Band Teacher Johnson Shares Passion, Enthusiasm with NDA Students

Payton Van Pelt, Staff Writer, Advanced Journalism

In the new school year, not only are students trying to adjust, but a slew of new teachers are as well.

One new face is band director Steve Johnson. Before his career as a band teacher, Mr. Johnson was utilizing his passion for music.

“ I made a living playing saxophone and other woodwinds and teaching part time and privately for a number of years.”

His wife convinced him to apply for the opening at St. John the Baptist for band director in 2007.

“For the last three years I was split between St. John the Baptist and Holy Family school,” explained Johnson. “I also taught at Resurrection School.”

Mr. Johnson has been working relentlessly with the band since the start of the school year.

“As you know, the first two home football games were the first two Fridays of the school year. Those were two very busy weeks!” recalled Johnson.

He described his two biggest challenges: not being split between buildings and more performances rather than ensembles.

Johnson also praised the band students’ eagerness.

“The students are wonderful. They are very energetic, and I love how passionate they are about whatever it is that they are most into,” he said.

Mr. Flaten first contacted Mr. Johnson after hearing the band at St. John’s Spring Fine Arts Show last May.

“Teaching at Notre Dame Academy has been really great. I’m enjoying it a lot,” he said.

Johnson is also apart of Brass Differential, a band Mr. Bill Hill, his predecessor, asked him to join.

“It’s a lot of fun to be a part of a band that has sousaphone instead of bass guitar. It gives the whole band more of an authentic New Orleans vibe,” Johnson explained.

Johnson and Brass Differential played at Art Street last summer, the 400 Block in Wausau and a number of other places around the state.

Aside from playing saxophone in Brass Differential, Mr. Johnson also plays the flute, clarinet and trumpet, but switched to saxophone when he was nineteen.

He and his wife are also expecting their first child–a boy–in early January.

Johnson brings to the Notre Dame community not only talent, but also passion, for what he does.

“I like band very much,” he recalled. “I’ve spent most of my life working as a musician and music teacher and I find it to be very rewarding.”