Oswego East gained a new band director this year, replacing long-time director Ms. Kelly Cooper. Mr. Michael Roberts credits his positive experiences in middle school and high school band as the reason he became a teacher..
“My director really made an impact on my life and gave me a reason to come to school every day and create an outlet for me to be creative and have a family atmosphere,” Mr. Roberts said. ¨It really changes students’ lives for the better, including mine. So I want to do that same thing to future music students and students here at Oswego East.”
Mr. Roberts previously taught at Pontiac High School, but credits his own high school band experience in helping him be ready to handle a large band.
“I thought back to my previous experience when I was in high school at Carl Sandburg, we had a marching band that was about 150 [students] or a little bit larger than that,” Mr. Roberts said. “So I thought back to my previous experience and how my directors handled that. And I knew they tried to get to know as many students as they could quickly.”
Band Director Mr. Stevan Rexroat says Roberts has already built relationships with students.
“The relationship that the students have with their directors or any teacher is going to be different depending on the teacher,” Mr. Rexroat said. “I think the relationships that we have and the community in the band program is there’s a positive vibe and atmosphere which is really nice.”
Several students including senior Sean Elliot, share their opinions on the new band director, and the positive changes that he’s brought so far in the school year.
“He’s very personable. He’s really gotten the marching band to shape compared to previous years, and I feel like we’re going to have a really good season,” Elliot said.
Sophomore Addison Murray said that Mr. Roberts has brought changes while performing, including his encouragement for louder orchestration and more visuals.
“I think in playing we definitely have a fuller sound as a band. Because when we go into sectionals, Mr. Roberts and Mr. Rexroat really work on having a big sound” Murray said.
These ongoing goals, that are just now being acknowledged in the band program, are one of Mr. Robert’s many goals to show his band skills here at East.
“I think, since I have a very strong marching band background, and being around drum corps international, I would love to bring in new ideas, especially from that professional level. I love bringing in ideas from there, to tie it into what we teach here,” Mr. Roberts said.
Itzel Gutierrez is a staff writer for Oswego East’s online news magazine The Howl