Beloved choir director leaving Hastings for Haslett post
An opportunity in Haslett Public Schools will mean the loss of Hastings Area Schools' Choir Director Matt Callaghan after seven years with the district.
“Matt will be deeply missed,” Hastings Superintendent Dan Remenap said. “He has grown and developed Hastings' choir into the award-winning program it is today. While we are certainly sad to see Matt leave, we are happy for him and wish him the best."
Hastings resident Mark Ramsey called Callaghan a “godsend.”
“The man is a model of musicality, integrity, and commitment,” Ramsey wrote in a letter to the editor in The Banner. “We have been spoiled by the caliber of his choral - and musical - directorship at Hastings. I cannot say enough good things about the man.”
“He is a great man and even better director,” Hastings senior Evan Murphy said. “He truly connected with every kid individually with a bond that felt like friends. He was very good with keeping us all focused on our dreams, not just his choir program. He completely flipped the program.
“Not only did he manage to bring in kids with amazing talent, but drastically improved the culture surrounding the choir community. We are going to miss him so very much, and it will be very hard to fill his position.
“But, as he said, 'God has a plan for him and he needs to continue on the path presented to him.' ”
During his tenure as choir director, Callaghan added Men’s Glee Club and Bella Voce. He took both choirs to Carnegie Hall in New York City twice. They also traveled to Chicago Symphony Hall and participated in major choral competitions in the Midwest.
“He was really the thing that brought our choir together and made us really musically strong,” recent Hastings graduate and choir participant Ellie Youngs said.
During Callaghan’s time in Hastings, he helped transition the arts programs into the new choir room and the Hastings Performing Arts Center. He capped his career in Hastings last spring with the “Beauty and the Beast” production, which many community members called “a wild success.”
Callaghan received his master's degree from Michigan State University and added three children to his family during his time in Hastings.