New NRHEG band director bringing in longtime passion for music, band

Published 4:27 pm Tuesday, August 15, 2023

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NRHEG has a new music man, Seth Schaefer, who besides taking over as band director will teach general music and beginner band.

His musical career started with saxophone back in fifth grade, before quickly switching over to percussion, where he found a passion.

“My family was always pushing me to try new things whether it be sports or music or clubs,” he said, and described himself as an uneasy fifth grader.

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While in high school, his band director — Jeff Van Oort — encouraged him to pursue a career as a director, something he did as a student at North Dakota State University while studying percussion.

“Spent a lot of time with the marching band, they are the Gold Star Marching Band,” he said.

The band followed the school’s football team around, and he got to serve on their drumline, where he followed the football team down to Texas, and his senior year he served as president.
But it was time for something new.

“I had been in Fargo for a really long time and I was looking for something new, exciting,” he said.

Schaefer, who graduated from NDSU in 2020, started working at West Fargo High School.

“My experience there was fantastic,” he said, referring to his time as associate director of bands.

While there, he ran concert band, jazz band, pep band and had the opportunity to bring students to contests.

And he felt that experience, working at both the middle and high school levels, helped.

He hoped to bring a new perspective to the position, and described himself as a lifelong-learner who was always exploring what the world of band had to offer.

It helped being a percussionist.

“Depending on what you play it kind of expands what you hear in the band room,” he said. “As a percussionist I get to help percussionists make musical decisions as well as the other instruments making musical decisions,” he said.

And he wants to bring positivity to a district he described as having “an excellent marching band.”

He’d also like to grow the program while continuing community involvement.

He described his teaching style as being involved and fast-paced, and encouraged band members to ask questions.

“This community seems so supportive, and the opportunities that these students get are unlike some of the other schools I’ve seen,” he said, adding he looked forward to working with different age groups, the jazz band and the pep band.

Besides being a band director, he described himself as a gigging musician and wanted to be closer to the Twin Cities.

Schaefer, who looks forward to being a band director in the state, interviewed for the position in the spring. Originally from Oakes, North Dakota, he moved to Fargo for school.

In his free time he enjoys gigging with his friends, and plays in both bands that produce their own music and cover bands.

He enjoys seeing local theater and art, collects comic books and enjoys playing Magic: The Gathering.