Marist High School welcomed graduate Patrick Keelan back home as he joined the faculty at the start of the 2019-2020 school year. A 2004 graduate, Keelan will serve as the assistant band director.
Keelan was a four-year member of the Marist band while a student. He was in the percussion section, marching one year on the snare drum, two on bass drum, and on tenors. Since those days, he has added more mallet percussion, vibraphone, and marimba to his repertoire.
He was part of the band program towards the end of the legendary Frank Manna’s tenure as the director. “Our trip to the Rose Bowl was great,” Keelan recalled. “It was a big deal for Mr. Manna and the band. He brought his family with and you could tell he was having a blast the whole time.” The band also traveled to the Orange Bowl, Gator Bowl, and New York City while Keelan was a member.
After Marist, he went onto study percussion performance at Illinois State University and earned a graduate degree in jazz (his favorite music genre to play) from Northern Illinois University. I taught percussion and jazz at Robert Morris University in Chicago for ten years, and taught privately and at Down Home Guitars in Frankfort, Ill.
As for why he came back to Marist, Keelan said, “I have great respect for the band director, Andrew Creagh (’04). He does a great job with the band. So, the opportunity to work with him in a full-time position was not something I could pass up.”
As band members and parents know, being in band is a huge commitment. “Band is a life lesson….You need to show up and do your part, no one else can do it for you,” Keelan said. “In band, you build skills that last a lifetime, and along the way you get to make great music and friends.”
Keelan said he hopes to impart how enriching music is and how the effort to hone your skills as a musician will raise the quality of your life and those around you.
You can see Mr. Keelan with the band at tonight’s football game!