Graduated with a 3.85 GPA.
I have enjoyed playing the with Boston Men’s Baseball League. Dedicated to providing for those in need, the league recently held a tournament in support of the Ben’s Dream charity. I am glad to have participated in the tournament to help improve the lives of children affected by a ruthless disease. Ben’s Dream is named after a young man suffering with Sanfilippo Syndrome, a rare inherited genetic disorder named after Dr. Sylvester Sanfilippo who documented this disease almost five decades ago. Without any treatment or cure, Sanfilippo Syndrome is fatal, and those diagnosed with it are expected to live for only 12 to 20 years. Ben’s Dream aims at raising funds for both research efforts and awareness campaigns. Also known as MPS III, Sanfilippo Syndrome is a mucopolysaccharide disorder in which an enzymatic defect allows for a complex body sugar, heparan sulfate, to gather in the body’s cells. As progressively more material accumulates, Sanfilippo Syndrome affects a child’s appearance, development, and bodily functions. Although a child with Sanfilippo Syndrome appears healthy at birth, the build-up slowly causes hyperactivity, sleep disorders, loss of speech, dementia, and mental retardation to develop after only a couple years of life. Ben’s Dream has directly funded research efforts at the Telethon Institute of Genetics and Medicine in Naples, Italy, the Columbus Children’s Research Institute at Ohio State University, and the University of North Carolina. In collaboration with the Children’s Medical Research Foundation, Ben’s Dream has also helped fund researchers at the University of California, the University of Minnesota, the Medical College of Georgia, the University of South Florida, Michigan State University, and the Women’s and Children’s Hospital in Australia.
Zach Loavenbruck remains a proud supporter of the Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation of America (CCFA), a non-profit organization dedicated to finding a cure for inflammatory bowel diseases. A dedicated athlete and baseball player, Zach Loavenbruck also participates in Ben’s Dream Baseball Tournament, an event that raises money to find a cure for Sanfilippo syndrome, a rare autosomal recessive lysosomal storage disease that appears in young children. A former educator, Zach Loavenbruck spent many years working with high school students in Connecticut. In addition to his duties as a teacher, Zach Loavenbruck oversaw sports teams and theatrical events. Zach Loavenbruck obtained his Bachelor of Arts (BA) in Political Science in 2005 from the University of Rochester in New York. He undertook many responsibilities alongside his academics, serving as Staff Writer and Cartoonist for the school's Campus Times. While at the University of Rochester, Zach Loavenbruck also played in two bands and participated on intramural baseball and basketball teams. Completing his Master of Science for Teachers at Pace University in Pleasantville, New York, Zach Loavenbruck studied secondary school teaching. He then continued his teacher’s training by completing professional development graduate work at the University of Connecticut, where he concentrated his efforts on educational psychology. Zach Loavenbruck currently resides in Greater Boston, Massachusetts, and enjoys contributing voice and instrumental work to popular area bands. In his free time, Zach Loavenbruck takes pleasure in hiking, kayaking, and playing tennis, and he remains active on area baseball teams.
I have been active as a musician in local bands since my college days and play a wide range of musical instruments, including the piano, guitar, Fender Rhodes, congas, Jew's harp, and melodica. I find the melodica to be one of the more interesting instruments, as it combines the sounds of a harmonica or a horn with the keyboard of a piano. Although melodica predecessors, such as the vibrandoneon and the symphonium, combined mouthpieces with keyboards, they never caught on as mainstream musical instruments.
Hohner first manufactured the melodica in the 1950s, using The Melodica as the trade name. Subsequent manufacturers introduced their own versions of the melodica, such as the Suzuki Melodion, the Yamaha Pianica, the Silvertone Orgamonica, the Samick Melodihorn, and the Tombo Pianohorn, but melodica remains the standard name to this day. Primary school music-education courses, particularly in Asia, frequently feature the melodica as a way of teaching music fundamentals in a simple and straightforward manner. The melodica offers more extensive chordal and accidental note possibilities than many woodwind instruments.
The melodica has notable professional practitioners as well, including ex-Muddy Waters sideman Paul Oscher and noted reggae instrumentalist Augustus Pablo. Players may choose to learn several different melodicas. Designed to be played with the right hand only, Tenor melodicas employ the left hand to hold the bottom of the instrument steady. Soprano melodicas sometimes require double-handed action, with the right hand playing the white keys and the left hand playing the black keys. An interesting variation of the melodica, the accordina, features accordion-style buttons in the place of keys. Additionally, there are a few models of wooden melodicas, which have a warmer and richer timbre.
I find the sound of the melodica haunting in its simplicity, with a thin, reedy quality reminiscent of an oboe. I recommend it as an ideal instrument for beginning musicians and for seasoned veterans looking to expand their repertoire.