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boston college bands

Sebastian Bonaiuto

Sebastian Bonaiuto

Director of Bands

Sebastian Bonaiuto is the first full-time Director of Bands at Boston College. Appointed in 1989 to create performing opportunities for both accomplished student musicians and developing players, Mr. Bonaiuto designed and implemented a comprehensive Bands Program. Over 200 student performers currently participate in wind ensembles, jazz ensembles, chamber ensembles, athletic ensembles, and classes. In addition to serving as the principal administrator of the Boston College Bands Program, Mr. Bonaiuto conducts the University Wind Ensemble and BC bOp!

Under Mr. Bonaiuto's leadership, BC bOp! has developed into an elite, award-winning, nationally recognized ensemble. During his tenure as Marching Band Director, the "Screaming Eagles" Marching Band gained national recognition in the 1995 Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade and through various nationally televised football games. The success of the Bands Program at Boston College is the result of a program-wide philosophy of setting high musical standards, programming high-quality literature, a focus on individual student growth and improvement, a commitment to nurturing strong student leadership, and maintaining organizational efficiency.

Mr. Bonaiuto received his Bachelor's of Music degree from Boston University, where he studied trumpet performance with Roger Voisin, Andre Come, and Peter Chapman and wind conducting with Robert A. Winslow. He later studied Music Theory at the graduate level at the New England Conservatory of Music. Since then, he has earned a Master's in Business Administration degree from Boston College. Most recently Mr. Bonaiuto has studied wind conducting with Frank Battisti.

Prior to his appointment at Boston College, Mr. Bonaiuto taught music in the Westwood, MA public schools.


David Healey

Marching Band Director

David Healey has been serving as the Marching Band Director at Boston College since 1999.  In addition, he has been directing the Symphonic Band since its founding in 2003.

During his undergraduate years at Boston College, David Healey served as president of both BC bOp! and the "Screaming Eagles" Marching Band. He received his Bachelor's degree in Chemistry from Boston College in 1990. Upon graduation, he worked as an applications chemist for Orion Research before earning a Master's in Music from the New England Conservatory.

David has been active as an adjudicator and clinician in Illinois, New York, and Texas. Prior to returning to BC, David served as Director of Bands and Assistant Professor of Music at Saint Xavier University in Chicago. He has bicycled across the United States and completed the Boston, New York, and Chicago Marathons. David and his wife, Joy (BC '92), reside in Hull, MA with their five children.

Kara Robbins

Kara Robbins

Assistant Director of Bands

Kara Robbins Stoughton graduated from Boston College in 2004 with a bachelor's degree in English and a love for music. A double bass player, Kara has performed with the New Philharmonia Orchestra in Newton since her student days. She has spent most of her professional career in the non-profit arts community, working with the New Philharmonia Orchestra, Newton Cultural Alliance, Tanglewood Music Center, and The Boston Conservatory. 

Kara is thrilled to be back “home” again at BC. Armed with a master's degree in teaching, she has developed interactive and engaging classical music performances for family audiences and is focused on building community through music and sharing this spirit with BC’s dedicated and talented student musicians. Originally from Florida, Kara has finally accepted New England weather and has settled in Massachusetts with her husband Mike.

Karen Sayward

Karen Sayward

Vocal Jazz Director

Karen Sayward earned her Bachelor of Music Education and Master’s in Music Performance at the University of Massachusetts, studying classical piano with Estela Olevsky and voice with Dorothy Ornest.  At the graduate level she studied choral conducting with Robert White. Upon completion, she began jazz piano studies with Mike Marra at the Berklee School of Music, and continued with vocal jazz coursework at Manhattan School of Music and the IAJE Teacher Training Institute in Miami, Florida. More recently she has studied with noted jazz artists Michelle Weir and Darmon Meader at Mount San Antonio College in Walnut, California. 

Karen has had a distinguished career in music education since 1979, as a choral director for various school districts throughout Massachusetts and New Hampshire. Her ensembles have garnered 1st place honors at festivals in Toronto and New York, with similar accolades in Florida and Virginia. Karen was guest conductor for the New Hampshire Music Educator’s Association Jazz All-State Festival Choir in 2000. Prior to this she acted as Vocal Manager, responsible for hiring nationally acclaimed conductors and overseeing operations. The festival has been heralded around the country as a model format for student achievement and performance. She remains active around the state as an adjudicator, accompanist, and workshop clinician. Other professional credentials include keyboardist for the North Shore Music Theater in Beverly and Palace Theatre in Manchester, NH.

In her most recent tenure as Dean of Fine Arts for Windham High School in New Hampshire, she served on a planning team involved in new facilities construction, as well as design and implementation of a program of studies and curriculum for Music, Art, Theatre, and Family Consumer Sciences.  

In addition to Karen’s BC involvement, she is on the music faculty at St. Michael School in North Andover, while continuing as a free-lance pianist. She maintains a private piano, voice, and guitar studio at her residence in Windham.  

Tim Leonelli

Timothy Leonelli

Pep Band Director

Timothy Leonelli is a Boston-based composer, arranger, conductor, and educator. Leonelli currently serves the Boston College Band’s Program as the Marching Band Music Composer and Arranger, Pep Band Director, and Low Brass Coordinator and Instructor.

Previously, Timothy was on the faculty of the Crossmen Drum and Bugle Corps from San Antonio, Texas, serving as Lead Technician and Low Brass Coordinator. He also served as the Boston Crusaders Drum and Bugle Corps from Boston, MA, serving as Brass Instructor and Interim Caption Head.  

In 2013, the Boston Crusaders were selected to perform at the 57th Presidential Inaugural Parade in Washington, DC and the Texas Bandmasters Association Convention.  As a member of the Concord Blue Devils, Leonelli has won three Drum Corps International (DCI) World Championship titles (2007, 2009, 2010) and three Jim Ott Memorial Brass Performance titles (2007, 2008, 2010).

Timothy Leonelli holds degrees in music composition from The Boston Conservatory (MM) and Berklee College of Music (BM).  At Berklee, Leonelli was the Assistant Conductor and Principal Trombonist of the Berklee Contemporary Symphony Orchestra.  At The Boston Conservatory, he was the winner of the 2014-15 The Boston Conservatory Wind Ensemble Composition Contest and premiered an original work, “Uprising”, at Harvard University’s Sanders Theater.

Originally from San Diego County, Leonelli now resides in Boston, MA where he serves on the staff of Boston College Bands Program since 2009.  Timothy is a member of CBDNA, ASCAP, and a Music Adjudicator for USBands.