By Carolyn Marnon – Longtime band director Matt Diroff resigned at the end of the last school year. A new band director is in town at Wayne Memorial High School. Let’s get to know him.
What is your background in music?
I have played saxophone since 5th grade. In high school I was very active in band having participated in the band program at Plymouth-Canton High School. During my time there I was in the marching band, wind ensemble, saxophone quartet and pit orchestra. I credit my love for music and band to my experiences that I had in high school.
Recently, I graduated from Wayne State University where I was active in the marching band, pep band, wind symphony, saxophone quartet and saxophone choir. Along with my studies at WSU, I have been active as a marching band instructor for the past few years working with L’Anse Creuse HS North, L’Anse Creuse HS Central, Rockford HS and more. My instructor responsibilities have included teaching woodwind sections, teaching marching technique and even working with winter drumline!
Currently, I am the Director of Bands and Orchestras at Wayne Memorial HS.
How did you hear about the band director position and why did you apply?
I heard that the band director position had opened from a friend who works in the district. I applied right away! I applied because I knew how supported the music program was at Wayne Memorial HS. My first experience with the program was attending a Blue Stars Drum and Bugle Corp rehearsal happening at Wayne Memorial HS in the summer 2018. I was impressed with how engaged the students were with the rehearsal and that the community supported housing a Drum Corp for the week.
What has been your biggest challenge in this new position?
The biggest challenge has been making sure I start building a relationship and making connections with every student. This is my primary goal as a teacher. I want to make sure I build strong relationships with students so that they get the most out of their time in the Zebra Marching Band.
Has anything surprised you about working with the Zebra band?
The culture of the Zebra Marching Band continues to impress me every day. When I met all the students on day 1, I knew that there was something special about this program. The community support for the program is amazing. The students would not be able to accomplish what they do without the culture and support that the program already has.
What musical groups are you band director over? Is there just one band and one orchestra? Do you direct the orchestra?
I direct all instrumental music classes at Wayne Memorial HS. I am responsible for two bands and two orchestras. Other duties include jazz band, marching band, chamber groups and pit orchestra.
How did the theme for United come about? (United is the theme of the WMHS band program this year.) What is involved with this program for the year?
The theme for United was already in place when I took the position. However, I feel that it is very relevant and symbolic for this season. Having a new director is not easy, but these students have really come together to continue growing and learning as a program. They work hard every day to reach a new level of success!
What are 5 things about yourself that could let the Wayne community get to know you better as a person?
I graduated from Wayne State University.
I was drum major in both high school and college.
I’m a VERY passionate Indianapolis Colts fan (I also love the Lions).
I love to play golf!
My wife and I love to spend time outside playing golf, taking walks, camping, fishing and kayaking.