Our Teachers

Nicholas Dogas: Choral Arts, General Music

Nicholas Emory Dogas holds a Master of Music in Voice Performance from The Peabody Conservatory of The Johns Hopkins University and a Bachelor of Music in Vocal/Choral Music Education from The College of New Jersey. He has studied voice with Steven Rainbolt, William Sharp and Suzanne Hickman, and has coached with John Shirley-Quirk, Mark Markham and Ann Baltz.

Prior to joining the Ellicott Mills and Howard County music communities, Mr. Dogas led thriving, joy-filled music programs in both public and independent school settings, and choral ensembles under his direction consistently took home top honors at adjudication. In addition to his teaching duties, Mr. Dogas maintains a small studio of voice and piano students and performs as a baritone soloist throughout the Baltimore and D.C. metro areas. Contact Mr. Dogas - - - View Mr. Dogas’ website

Joe Fischer: Band, Wind and Percussion Instruments

Mr. M. Joseph Fischer, a native of Maryland, has been Director of Bands at River Hill High School since 2003, where he conducts two concert bands, percussion ensemble, jazz ensemble, marching band, and teaches Music Technology. Prior to his appointment at River Hill, Mr. Fischer was the instrumental music director at Liberty High School in Eldersburg, Maryland and the Director of Bands at Calvert Hall College High School in Towson, Maryland. Under his direction, his music programs have garnered many accolades including: superior ratings at local, regional, and national festivals; selection as a demonstration group for both jazz and symphonic band at the Maryland Music Educators’ Association Annual Conference; recognition as a Grammy Signature Schools program; and invitations to perform at prestigious events including the 2008 pre-Olympic Festival in Beijing, China and on-stage at the Joseph M. Meyerhoff Symphony Hall. Most recently, the River Hill marching band placed first at the U.S. Scholastic Band Association National Championships, becoming the first in Howard County and one of only two schools in Maryland to earn that honor. In addition to his efforts as band director, Mr. Fischer was also instrumental in the creation of River Hill’s state-of-the-art music technology lab, which allows students to express their creativity through music arranging, composition, recording and music theory.

Mr. Fischer knew from an early age that he wanted to be a music teacher. To that end, he pursued an eclectic mix of performing and educational opportunities and finally made that dream a reality. Mr. Fischer earned his bachelor’s degree in music education from the University of Maryland, College Park, where he majored in trumpet with additional studies in percussion. He studied jazz with Chris Vadala, trumpet with Emerson Head and Timothy White, percussion with Michael Gatti, and conducting with Emerson Head, John Wakefield, Sheldon Bair, and Dana Rothlisberger. Mr. Fischer sang in the all-male a Capella group, “The Generics,” marched and taught drum and bugle corps, and conducted numerous musicals. One of Mr. Fischer’s favorite experiences was marching in the Drum Corps International World Championships with the ten time world champion Cadets Drum and Bugle Corps. He also loves theater and has enjoyed performing and conducting musicals, including Little Shop of Horrors, Pippin, 1940’s Radio Hour, Cinderella, My Fair Lady, Guys and Dolls, Oklahoma!, The Music Man, Thoroughly Modern Millie!, Peter Pan, The Drowsy Chaperone, and West Side Story (his all-time favorite).

Mr. Fischer has been recognized for his work as a music educator, most recently being named one of “50 Directors Who Make A Difference” in the December 2007 issue of School Band and Orchestra Magazine. In 2008, the Maryland Music Educators’ Association designated River Hill High School as an Exemplary Music Program, an honor which followed Mr. Fischer’s being named a 2007 MMEA Outstanding Music Teacher as well as the 2006 Howard County Music Educator of the Year.

In addition to his duties at River Hill, Mr. Fischer remains active as both a teacher and adjudicator throughout the Maryland region. He has served as an adjunct faculty member at McDaniel College and remains active in the Music Educators National Conference (MENC), the Maryland Music Educators Association (MMEA), the Maryland Band Directors Association (MBDA), the International Association of Jazz Educators (IAJE), Percussive Arts Society (PAS), and the International Trumpet Guild (ITG). Through his involvement with MMEA and MBDA, Mr. Fischer has served as the coordinator for both the Maryland Jazz Festival and the All-State Jazz Ensemble. 

Contact Mr. Fischer

Ben Denne: Orchestra, String Instruments

Ben Denne is a graduate of Northwestern University where he studied Euphonium performance with Rex Martin and conducting with Mallory Thompson and John Paynter. He received a bachelor of music degree with an emphasis in both performance and education.

Mr. Denne directs the orchestra programs at Ellicott Mills Middle School. He is a conductor of the Howard County High School Gifted and Talented Orchestra (formerly the Howard Regional Youth Orchestra). Ben maintains a small studio of private students on euphonium, trombone, and tuba, performs with One Flight Up on trombone, and performs as a bass soloist at the Zion Lutheran church. Contact Mr. Denne - - - View Mr. Denne's website


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