At the end of this year, the Deerfield community will say goodbye to Music Director Daniel Roihl.
After spending the past four years here, Mr. Roihl and his wife, Corinna, have decided to leave Deerfield and start a new chapter in their lives. “It comes down to feeling a little isolated here, for me and my wife,” said Mr. Roihl.
Mr. Roihl reported that, when the opportunity to come to Deerfield arose, the isolation of the campus was one of the things that he and his wife were hesitant about. He also said, however, that he had always pictured himself teaching at a boarding school: “I am the product of a boarding school environment, and when I was a student, I had always thought that maybe teaching at a boarding school would be something that I would like to do.”
Deerfield has been an incredible experience for the Roihls, but he confessed, “We’re both city kids at heart.” So, in order to be closer to a cultural center, the two are deciding between moving to Boston or moving back to Los Angeles.
Mr. Roihl is still unsure of what direction his career will take after the move. “I’m looking at a bunch of possible directions to go,” he said. “I might get back into teaching, but I am also thinking about performing more.”
Although Mr. Roihl is eager to see where this move will take him, he admitted that making the decision to leave Deerfield was really tough. “The kids are what I’ll miss the most,” he said. “And the relationships that I’ve formed with them, particularly students involved in the music program.”
“What I like about Deerfield is that it’s a place that is not afraid to really take a look at itself and ask those hard questions,” Mr. Roihl said. “From the perspective of the arts department, [this] has always been a place where athletics are dominant, and that has had an effect on the culture; but at the same time, I think that it’s something the school is aware of, and I believe that it’s starting to address the imbalance between athletics and the arts in a way that’s encouraging.”
Mr. Roihl has expanded student access to the choral arts by founding two new vocal ensembles: the Deerfield Choral Society and Chamber Singers. “I’d like to look back at my four years here and think that I made a tangible and lasting contribution to the school, and that I’ve elevated the profile of Deerfield’s music program,” he said.
The singing of the Evensong and Deerfield Song after Sunday sit-down and the annual Investiture Ceremony are also traditions created by Mr. Roihl.
Finally, Mr. Roihl established the Music Service program, which has enabled Deerfield’s accomplished student-musicians to delve deeper into their studies while also sharing their gifts in service of the greater community.
Elena Jones ‘14, a senior who has been working closely with Mr. Roihl over the course of her Deerfield career, expressed her gratitude for all that he has done. “I have learned so much musically from Mr. Roihl in my three years being involved with the music program,” she said. “I have gotten to be a much better sight-reader and have gained confidence in my vocal skills.”
Christie Jok ‘16 added, “Something that I’ll really miss is his passion for music. He always puts 110% into whatever song we are learning, and I drink he will be missed mostly for his enthusiasm in everything that he does.”