When Gamaliel P. Fleurantin was in elementary school, he knew he wanted to become a teacher when he would finish his assignments early and move on to help his peers. Fast forward to middle school, when he joined the band and choir, he knew he wanted to become a music teacher. Last year, Fleurantin was part of STU history when he joined the STU family as the Assistant Director of Band and Choir in the bands inaugural season. Now, he’ll be taking over as the STU Director of Band and Choir. Meet the man who has big plans for our St. Thomas University music program.
What led you on your career path? I love music, I love people and I love how music brings people together. The exposure and hands on experience in both band and choir throughout my education are what led me on this career path. What better way to share such experiences than to pay it back through teaching? I earned my Bachelor of Science from Florida A&M University in K-12 Music Education and then earned my Masters of Arts in Music Performance at Florida Atlantic University.
Tell us about your experience with music. I have been working in this industry professionally since August 2009. I started off at the Young Men’s Preparatory Academy where I founded the Superior-Rated Jazz Band and Choir program. The program was successful, so I was given the opportunity to start a Funk (pep) Band and served as the overseer for the Drumline and Guitar Club. I also worked at Howell L. Watkins Middle School and was able to take the jazz band to evaluation for the first time in the school’s history. Before coming to STU, I was down the street at Miami Carol City Senior High as the Director of Bands. I successfully brought the marching and concert band back to Superior rating in the bands first 4 – 5 years. In 2018, I closed off my time at the high school by bringing back their choir program. Last year, I joined the #STUFam as the Assistant Director of Band and Choir and was able to get front row seats to the inaugural STU Band! Watching how transformational music is to the lives of young students has been amazing. Specifically, I look back on my time at the Young Men’s Preparatory Academy fondly. Through playing instruments and singing, I was able to get the young men there to grow and expand their minds and watch them transform from young boys into young men.
How did you end up at STU? I met Ken Carr, the former band director, back in March 2019 while he was out recruiting for the STU Band and Choir. I knew he had a great opportunity in his hands and I told him I would be willing to help him recruit students for STU’s Band and Choir. I have a community choir, Community Sounds, that I direct. Our choir was invited to sing for a community event that President Armstrong would be attending. Ken would always tell me about President David A. Armstrong and his vision for STU while we were out recruiting, but hadn’t had the chance to meet him at that point. Here comes the good part. At the event we sang “How Great Thou Art” right before President Armstrong was introduced to speak. Turns out that was one of his favorite hymns. What a way to meet STU’s President right? Long story short, in July 2019, I got a call from Ken to inform me that an assistant position has opened and the President would love to hire me. Fast forward one year and now I’m the Director of Band & Choir.
What do you hope to accomplish with the STU Band & Choir? I’ll forever treasure being part of STU’s Inaugural Band. I love that I have the privilege of building a program from the ground up. I want people to think about St. Thomas and the music program and say to themselves that we’re, “The Catholic University with Mad Soul!” Besides having the largest student organization on campus, I want our band and choir students to be STU ambassadors. I want everyone to love and appreciate our music program, not just the Bobcats that are involved with it. I hope to have 150 or more band members and 100 or more choir members within 5 years. I want the #STUFam to continue to grow, especially with a few more musically-inclined Bobcats.
The St. Thomas University Band & Choir continues to grow and is preparing for a second year of cheering on our STU Bobcats. Gamaliel will be recruiting throughout the summer for current and soon-to-be Bobcats interested in joining the STU Band & Choir.
Learn more about the Band & Choir, the scholarships available and more here!