After stepping into his role as upper school music director in August of last year, Mr. Matt Mastronardi will leave the school to pursue his goals in the theater industry.
Mr. Mastronardi has always worked as an actor and musician, first contributing to the school’s theater program in 2017. As the music director for Seussical, Willy Wonka, The Addams Family, and Peter and the Starcatcher, Mastronardi has been instrumental in memorable Centennial Hall productions.
Late last summer, Mr. Mastronardi was asked to fill the role of Upper School Music Director, and his commitment to his new duties has helped propel the music department through the last year.
“At the beginning of this year, before school even started, we had no idea what would happen to Notables, Glee Club, or any of the music classes, as the previous director was MIA and didn’t communicate at all to any of us,” Fifth Former Anthony Carter said.
With less than a week to prepare, Mr. Mastronardi took on the job.
He crafted curricula from scratch for multiple music classes, learned new facets of music theory and production, and stepped into the role of Notables Director.
“Even with so little time [to prepare the curricula], the classes were fun, and we still got to learn a lot,” Carter said. “Mr. Matt came up with fun assignments for us to do while testing our skills in both musical theory, instruments, and quality of work.”
Alongside Sixth Form Co-Presidents Harvey Pennington and Alphonso Evans, Mr. Mastronardi arranged and implemented new repertoire for the Notables.
“The fact that he did this with so little time shows the amount of care and dedication he has for things he is passionate about, and how he isn’t afraid of a challenge,” Carter said.
His dedication to the group has been evident in the Notables’ performances for the year.
“One story that I feel perfectly reflects his character is when he came in on a Saturday to help us learn repertoire required for an upcoming concert,” Pennington said. “He practiced with us—without being on payroll, may I add—and ensured that the whole group was prepared.”
Mr. Mastronardi led the group through an uncertain time with confidence, bringing his background knowledge and spin to the group’s performances.
“I will definitely miss him, as he brought a new perspective to our group being from a musical theater background,” Carter reflected. “He was very fun to be around.”
In addition to his music class and Notables related duties, Mr. Mastronardi also conducted the orchestra in the spring production of Les Misérables.
“It was very fun and a really challenging piece,” Mr. Mastronardi said. “It took some getting used to, but in the end it was really just a joy to be a part of and was really rewarding.”
Out of all these accomplishments, Mr. Mastronardi is most proud of his students’ progression this year. He is also thankful for how much he has learned from his peers and students.
“The performing arts department here at Haverford has some of the most generous and talented people I have ever met.”Mr. Matt Mastronardi
“Having been through the school year as a teacher, it really helped me find a pathway forward,” Mr. Mastronardi said. “I know what I need to work on, for myself. I have learned so much from them and feel very grateful to have had the time with them. The performing arts department here at Haverford has some of the most generous and talented people I have ever met. I will miss working beside them all.”
Mr. Mastronardi hopes that his time at Haverford will leave a lasting impression.
“I hope that some of the songs we learned and made, in both the Notables and in music class, will stay even when I am gone,” Mr. Mastronardi said.
“Keep exploring. There’s always something to learn, or a different point of view to gain knowledge from.”Mr. Matt Mastronardi
“Keep exploring. There’s always something else to learn, or a different point of view to gain knowledge from. I think it’s important to be yourself, and continue to grow into who you are,” Mr. Mastronardi said. “Don’t run away from your individuality and who you are.”