, ensembles and group classes for the musical enrichment of students with both avocational and professional ambitions, as well as the needs and interests of the diverse populations from across the region, including children and life-long learners.



Jenny Park

Jenny Jieun Park, Director


Jenny Jieun Park is an educator, administrator, as well as active soloist and chamber musician. She is passionate about working with artists, audiences and students on and offstage. After completing the Teachers College Teaching Artists Certificate Program at Columbia University, cultivating a responsive pedagogy of artistry, she continues to study meaningful pedagogical philosophies and effective teaching and learning frameworks as an Ed.D candidate. Temporality and flow in music education are her particular scholarly interest. Prior to her recent appointment at Teachers College as an adjunct instructor, she served as an adjunct instructor of piano studies at NYU Steinhardt of Culture, Education, and Human Development.

In addition to her collegiate working experiences, her passion for working with all ages drew her to have served as a head supervisor of the Afro-Latin Jazz Association at New York Public Schools and a head teacher at the Hollingworth Preschool. She recently started learning American Sign Language, in the hope to serve even more diverse student bodies and the community. More broadly, she served in many administrative roles for various summer music festivals across the country. Recently, she served as the creative director at Performers.Lu, an artist management company, where she hosts recital series for Luxembourg artists in New York City and as the artistic coordinator of the Lunigiana International Music Festival in Italy.

Christian Lopez

Christian Lopez, Assistant


Christian Lopez is a DCC alumni and SUNY College at Oneonta graduate with a B.A. in Music Business. In addition to music business he studied guitar, violin, and music production & audio engineering. He held various internships in marketing and audio, and a VP position for Oneonta’s American Marketing Association Chapter that would help mold his interests in marketing for live music events and philanthropic events.

Amongst all of Christian’s interests and ambitions, his passion for music production nearly trumps them all. Upon graduating from SUNY Oneonta, he went on to pursue his music ambitions by working as a part-time audio engineer at a local studio in Beacon, NY. However, he eventually left the studio to pursue other ambitions while continuing his own personal projects. He spent a year substitute teaching with thoughts of continuing his education to pursue a career as a music teacher. Instead, he eventually found his way back to DCC and is now the assistant for the Academy of Music.



Ben Basile



Ben Basile is an electric/double bassist, educator, and composer from New York's Hudson Valley. He holds a Bachelor of Science in Jazz Studies from SUNY New Paltz as well as a Music Performance Certificate from DCC. Basile has performed in over 30 countries across 6 contents, averaging 150 performances a year. Basile is also a founding member of “The Poughkeepsie Jazz Project,” a group which has hosted a weekly jazz jam session in Poughkeepsie for over nine years running. www.benbasile.com

Debbie Contini



Deborah (Debbie) Contini earned a Bachelor of Music Education from the University of Utah, a Master of Music Education from Ithaca College and a Master of Special Education from SUNY New Paltz. She has shared her love of music with students from preschool through college and continues to do so even now in retirement. She was a member of the Army National Guard in both Utah and New York. Deborah was the first woman to command a National Guard Band as bandmaster. After 32 years of service, Debbie retired at the rank of Chief Warrant Officer Three. She is currently a member of a number of local musical performance groups and is on the board of several music organizations. But she is most proud of and grateful for her loving family and wonderful friends.

Melissa Dvozenja-Thomas



Melissa Dvozenja-Thomas holds a BA in Acting for Theatre, a BA in Music Performance, as well as a Master’s in Public Administration and a Master’s Certificate from the International Institute of Event Management. After undergrad, she performed all over the East Coast before settling back down in the Hudson Valley to grow her family. Melissa is currently the director of development and marketing for Arts Mid-Hudson. She lives in LaGrange with her husband and two children. Her home is full of music, whether it be from the most recent Broadway show, her love of crooners like Tony Bennett or the latest Disney soundtrack.

Jennifer Henion



Jennifer Henion brings a wealth of business experience to her advisory capacity with the DCC Academy of Music. She plays in several musical ensembles, including Mid-Hudson Community Orchestra and more recently Jazz Band at DCC and Southern Dutchess Concert Band. Her current instruments include trumpet, violin, piano, and French horn.

She also serves on several nonprofit boards and is a founding member and current board vice president of Northern Dutchess Symphony Orchestra. She represents the area as vice chair and community engagement chair of the Upstate NY Board of the National Multiple Sclerosis Society.

Jennifer has a long history with DCC, having grown up in the area. She is a proud graduate of the DCC Nursery School as well as having taken classes at DCC prior to Vassar College.

Joe North



Joe North is an educator and freelance saxophonist who plays all genres of music, from bebop to big band, classical quartets to large saxophone ensembles, funk and electronic music. For the past seven years, North has been teaching instrumental music at Poughkeepsie High School and an adjunct faculty member at DCC, where he teaches saxophone lessons. On this advisory board, he hopes to be a link between the public schools and DCC.  

North earned his bachelor's degree in Music Education at SUNY Fredonia and earned his master's degree in Jazz Studies from the University of the Arts in Philadelphia.