Our Team

Dirk Hillyer, Conductor

Dr. Dirk Hillyer is a revered figure on Boston’s North Shore and a nationally recognized musician, conductor, horn player, and mentor. With a career spanning classical masterpieces to the vibrant pop music of Broadway and Film, Hillyer’s journey has been nothing short of spectacular. Currently serving as the conductor for Disney’s DISNEY-IN-CONCERT, he has led national performances, captivating audiences from Austin to Miami. Locally, Hillyer’s Hillyer Festival Orchestra (HFO) has dazzled audiences with over 150 performances in various Massachusetts cities, including Marblehead, Salem, and Boston. Salem’s July 4th concert, boasting an attendance 30,000, is a testament to the orchestra’s widespread appeal. With a repertoire ranging from operatic classics to Broadway hits, Hillyer’s expertise has graced prestigious venues worldwide, from National Irish Radio in Dublin to Symphony Hall in Boston. His passion for music knows no bounds, extending to jazz and rock performances, including collaborations with the Jazz Composers Alliance and Todd Rundgren. Academically, Hillyer holds a PhD from Tufts University, complemented by two additional degrees from the New England Conservatory of Music. With a wealth of experience and an unwavering commitment to musical excellence, Dr. Dirk Hillyer continues to inspire and uplift audiences around the globe with his remarkable talent and boundless passion for music.

Jennifer Onello, President

Jennifer is the President of the Merrimack Valley Philharmonic Orchestra (MVPO) and has been performing as a violinist with the Orchestra for over 25 years. She has also served on the Board of Directors since 2011. Studying under Marianne Wallenberg and Nathan Raboy in Binghamton, NY, Jennifer has continuously played violin since age 9. Inspired by her grandfather, who was also a violinist, she continued playing with the Binghamton Youth Symphony and later performed alongside Eastman School of Music students at Rochester Institute of Technology during her college years. Jennifer has a BS in Packaging Science and has worked in Fortune 500 companies involving the military, food, and medical industries. She is now a freelance artist, playing violin, acting, singing, and dancing in various organizations throughout the Merrimack Valley. She also performs with the Firebird Pops, with many theater pit orchestras on the North Shore, and with an Irish Rock band – the Hooligan Saints! Jennifer also can be found on and off stage with Firehouse Center for the Performing Arts, Acting Out! Theater Company, and with Voices of Hope, fighting cancer one song at a time. Jennifer currently plays Principal 2nd Violin with the Orchestra.

Jeffrey Rubino, Vice President

Jeffrey Rubino was born and raised in the Merrimack Valley and started playing the violin when he was 9 years old. He has preformed in charmber settings along with musical show settings before joining the Merrimack Valley Phillharmonic Orchestra in early 2022. It has been a dream of his to be a part of such a large orchestra since he was young when his parents took him to the Boston Pops

Diane Tiezzi, Secretary

Since 1980 Diane Tiezzi has been a dedicated violinist in the Merrimack Valley Symphony Orchestra. She received a Bachelor of Science degree in Music Education from the University of Vermont. After 30 years of teaching music in Ct, MA, and NH, she retired in 2004 and then taught violin privately at the Portsmouth (NH) Music Arts Center through 2021. A long-standing MVPS Board of Directors member, Ms. Tiezzi has continuously served as Secretary and Scholarship Chair since 2008. Aside from music, Diane enjoys her family, traveling with her husband, gardening, swimming, and skiing where she is an instructor at a local ski area.

Bruno DelGreco, CPA, Treasurer

Bruno DelGreco is a licensed CPA in the state of New Hampshire and has retired from the Department of Defense following 37 years of civilian service. During that time, Bruno held many positions all dealing with auditing. Bruno also maintains a sole proprietorship serving business or individual tax and accounting needs since 1985. Bruno has served in the past as a board member, Treasurer, for a nonprofit organization and has also been actively involved with various groups and organizations within the community. More recently, Bruno is a co-owner of a landscaping company in North Andover where is he serves as Treasurer. Board Member since 2022.

Bruno’s experiences have helped him develop a level of patience, understanding and empathy. In doing so, he is able to relate to the words spoken by one of his favorite poets:

“I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”
​​​​​​​ -Dr. Maya Angelou-

Clif Banner, Personnel Manager

Clif Banner, tubist for MVPO, performs with four orchestras, three bands, and several small ensembles. Clif flew combat operations in Southeast Asia and served as an instructor-evaluator pilot in all models of the B-52 bomber, the T-39A Sabreliner, and several other aircraft during his military career. Serving in Strategic Air Command, the Joint Staff, and US Strategic Command, Clif had given up tuba playing for about 25 years before moving to Nashua. He supported defense acquisition projects with BAE Systems and designed many small business innovation research projects there. Clif resides in Nashua with his wife, Linda, an accomplished quilt artist and teacher, and they have two sons, Ben (a space operations engineer in CA) and Aleks (an artist-illustrator in NYC).

Robert Fortunato, Concertmaster

Bob has played the violin since age 7 and his studies included 4 years at the Yale School of Music. He served as assistant concertmaster of the Yale Symphony, concertmaster of the University of Virginia Orchestra while in Medical School and in the Boston area he was concertmaster of the Longwood Symphony for 12 years. Bob has also played in the Civic Symphony and the Reading Symphony before joining the Merrimack Valley Philharmonic.Orchestra where he is currently the Concert Master.

Louise Pajak, Co-Operations Manager/Contracts

Louise Bears Pajak retired from the Timberlane Regional School District Music Department in 2020, after forty-one years in education. During her tenure at Timberlane, Louise instituted the Timberlane Regional School District Strings Program, music-directed the inaugural Timberlane Regional High School Musical and advocated for the construction of the Timberlane Performing Arts Center. In 2019, Louise was named New Hampshire Music Educator of the year. Louise looks forward to working with the MVPO executive board, and to an exciting concert season!

Bonnie Glazier, Co-Operations Manager/Brochure/Program Book

Bonnie Glazier graduated with an Associate degree in Business Sciences/Executive division from Champlain College. She worked as an Executive Administrative Assistant in nursing homes, home health agencies, and manufacturing companies, retiring from Watts Water Technologies, Inc. in North Andover. She studied piano and organ and served as organist of her home church during high school. Over the years, she continued to serve churches as organist and served as substitute organist in numerous churches in Vermont, New Hampshire and Massachusetts. She now sings with the Groveland Congregational Church choir and directs the church Chime Choir.

Marjorie Nelson, Librarian 

Marjorie Nelson has performed on violin with the MVPO for 50 years, and she was their former Concertmaster for more than 20 of those years and now serves as Librarian on the Board. She earned her Bachelor of Music Education at Lebanon Valley College (PA) and her Master’s Degree at the Boston Conservatory of Music. She has performed with the Harrisburg Symphony, Dover Symphony, Granite State Symphony, and free-lanced in the Boston area. Having previously taught in Delaware and Methuen, MA, Marjorie is now a retired strings specialist from the Timberlane School District. She lives with her husband in Salem, NH, next door to her two active grandsons and granddog.

Stacey Channing, Board Member

I started playing violin at the age of six. For numerous years, I attended Meadowmount School of Music and Juilliard Pre-College, where I met my future husband, Robert Portney. I played concertmistress in the Brown University Orchestra, and for the last 30+ years, I have played with the Merrimack Valley Philharmonic Orchestra. I am a Patent attorney specializing in biotech, and my true loves are my family and dogs.

Bruce Guttman, Board Member

Bruce comes from Brooklyn where he started playing trombone in 5th grade. He played through High School, but had to put the trombone in the closet to get his degree in Chemical Engineering and to begin a career. He started again when he moved to New Hampshire in 1983 and joined the MVPO in 1984 as Bass Trombone. He worked his way up in the section to finish as Principal Trombone. He also served as President of the Orchestra from 2016 to 2021 and Librarian from 2010 to 2021. He has had to retire from the orchestra due to medical conditions but remains interested in orchestra operations.

Dr. Charles Kosta, Board Member

Chuck has a doctorate in computer science from UMass Lowell. He is a native of Newburyport and has spent much of his life in the Merrimack Valley.
He has led research into robotics, expert systems, graphics, and intelligent manufacturing as part of UMass Lowell’s Research Centers.
He currently works in Data Analytics for Market Basket and studies Artificial Intelligence, virtual reality, and the stock market in his spare time.
Chuck and his wife, Liz, currently reside in Plaistow. After moving there in 2003, they have fully immersed themselves in the community.
Through their three daughters, they have attended many dance recitals and competitions, musicals, concerts, and chamber music recitals.
His passion for the arts continues as he works towards creating virtual reality performances as a hobby that combines his love of AI and the arts.

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