Thomas Bergeron is the Director of Music at Deerfield and teaches AP Music Theory and Advanced Music Composition, Production, and Analysis. Before coming to Deerfield, Mr. Bergeron held teaching positions at Williams College, Tufts University, Bennington College, Yale, Amherst College, and the Brimmer and May School. He is currently a member of the Atlantic Brass Quintet and the Principal Trumpet of the Springfield Symphony. Mr. Bergeron has performed with The American Symphony, The Temptations, T-Pain, Vampire Weekend, Idina Menzel, The Four Tops, Judy Collins, Arlo Guthrie, and numerous Broadway shows. His television appearances include Saturday Night Live, Jimmy Kimmel Live, and CBS This Morning. He spent two years in residence at Carnegie Hall with Juilliard’s Ensemble Connect and holds two advanced degrees from Yale, where he won the Woolsey Hall Concerto Competition and received the John Swallow Award for excellence in brass playing. Thomas is a Conn-Selmer Endorsement Artist.
Michael Pfitzer is the Choral Director at Deerfield. He has spent the last ten years working with choirs in the Boston and Albany areas. He was previously the Director of Choral Studies at the University at Albany and has taught and conducted choirs at Harvard University, Boston University, Framingham State University, and the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He has also led international performances in Cuba, Romania, and Brazil. Mr. Pfitzer earned a D.M.A. degree in Conducting from Boston University in 2019, which culminated in the New York State premiere of Cuban composer José María Vitier’s masterwork Misa Cubana. He has collaborated with artists such as Robert Patterson, Dr. André de Quadros, Craig Hella Johnson and Conspirare, Lina Gonzalez-Granados and the Unitas Ensemble, Dr. Kyra Gaunt, and popular musician MILCK.
John Van Eps was born into a family of musicians. Van Eps is a distinguished producer, composer and engineer and has recieved an M.M. in Percussion Performance from New England Conservatory. He has studied with Vic Firth, Gary Burton, David Samuels, Tony Ames on Percussion, Thomas McKinley, Patrick Hollenbeck for Composition. He has written songs for numerous feature films and has written thousands of commercial scores including Chevy, Ford, Xerox, AT&T, Advil, Visa, Tyco, Fisher Price, Jell-O, McDonalds and Campbell’s.
Sarah Swersey is the Music Program Coordinator, flute teacher and an ensemble coach at Deerfield. She has performed all over the United States and abroad as an orchestral and chamber musician. During her seven years as principal flutist of the Orquesta Sinfónica de Tenerife in the Canary Islands, Spain, she performed all over Europe both with the orchestra and as a guest soloist. She has performed at the Lincoln Center Festival, Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall and the Tanglewood Music Festival. She has appeared on several recordings by Grammy Award-winning cellist David Darling, who co-produced Sarah’s solo flute CD, Nightingale.
She plays an eclectic mix of music with guitarist Joe Belmont in their ensemble, Duo Fusion. She holds degrees from Oberlin College Conservatory and Yale University School of Music.
How is today’s music put together? What path does music take from the time it leaves the creator until it arrives in your ear . Working in the recording studio, we will learn all aspects of production. Starting with pre-production, then recording, then editing, then mixing. Students will need to do much of the homework in the studio itself.
Singing builds community, commitment, self-discipline, personal ownership, and responsibility to the group. Open to anyone, and focused on singing, this course will introduce and develop skills in interpreting musical notation and understanding of melody, harmony, rhythm, and aesthetics. Students will develop proper singing technique and healthy habits relating to body alignment, breath management, vowel formation, proper resonation, clear diction, and accurate intonation. Classroom activities include sight-singing, light calisthenics, breathing exercises, meditation, historical research, music games, and improvisation. The ensemble will study and perform a wide range of musical styles and genres, including regularly dividing into separate Soprano/Alto and Tenor/Bass groups.
Open by audition to advanced singers, this course builds on previously demonstrated skill in interpreting musical notation and understanding of melody, harmony, rhythm, and aesthetics. Students will develop proper singing technique and healthy habits relating to body alignment, breath management, vowel formation, proper resonation, clear diction, and accurate intonation. Classroom activities include sight-singing, light calisthenics, breathing exercises, meditation, historical research, music games, and improvisation. The ensemble will study and perform a wide range of musical styles and genres, including serving as an SATB a cappella ensemble.
This course provides an opportunity for experienced woodwind, brass, and percussion players to collaborate in a variety of ensemble settings including concert band, woodwind chamber groups, brass ensembles, saxophone ensembles, percussion groups, and jazz/rock bands.Ensemble assignments are made by the course instructor, and additional ensemble coaches are drawn from the applied teaching staff. Students work on improving their blend, technique, intonation, musicianship, ensemble playing, and improvisational skills.
This class aims to empower students to compose, produce, and share their own musical creations by unlocking the secrets of what makes music magical. To some degree, students willchoose the repertoire that we analyze. We we will break down and study elements of harmony, rhythm, melody, architecture, structure, color, instrumentation/orchestration, studio production choices, and performance techniques. Students will compose multiple musical works,both large scale and small, inspired by the secrets that we unlock through our various analyses. There will be opportunities to publish and share projects, including live performances and digital distribution services such as Spotify. Collaboration with other courses (e.g. Studio Production, Digital Filmmaking) will be encouraged. Industry-standard tools such as Avid Sibelius music composition software and ProTools production software will be learned and employed for projects.
This course offers our most advanced instrumentalists the opportunity to work in small ensembles, learning and performing repertoire by the world’s greatest composers. Class time consists of rotating coaching by Mr. Bergeron and our professional staff, performance classesin the Concert Hall (including peer feedback), student-led rehearsals, and guest artist visits (masterclasses and performances) from renowned chamber musicians. Students explore questions of performance practice, instrumental technique, emotion, expression, historical context, music theory, compositional architecture, performance psychology, and group dynamics. Each semester culminates with the Chamber Music Showcase Concert in the Concert Hall, which is open to the public and professionally recorded. Daily practice is expected and participation in the Deerfield Orchestra is required of all chamber musicians except pianists. Chamber musicians should also be taking private lessons.
The Deerfield Orchestra performs the world’s greatest symphonic repertoire from the baroque, classical, romantic, and contemporary eras, plus music from film and video games, pop artists, and original compositions by student composers. The orchestra has toured domestically and internationally. All string players are welcome to play in the group. Wind and brass participation is by audition. The orchestra rehearsals on Tuesday evenings from 7:00pm – 8:30pm, after sit-down dinner. Students enrolled in the Advanced Chamber Music class form the orchestra’s core of principal players, but this is not a requirement for participation in the orchestra.
The Deerfield Chorus is Deerfield’s largest choral ensemble, with participants from our student, faculty, staff, and local communities all singing together. The group performs choral repertoire from a wide variety of styles, traditions, and eras. The Chorus regularly performs with The Deerfield Orchestra and other local groups. All singers are welcome without an audition, from beginners to experienced musicians. The Chorus rehearsals on Tuesday evenings from 7:00pm – 8:30pm, after sit-down dinner. Students enrolled in the Advanced Vocal Ensemble and Chorus classes form the chorus’s core, but this is not a requirement for participation in the chorus.
Deerfield Academy is home to three student-led a cappella groups. The Rhapso-D’s are Deerfield’s soprano and alto group, the Mellow-D’s are Deerfield’s tenor and bass group, and the Reme-D’s are Deerfield’s group for all voice types. The groups meet twice per week, in the evenings after sit-down dinners, and are open by audition to interested singers at the beginning of the school year.
Our staff of over twenty highly qualified music teachers offer on-campus private music lessons for every orchestral wind and string instrument, piano, voice, bagpipes, and organ. Private lessons in jazz improvisation, composition, songwriting, and music production are also available. Our private teaching staff is curated to include a variety of professional backgrounds in order to accommodate every level of student, from beginner to conservatory-ready, as well as a range of specialties from classical and jazz to rock and pop.
Lessons are scheduled throughout the school day during students’ free periods, or after school during the cocurricular block. Students who receive tuition assistance will receive the same level of financial aid towards the cost of their private lessons.
Xiao Lan Wang
John Van Eps
Stephen Page (jazz piano)
Agnes Coakley Cox
Dr. Thomas Pousont
Dr. Michael Pfitzer
Before they enter Deerfield, all new students are required to take a math placement test to determine an appropriate class. Students who have already taken a language they wish to continue studying at Deerfield will take a placement test to determine what level class they should take. If the placement in either department is deemed inappropriate after the student arrives, then the section teacher may suggest a change of level. Students may also request such a change and should consult with their teacher and their academic advisor before contacting the Dean of Studies.
Study abroad is available to all students from their sophomore to senior years, although typically students who choose to go abroad will do so during their junior year.
In order to garner Honors distinction a student must have a cumulative term average above 90.0%. High Honors requires an average of 93.0% or above. Exemplary students with a grade point average of 92.0 or higher may qualify for admission to the Cum Laude Society, a national honor society.
Because of its commitment to rigorous academics, Deerfield offers a wide range of accelerated and Advanced Placement courses. All of Deerfield’s classes are appropriately challenging, but AP and accelerated courses provide an extra challenge for ambitious students.
All students are assigned a faculty advisor at the beginning of their time at Deerfield. After their first year students may choose a new advisor, or continue with their original one, depending on the relationships they have developed with Deerfield’s faculty. Advisors are responsible for submitting course requests and writing an advisor report every term. They are available for any questions a student may have and are involved in every major academic or athletic decision a student makes while at Deerfield. In addition, faculty eat lunch with their advisees every Thursday and may schedule outside events for their advisees. Advisors are a key component of the Deerfield experience, as they provide guidance and friendship to students throughout their time at Deerfield.
The Pursuit of Excellence Policy states that students may miss up to five class days a year if an unusual and extraordinary opportunity arises, including opportunities in a variety of academic, athletic, and artistic fields. The Academic Affairs Office determines the legitimacy of pursuit of excellence requests on a case-by-case basis.