With the retirement of Betsey de Groff and Marty Meade, Wilton High School\u2019s music department will welcome two new educators this fall \u2014 Fairfield resident Kevin Cotellese and Ridgefield resident Malcolm Karlan. Cotellese will be the school\u2019s new choir director and Karlan will take over as orchestra director. Wilton High School Band Director Nick Loafman said he is \u201cvery excited\u201d to be working with Cotellese and Karlan and believes they will \u201cdo great work with our students.\u201d \u201cThey each care deeply about students, maintain high expectations for program excellence, and have inspiring new ideas,\u201d said Loafman. \u201cThey have very strong educational backgrounds and extensive performance experience, and they will each be a great asset to our music students and our school community.\u201d Kevin Cotellese Cotellese said he plans to bring his \u201cenergy, enthusiasm and experience\u201d to Wilton High School. For the last 14 years, Cotellese served as choral activities director at Fairfield Ludlowe High School. He not only conducted several choirs and an a cappella group at the school, but also taught classes in music theory, piano and voice. \u201cI began [working] there when the [school] opened in 2003,\u201d said Cotellese. \u201cIt was an exciting opportunity to build a program from scratch.\u201d Cotellese also served as concert choir conductor for the Fairfield County Children\u2019s Chorus for 13 years, and has been the director of the Wilton Singers since 2015. \u201cI have had the wonderful opportunity to direct the Wilton Singers for the last two seasons,\u201d he said. \u201cThrough them, I got to know the Wilton community and saw how much they love and support music.\u201d After seeing how \u201cinvolved and supportive\u201d the Wilton community is of its schools, Cotellese said, he decided to apply for a job in the district because he thought it could be \u201ca wonderful fit\u201d for him. Originally from Philadelphia, Cotellese has a bachelor\u2019s degree in music education from West Chester University in West Chester, Pa., and a master of music degree in choral conducting from Temple University in Philadelphia. Before moving to Connecticut in 2003, Cotellese spent three years working for the Opera Company of Philadelphia at the Academy of Music, where he assisted the chorus master and managed the orchestra. He was also invited to fill in for a sabbatical at Assumption College in Worcester, Mass., in 2002. During his time at Fairfield Ludlowe, Cotellese said, he had the opportunity to build many music programs, as well as relationships with community members that allowed students to \u201cshare their talents in events like Relay for Life and at venues like the Fairfield Theater Company.\u201d \u201cThough leaving a wonderful place I called home for so long in Fairfield is bittersweet,\u201d Cotellese said, \u201cI am very excited and humbled by the opportunity to work for the Wilton community.\u201d Malcolm Karlan Karlan has spent the last 10 years as the orchestra director at Middlesex Middle School in Darien. \u201cDuring that time, I was also the debate coach and conducted the pit orchestra for the high school musicals the last two years,\u201d said Karlan, who has also been a board member of the Fairfield County String Teachers Association for several years. Karlan said he applied for the position at Wilton High School \u201cbecause it offers the exciting opportunity to work with students in grades 6-12.\u201d \u201cThis long-term relationship will allow me to form close bonds with students and oversee a comprehensive and unified orchestra program,\u201d he said. \u201cMy predecessor, Marty Meade, built a vibrant program with a reputation for excellence. \u00a0I hope to continue in his footsteps, while also bringing along a few fresh ideas.\u201d Karlan said \u201cone of the unique aspects\u201d of his music program in Darien was the MMS ROCKestra \u2014 \u201can auditioned string ensemble dedicated to performing modern rock and pop music.\u201d \u201cThe group served as an ambassador and recruiting tool for the orchestra program \u2014\u00a0bridging the gap between what students listen to at home and what they play at school,\u201d he said. \u201cI hope to incorporate similar ideas into the music program in Wilton.\u201d Over the summer, Karlan has been \u201cworking closely\u201d with Meade, Loafman and string teachers Darilyn Manring, Ken Hayashi and Emily Franz-Orenstein, who have \u201call been very welcoming and accommodating in getting me up to speed,\u201d he said. \u201cI'm looking forward to a great first year in Wilton.\u201d Karlan has a master\u2019s degree in music education from the Teacher\u2019s College at Columbia University in New York City, as well as bachelor\u2019s degrees in music education and psychology from Oberlin College and Conservatory in Oberlin, Ohio.