Karlus Trapp

A 2012 inductee to the NYC Blues Hall of Fame, Karlus Trapp has been playing music since he was 5 years old, and has been teaching guitar and making a living playing music for over 30 years. His music has been featured on network TV, as well as international markets around the world. In 2012, Karlus produced and released his latest CD, S’Allright. Last year, he contributed guitar and vocals to the debut recording by singer/songwriter, Gina Catalino. He’s shared the stage and played in bands with members of renowned groups like Bon Jovi, The Modern English, The Band and The Paul Shaffer Band. He’s opened concerts for Richie Havens, Tuck and Patti, and was the 2008 winner of the Bob Dylan competition at the New York Guitar Festival. His CD WOW Karlus Trapp with Magumbo, was co–produced by Grammy–winning producer, Bob Cutarella (Les Paul).

As a music educator, Mr. Trapp has been bringing his music and talents to Staten Island schools for over 20 years. One of his most notable accomplishments was in 2002, when he worked with the education department of Snug Harbor Cultural Center, the New York Times School Arts Rescue and over a half–dozen schools, which resulted in close to thirty original songs co–written with school children directly affected by September 11th.

A multi–instrumentalist and producer, Karlus recently co–produced several tracks on the new CD of New York songwriter, Joan Nerlino Caddel. His music melds together pop/rock songs with bluesy guitar and the rhythms of New Orleans, Jamaica and Africa. A solo performer as well as band leader, Karlus regularly performs across NYC, is currently producing new young artists, and is collaborating once again with Kenyan songwriter, Kahoro Kibochi. Learn more at karlustrapp.com

Vinnie Ruggieri

Vinnie Ruggieri was born on October 23, 1946 in Staten Island NY. He began playing piano at 5 years of age. At 16, he studied theory and composition with Werner Oberbedr, then attended CSI in Staten Island as a music major and also studied with pianist Jaki Byarrd. In the seventies he worked in bassist Vinnie Burke's quartet when he shared the bandstand with such notables as Thad Jones Phil Woods, Joe Newman and Grachan Moncur III. In the eighties, he worked with the Billy Mitchell Quartet. In the nineties, he was a member of the Staten Island Chamber Ensemble Jazz quartet which gave concerts and lecture demonstrations in the NYC area. Vinnie is musical director for vocalist Annette St. John and he performs at Smoke Jazz Club in Manhattan every Sunday afternoon.

Jeannine Otis

Jeannine Otis /Jahneen has an eclectic array of experiences as a performer, educator and music director. She has performed all over the world as a vocalist, including the Pori Jazz Festival with Heikki Sarmanto. Her segment at the Pori Jazz Festival was recently included in a film about that festival with Jazz greats such as Miles Davis, the Brecker Brothers and Maynard Ferguson. Her recording with Mr. Sarmanto and the Helsinki Philharmonic entitled Magic Songs, is available on Warner European Records. In addition, Ms. Otis has a long–standing collaboration with jazz great Vishnu Wood, working on music education projects under the auspices of the United Way as part of Safari East Cultural Productions, founded by Vishnu Wood.

She is the Director of Music at the historic Saint Marks Church in the Bowery, as well as Theaterworks USA’s yearly production of Freedom Train, a piece about the young Harriet Tubman that travels all over the country including TownHall, the Fox Theater in Atlanta, and The Grand Ole Opry. Ms. Otis is the only black recipient of the Presser Music Foundation Award from Wellesley College as well as a Teaching Fellow award from Emerson College, Boston. She continues to collaborate internationally, nationally, and locally as a consultant with arts programming while performing and teaching.


“WaFoo,” which is made of two Japanese kanji-characters “Wa” and “Foo,” stands for “Winds of Japan” or “Japanese style.” The prototype of this music ensemble was formed in 2001 by four Japanese musicians, under the concept of “Beauty of the music across the East and the West.” After a numbers of performances praised by many audiences in New York area, in 2004, the ensemble added more talents to broaden the scope of artistry and became WaFoo.

WaFoo is not only a performance group but also a group of active award-winning composers with a variety of music careers and backgrounds, which makes this ensemble very unique. All the repertories of WaFoo are their compositions or new interpretations of Japanese folk music created under the one strong concept, “Blending Japanese philosophy, such as Zen, Shinto and Confucianism, into a variety of music styles to create lyrical, aesthetic and delightful sound for body and soul.”

Major Performances Include: Haruichiban Japanese Music Festival (Drom, Manhattan, Mar. 2008); White Plains Cherry Blossom Festival (White Plains, May 2005 ~ 2008); Nagasaki Hiroshima Reflections by SI OutLoud (Staten Island, Apr. 2005); Greenwich; SeptemberFest (Greenwich, CT, Sep. 2005); NYC Culture Fest 2004 at Battery Park (Manhattan, Oct. 2004); NYPL Concert Series (Staten Island, Queens, (2008 ~ 2009); Talent on the Terrace by Greenbelt Nature Center (Staten Island, 2008 ~ 2009); WaFoo Seasonal Concerts at St. Peter’s Church (Staten Island, 2005 ~ 2009).

Learn more about WaFoo

Back to top

© 2016 Universal Temple of the Arts  •  425 Jersey Street   •   Staten Island, NY 10301  •   718.273.5610  •   info@utasi.org