When Mr. Patterson departed on his semester-long sabbatical, he left a big pair of shoes to fill; luckily for Belmont Hill, Mr. Dennis Slaughter seems very capable of doing so. Mr. Slaughter is certainly well-travelled; his journey has taken him through doctorate, certificate, master’s, and bachelor’s programs at Northeastern, Harvard, Boston University, and the University of Southern Mississippi. His journey began, however, in Jackson, Mississippi, in his family of five. Anyone who attended last year’s Spring Concert was lucky enough to witness his first dazzling performance at Belmont Hill. Despite beginning piano studies at a “late” nine, his fascination with the instrument led him to major in piano performance at USM. His involvement in his communities’ musical spheres began with the direction of church music at the age of 12 and continues to this day. After earning his degree, Mr. Slaughter turned his focus to music education; at BH, he teaches the B-Flats and Music Appreciation.
In addition to his schooling, Mr. Slaughter is also vastly well-travelled in his professional affairs. He has been a meritorious educator throughout his professional life, with over twenty years of experience in providing students from ages K-12 and beyond career development guidance. He has held many positions in the academic world, and he has a wealth of experience in the design of training that maximizes individual and group capacity, team-building, diversity, and community outreach. After decades of multifaceted work, Mr. Slaughter retired in 2014… until Mr. Patterson sought him out. Mr. Slaughter has three goals for the semester: firstly, he hopes to help the B-Flats recognize the inner voice that can have audiences rapt; secondly, he wants students of Music Appreciation to see parallels between varying types of music, from canon to world to modern.
When Mr. Slaughter took his own sabbatical years ago, he greatly enjoyed the opportunity to renew himself, whereby he reveled in understanding that somebody was “holding things down” at his workplace. His third and final goal is to alleviate the pressure from Mr. Patterson, “to make sure that, while he’s away, he doesn’t have to worry”; I am sure that Mr. Slaughter is up to the task.