Performing Arts Faculty
Middle School and Lower School Theatre Director, Upper School Theatre Arts
Amy Darnton has been making theater as a teacher, director, stage manager, scenic artist, and prop maker in the Performing Arts Department at King since 2001. She interned in the prop department at The Juilliard School and worked for Herbert Berghof and Uta Hagen as a stage manager at the HB Playwrights Foundation in New York. She teaches Theater Arts in the Middle and Upper Schools, including scenic art, public speaking, and mask making. Amy directs plays and musicals with students in Grades 5-8 across a wide range of styles and genres, emphasizing helping each student find their own voice and understand the magic and power of the theater. Darnton holds a B.A. in theater from Hunter College and a Masters in theater education from New York University’s Steinhardt School, both in New York City.
Middle School and Upper School Chorus
Eleanor Bach was five when she performed in her first show and has been involved in music and theater ever since. She began her serious musical studies at the Interlochen Center for the Creative Arts. She attended high school at the University of North Carolina School of the Arts, where she was a boarding student.
Before moving to Connecticut, she taught general music, choir, and musical theater in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, where she worked with numerous opera and theater companies. Active in the American Choral Directors Association and the National Association for Music Education, she has been a guest conductor and judge for numerous festivals, as well as serving as the conductor for the Greater Baton Rouge Children’s Chorus.
Bach holds a BM in opera performance and an MME with a focus on choral conducting from The Boston Conservatory in Massachusetts.
Sound Engineering, Upper School Theatre Arts
Jamie LaJoie started his career in Long Island and Manhattan clubs as a live sound engineer, and working with Bad Boy Entertainment in their studio Daddy’s House. After that, he transitioned to sound designer and Technical Director for The Bucks County Playhouse in New Hope, PA. LaJoie is also a master carpenter and lighting designer. His credits across various theaters include sound and lighting design for shows including “Miss Saigon,” “Sweeny Todd,” “Tommy,” “Jekyll and Hyde,” “Joseph and His Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat,” and “Seussical the Musical.” The Northeastern Pennsylvania Theatrical Alliance (NEPTA) awarded LaJoie Best Lighting Design for a Musical for his design on “Jekyll and Hyde”.
LaJoie holds a degree in business management with a concentration in audio recording technology from Five Towns College in Dix Hills, New York.
Lower School Music
Before joining King, Rachel Salem taught at Emma Hart Willard Elementary School in Berlin, Connecticut, and Conard High School in West Hartford, Connecticut. She has also worked as a voice teacher at Belvoir Terrace in Lenox, Massachusetts.
Salem holds a BM from the University of Hartford’s The Hartt School, where she graduated magna cum laude.
Middle School and Upper School Strings, Upper School Guitar
Colin Benn began his career with the Brazilian Symphony Orchestra in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, later joining the Sao Paulo Symphony, touring Brazil and South America. He is a former member of the Haven String Quartet and Senior Resident Musician at Music Haven, a nationally recognized, award-winning afterschool arts program that provides tuition-free string instruction and free instruments to children in New Haven, Connecticut. Dedicated to teaching strings to students from under-resourced communities, Benn teaches violin and viola lessons at Intempo and Project Music.
Benn holds a BA in music in viola performance from The Juilliard School and an MA from the Longy School of Music of Bard College, both located in New York.
Director of Performing Arts, Instrumental Music Coordinator
Garrett Mendez is the Director of Performing Arts at King School. Since 2007, he has overseen the school’s Instrumental Program. He is the founding Artistic Director of Project Music, an intensive after-school youth music program, and the Artistic Director of the Archipelago Project, an acclaimed chamber music ensemble and organization. As an active performer, Mendez tours with Archipelago Project around the world and is currently the bass trombonist with the Bridgeport and Waterbury Symphonies. He has performed with prestigious ensembles such as the Detroit Chamber Winds and groups, including the Glenn Miller Orchestra, Sigmund Romberg Orchestra, and Jimmy Dorsey Orchestra.
An active educator as well as a performer, Garrett has been a guest artist and clinician at the Peabody Institute at Johns Hopkins University, Ravinia Festival in Chicago, Orquestrando a Vida in Campos, Brazil, and has also been a presenter at the El Sistema USA conference.
Prior to joining King, he worked as an Adjunct Professor of Trombone at Albion College in Albion, Michigan. Garrett holds an ABD in musical arts from the University of Illinois and a BA and MFA in trombone performance and chamber music from the University of Michigan.
Upper School Theatre Director, Upper School Theatre Arts
Mark Silence is an actor, director, playwright, fight director and choreographer, scenographer, and carpenter. As an actor, Silence has appeared onstage and on screen. He has also created scenes and worked as a stunt coordinator for Broadway and the big screen. His favorite roles include Captain Von Trapp in Rodgers and Hammerstein’s “The Sound of Music,” Berowne in Shakespeare’s “Love’s Labour’s Lost,” and an appearance on the original Beverly Hills 90210. Several of his plays have been produced at King School, including “I Want to Fly,” “The Shoes of the Gods,” and “Triple Trouble.”
Silence holds an MFA in acting from the American Conservatory Theater in San Francisco and a BFA in acting with an emphasis on stage combat from The University of the Arts in Philadelphia.
Assistant Band Director, Music Production
Tommy Weeks is a saxophonist, music producer, and member of the band Funky Dawgz. He has performed at many notable venues and music festivals worldwide, including Madison Square Garden, Blue Note Jazz Club, Sound on Sound, Electric Forest, Okeechobee, and the Peach Music Festival.
He has shared the stage with bands including Goose, Dispatch, Trombone Shorty, Galactic, Sammy Rae & The Friends, Lawrence, Vulfpeck, Pigeons Playing Ping Pong, Snarky Puppy, Robert Randolph, Lettuce, The Rascals, Bernard Purdie, and members of Living Colour.
Weeks also has been featured on national television programs, including “ESPN First Take” and as a house band member for “ESPN Tournament Challenge.” With the Funky Dawgz, his music was featured on the FX and Hulu series “Fargo” starring Chris Rock. Most recently, Weeks was featured in the house band for “Guy’s Ultimate Game Night” hosted by Guy Fieri.
Weeks holds a BA in music from the University of Connecticut.