After a solid 2021-2022 school year of school-wide masses, football games, and other events, the Mount Saint Joseph Band Program will see some changes this year.
The Mount Saint Joseph Music Program is currently renovating as we are seeing some new faces pop up in the basement of the Knott Fine Arts Center. Mr. Nathan Royer has stepped in for Mr. Michael Alfieri, who has moved into the city to help teach band and other musical activities to younger kids.
Returning to the Mount this year as a graduate of the class of 1998 is Mr. Nathan Royer. Mr. Royer is no stranger to the Knott Fine Arts Center as he has returned to his alma mater to fulfill the job of MSJ’s new Music Teacher and Band Director. Not expecting to come back to the Mount, Mr. Royer says, “I happened to come across the listing for the job on accident as I moved back down the street.” His goal is to return to the school to help new and existing musicians work on their craft and teach what he has learned to everyone who steps into the band room. Mr. Royer also tells me that the adjustment back to a school setting has been pretty easy except for some long days, but nothing he can’t overcome.
Mr. Royer has been on the road for the past 12 years as a freelance musician. In addition to being on the road, Mr. Royer is a private music teacher who gives lessons in the studio right in his home. In addition to teaching from his home, Mr. Royer does have past teaching experience as he was a teacher at a smaller private school just after finishing grad school. To say the least, Mr. Royer is looking forward to the new music played at sporting events, school masses, and other school-wide events.
In addition to welcoming Mr. Royer to The Mount, Mr. Ryan Slattery of the MSJ Spanish Department has stepped in to replace Mrs. Susan Esserwein as the Choir Band director. Mr. Slattery has extensive experience in the music department. As a 2015 graduate of MSJ, Mr. Slattery has participated in multiple school-wide events and other musical events as an experienced vocalist and musician. Mr. Slattery tells me that he is excited about the new opportunities coming his way and believes that he will bring a new kind of energy and expertise to the program that the band hasn’t seen before.
“I feel that Mr. Slattery has brought his ‘Slattery’ energy to the existing Choir band and has kept the foundation that was built by Mr. Alfieri and Mrs. Esserwein together to bring it to the next level.”– Mr. Michael Stromberg
In addition to directing the choir band and teaching Spanish, Mr. Slattery has prior experience teaching musicians and vocalists as he teaches at a theatre organization called Cockpin in Court, which has been run out of CCBC in Essex, Maryland, in the summer for the past 3 years. A graduate of the Catholic University of America, Mr. Slattery studied Music Performance during his time there. I asked Mr. Slattery if it has been an easy adjustment taking over, and he told me, “it’s funny how you have an idea of things on the outside, but once you’re in it, the true colors sort of come to light. In some aspects, it has been easy, but the actual implication and practice time is definitely very difficult.” Mr. Slattery looks forward to planning more of the music that we could be hearing during the Campus Ministry events throughout the remainder of the year, and has enjoyed taking over the Choir Band so far this year.
Speaking as an instrumentalist in the Choir Band, the addition of Mr. Slattery has been very good. He definitely had an idea of what he wanted to do with the music and the changes he wanted to make to the setlist for the events that we have here. Campus Ministry also plays a significant role in how the band plans for the masses, and with new faces comes different feels to how the music is played during the masses. I took the time to ask the Campus Ministry department for their thoughts.
Mr. Michael Stromberg is one of the Campus Ministers at the Mount. As I said earlier, with new faces comes different feels to the music we hear. Mr. Stromberg told me, “I feel that Mr. Slattery has brought his ‘Slattery’ energy to the existing Choir band and has kept the foundation that was built by Mr. Alfieri and Mrs. Esserwein together to bring it to the next level.” Mr. Stromburg tells me he’s looking forward to seeing what Mr. Slattery brings to the Campus Ministry events throughout the year and can’t wait for what’s to come with the program.
For all returning students and staff, the next time you attend a Campus Ministry event, see if you notice a change in the feel of the music compared to previous years. For all you new students and staff, do you like what the band is doing during the mass? Make sure to check out the band during upcoming events, and make sure to greet Mr. Royer in the basement of Knott Fine Arts Center soon.