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Music Directors




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 Archbishop Carroll High School before coming to DeMatha Catholic High School in 1982. He was appointed Director of Bands at DeMatha in 2011 following the retirement of Director of Bands Emeritus, John Mitchell. 

  • In 2015, the Wind Ensemble was chosen to perform for the arrival of Pope Francis at Joint Base Andrews. 
  • Mr. Roper has been a member of the conducting staff at the Tidewater Music Festival and conducted the 1991 Maryland Junior All-State Band.
  • He is a past 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.
  • He served as a guest conductor of the Southern MD Tri-County Honor Band and is a frequent adjudicator/clinician throughout the MD/VA/DC region.
  • Mr. Roper was named the “Teacher of the Year” in 2016 by the Anne Arundel West County News.

Mr. James Turk

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

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 in the history of rock and roll music. He is also the adjunct professor of percussion at The Catholic University of America. 
  • Dr. Gatti is the Assistant 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 '95

Mr. Matthew Bickel, Orchestra Director and Assistant Band Director, is a 1995 graduate of DeMatha Catholic High School. He received his Bachelor's Degree in Music Education and Music Performance from the Eastman School of Music. He received his Master's Degree in Trumpet Performance at the University of Maryland, College Park. 

  • As a trumpeter in the Prism Brass Quintet, Mr. Bickel has performed concerts all over the nation and has held residencies at the Boston University Tanglewood Institute, Chamber Music America's Rural Residency Program and the University of Maryland, College Park.
  • 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.
  •  In addition to his work at DeMatha as an educator, Mr. Bickel has conducted the WAMTC Elementary Honors Band and the Prince George’s County High School Honors Orchestra. 
  • Prior to teaching at DeMatha, Mr. Bickel taught both orchestra and band in the Prince George’s County School System.


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Mr. Carlos Castrillon '95 

Mr. Carlos Castrillon, Assistant Band Director and Assistant Orchestra Director, is a 1995 graduate of DeMatha Catholic 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. Castrillon has been a guest conductor for numerous honors ensembles in the state of Maryland.  He is also the past President of the Washington Archdiocesan Music Teachers Council.









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