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Davis Journal

Syracuse High music director named Utah Music Educator of the Year

Jan 25, 2024 08:40AM ● By Becky Ginos
The Syracuse High School madrigals on the staircase at Abravanel Hall. The choir’s director, Nathan Egan was honored at last week’s school board meeting. Courtesy photo

The Syracuse High School madrigals on the staircase at Abravanel Hall. The choir’s director, Nathan Egan was honored at last week’s school board meeting. Courtesy photo

SYRACUSE—Nathan Egan grew up playing music. Whether it was singing with his family together at home or church, Egan was surrounded by music. He played trumpet in junior high and high school and sang in choir. Now he is Director of Choirs, Performing Arts Department Chair at Syracuse High School and was recently named Utah Music Educator of the Year, by UMEA (Utah Music Educators Association).

“I was the first professional musician in the family,” Egan said. “Music and the performing arts was a big part of my family, but mostly we just had fun.”

Egan got a bachelor’s degree in music education from BYU and a master’s in choral efficiency. “I’ve loved all music,” he said. “I like how it is connected to the heart. I like the sound of human voices together. We all have the same instrument but we have different bodies so voices are all unique and individual while coming together to make something amazing.”

Also, the words, said Egan. “They’re like poetry. Words are meaningful and help share what the music is conveying.”

Egan said his mindset has always been to be a high school teacher. “I like to experience the culture around it. I enjoy working with the age group of 15-18. It’s a fun group. It’s always what I’ve had in mind so when I got a job I stuck with it.”

Every choir teacher brings something different, he said. “It depends on who we are and our philosophy. You bring yourself to the kids and create an environment where they feel respected and free to be themselves and create a product together.”

Kids who love working hard, said Egan. “Kids who are proud of themselves for all of their growth.”

Egan’s choirs have received many accolades for their performances. “We have appeared at the state festival every year and three to four kids are going to state every year,” he said. “We’ve also been invited to festivals. The men's choir was supposed to be featured at the men's choir festival in 2020 but it was canceled because of COVID.”

The madrigals were selected to perform for the American Choral Directors Association in 2020, said Egan. “At the UMEA we performed this year for all choir educators who attend in the state.”

“Mr. Egan does phenomenal things at the school,” said Principal Jed Johansen at a school board meeting where Egan was honored. “He helps with plays and musicals. I’ve never seen kids have so much allegiance to a teacher than Mr. Egan.”

What he says to the kids is what they’ll do, he said. “Kids show up early and stay late. He has them busy doing a multitude of things. He has summertime events, after school events and choir performances.”

He takes pride in his work, said Johansen. “As a result we have what we have here at Syracuse High. There’s standing room only at all of his concerts and it’s because he does a really, really great job.”

“I love the process of education and mentorship,” said Egan. “It’s nice seeing people improve in something they love and help them in creating something nobody can do alone. I enjoy seeing the kids do what they love and making memories. That ah ha moment when they see how far they’ve come. It’s a sublime experience.”