This year marks a significant change for the Deerfield music program, as Mr. Stephen Peisch and Dr. Thomas Pousont will assume the positions of Director of Instrumental Music and Choral Director, respectively.
Mr. Peisch was appointed the new Director of Instrumental Music when former director Mr. Peter Warsaw announced his departure last spring. Mr. Peisch is a commissioned composer; he has earned both his Bachelor’s and Master’s of Music with Honors from the New England Conservatory. Before coming to Deerfield, he taught at Lawrence Academy for twenty-eight years, where he held the positions of Music Director, Choir Director, and Chair of the Arts Department.
Mr. Peisch has many goals for the next school year. He explained, “I hope to maintain the impressively high level of the orchestral and the chamber music program that I witnessed last spring.” Peisch will prioritize “private lessons and ensemble coaching [for students]” and will “continue Mr. Warsaw’s tradition of asking music students to think for themselves and to share their interpretive ideas with each other.”
Most importantly, Mr. Peisch “[wants] to be sure that Deerfield musicians have everything they need to progress intellectually and musically.”
Many members of the school orchestra are excited to work with him.
Britney Cheung ’19 said, “He seems very qualified and knowledgeable about music, and I’m sure he’ll make great contributions to our music program!”
As for the choral program, the rather sudden departure of the former Choral Director, Mr. Jackson, took many by surprise. In a message to his choral students, Mr. Jackson wrote, “I want to say that I’m sorry. I really hated disappearing like that, but my family’s needs had to come first. I’m sure you all will do great things. I honestly wish I could take you all with me.”
Many of his students were sad to see him go. Penelope Hough ’17 said, “It was very upsetting to hear that Mr. Jackson is leaving us. However, his short tenure still proved to be incredibly beneficial to the choral program.”
Dr. Pousont has been appointed as the new Choral Director. He earned his Bachelor’s in Music from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, and both his Master’s and Doctorate in Music from McGill University in Montreal. He has been Director of Music at the First Church of Deerfield since 2003, and a teacher of voice, piano, and organ at Deerfield since 2005.
Dr. Pousont explained how he hopes to improve the music program: “I’ve noticed that the audience attendance has been limited at Academy music performances, so… I will focus on improving that. I’ll be giving the choruses more visibility on campus, and ensuring that their concerts are well advertised.” He added that he is “looking forward to working with the dedicated and talented music students here at DA, and to collaborating with my colleagues in the music department.”
Hough ’17 sang in church choir under Dr. Pousont’s direction for three years and explained, “I am confident that Dr. Pousont will continue to lead the program in a positive direction and I am excited to work under him again.