Community Arts Staff

  • Benjamin Nadler
    Benjamin Nadler
    Community Arts Manager
Benjamin Nadler
Community Arts Manager

Ben was born and raised in Ames, Iowa then relocated to Brooklyn, NY in 2013 upon completion of his double major double minor at the University of Iowa.  In New York City, Ben works as a Performer and Operations Manager for Gallant Entertainment Inc. (GEI) and is the Percussion Director for The Brooklyn Steppers.

As a performer for GEI, Ben has performed at multiple high-profile events including Super Bowl XLVIII, the 2015 NBA All-Star Game, and the 2016 U.S. Open, and he has played for four seasons with the Giants and Knicks Drumlines. As Percussion Director for the Steppers, Ben is spearheading the reestablishment of the BKSteppers Drumline and collaborates annually with Spike Lee for Spike’s “Prince Born Day” block party honoring the life of Prince.

  • Mike Pakaluk
    Mike Pakaluk
    Trumpet Instructor
Mike Pakaluk
Trumpet Instructor

Mike Pakaluk holds a B.M. in Music Education from the Hartt School of Music (University of Hartford), and the M.M. degree in Trumpet Performance from the University of New Mexico. His primary teachers are Jay Lichtmann, Roger Murtha, Vince DiMartino, Jeff Piper, and Jon Dante, and he has performed with the New Mexico Symphony Orchestra, The San Luis Obispo Symphony, PCPA Theaterfest, the Santa Maria Philharmonic, the Central City Swing Band, and the Damon Castillo Band. He currently plays in a number of Bay Area groups, among them the Mission Peak Brass Band, South Bay Dub All-Stars (Reggae), and the Menlo Brass Quintet. Mr. Pakaluk was recently hired as the trumpet instructor at Santa Clara University.

Mr. Pakaluk has been teaching instrumental music since 2006 and he is currently the Instrumental Music Director at Lynbrook High School in San Jose, where he directs the Wind Ensemble, Symphonic Band, Concert Band, Chamber Orchestra, String Orchestra, and the Viking Marching Band & Color guard.

Mr. Pakaluk is a member of CMEA (California Music Educators Association), CBDA (California Band Directors Association), and has served as Vice-President for SCCBDA (Santa Clara County Band Directors Association). He recently was appointed to the CODA (California Orchestra Directors Association) board.

  • Rafael Maldonado
    Rafael Maldonado
    Woodwind Instructor
Rafael Maldonado
Woodwind Instructor

Rafael Maldonado is an upper division student at San José State University with a double emphasis in Music Education and Clarinet Performance. He is currently studying under the tutelage of Dr. Janet Averett, and has also studied with Scott Pierson. A person of many musical interests, Rafael has studied flute with Deborah Andrus and doubles on piccolo and saxophone. He is pursuing his dreams of making a career in performing and hopes to be teaching in a classroom setting down the road.

Ensembles that Rafael has been a part of at SJSU include: Symphonic Band, Wind Ensemble, Clarinet Ensemble, Symphony Orchestra, Opera Theater, Jazz Ensemble, Spartan Marching Band, Pep Band, and Men’s Glee. Currently, Rafael is principal clarinetist in the San Jose State Wind Ensemble, Symphony Orchestra, and Clarinet Ensemble; he also serves as Alto Saxophone Section Leader in the San Jose State Spartan Marching Band. On his own time, he is a member of The Late Night Winds Woodwind Quintet playing clarinet and also the AverBAES Clarinet Quartet primarily playing Bb bass clarinet. Additionally, Rafael is a member of the Phi Mu chapter of Mu Phi Epsilon and the Lambda Psi chapter of Kappa Kappa Psi at San José State and also a collegiate member of the National Association for Music Education (NAfME).

  • Peter Nguyen
    Peter Nguyen
    Youth Percussion Ensemble Instructor
Peter Nguyen
Youth Percussion Ensemble Instructor
  • Chris Swan
    Chris Swan
    Youth Percussion Ensemble Instructor
Chris Swan
Youth Percussion Ensemble Instructor

1795 Space Park Dr, Santa Clara, CA 95054    (408) 727-5532