Mr. James Roper
Mr. James Roper, Director of Bands, is a 1980 graduate of the University of Maryland music program. Mr. Roper spent one year as director of bands at Carroll High School before coming to DeMatha in 1982.
He has been member of the conducting staff at the Tidewater Music Festival and conducted the 1991 Maryland Junior All-State Band. He has been the President of the Washington Archdiocesan Music Teachers Council and has served on the Executive Boards of the Maryland Band Directors Association and the Maryland Choral Educators Association.
On DeMatha's faculty since 1997, Director of Vocal Music James L. Turk holds three degrees (composition, music education, and choral conducting) from The Ohio State University, and has achieved A.B.D. status at the University of Maryland. Formerly the Leader/Director of the U.S. Navy Sea Chanters in Washington D.C., and Director of the Women’s Glee Club at the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, he has conducted choruses in venues from the White House to Hawaii, and in five European countries. He currently serves as Director of Music at St. Paul Lutheran Church in Annapolis.
With over forty years experience in music education and performance, Mr. Turk is in frequent demand as a guest conductor, clinician, announcer, church organist, and cocktail pianist. He is the private school representative to the Board of Directors of the Maryland Choral Educators Association.
Dr. Michael Gatti, Music Department Chairman and Percussion Instructor, holds the degree Doctor of Musical Arts in Percussion Performance from the University of Maryland, College Park. Dr. Gatti directs three percussion ensembles, teaches private lessons and instructs a course on the history of rock and roll music. Dr. Gatti has been an adjudicator and clinician in Maryland, Virginia, and Washington, D.C., and in 2013 he was appointed adjunct professor of percussion at the Catholic University of America.
Dr. Gatti is the Associate Principal Percussionist of the Fairfax Symphony Orchestra. Additionally, he is employed as an extra musician in many of the Washington area's professional ensembles, including the National Gallery Orchestra, the Baltimore Chamber Orchestra, the Annapolis Symphony and the Washington Winds, the professional wind ensemble of Omega Studios, in Rockville, Maryland, dedicated to the recording of contemporary concert band literature.
Mr. Matthew Bickel
Mr. Matthew Bickel, Orchestra Director and Assistant Band Director, is a 1995 graduate of DeMatha Catholic High School. In 1999, he received his Bachelor's Degree in Music Education and Music Performance from the Eastman School of Music. In 2002, he received his Master's Degree in Trumpet Performance at the University of Maryland, College Park.
Mr. Bickel was a founding member of the Prism Brass Quintet, which received the Director's Award in Chamber Music from the Eastman School of Music. Prism performed concerts all over the nation and held residencies at the Boston University Tanglewood Institute, Chamber Music America's Rural Residency Program, and the University of Maryland, College Park. In 2004, Mr. Bickel won a position with the U.S. Air Force Ceremonial Brass in Washington DC, but continued on his path as a music educator. Prior to teaching at DeMatha, Mr. Bickel taught both orchestra and band in the Prince George's County School System.
Mr. Carlos Castrillon, Assistant Band Director, is the most recent addition to the music faculty and a 1995 graduate of DeMatha High School. Mr. Castrillon received a Bachelor’s of Music Degree in French Horn Performance from the University of Maryland in 1999. Upon graduation, Mr. Castrillon moved to Cincinnati to pursue a graduate degree at the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music. During his time there, he was a musician with the Dayton Philharmonic Orchestra and an extra musician with the Cincinnati Pops Orchestra.
After moving back to Maryland, Mr. Castrillon became a band director in the Prince George's County Public School System and also served as a Co-Director for the Prince George's County Youth Orchestra.
Mr. John Mitchell, Director Emeritus
Mr. John H. Mitchell founded DeMatha's Music program in 1970. Mr. Mitchell holds BS and MA degrees in music from the University of Maryland. A former president of the Maryland Band Directors Association, Mr. Mitchell is very active as an adjudicator at band festivals, a clinician, and as guest conductor for honors bands in the Maryland, Virginia, and Pennsylvania areas.
In 1993, Mr. Mitchell was named a "National Educator of Distinction" by the NCEA and has also been honored by the Washington Post and Maryland Music Educators Association as an Outstanding Teacher. In addition, Mr. Mitchell has been a member of the conducting staff at the Tidewater Music Festival, the Mid-East Music Festival (Pittsburgh) and the Maryland Summer Center for the Arts. He retired from DeMatha in 2011 and is currently conducting the Wind Ensemble at The Catholic University of America