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Wednesday, June 3, 2020

Music faculty appoints department chair

Patrick Roulet plays the djemble in his office on Oct. 1. Roulet grew up watching his dad, a jazz drummer, perform. // Photo by Ana Soltero

By Ana Soltero

A familiar face has taken on a new lead with the department of music.

The music faculty appointed Patrick Roulet ,Ph.D, to the chair of the department of music. Roulet is also an associate professor and the percussion area coordinator, according to the Department of Music website. This school year will be his sixth consecutive year at Western. But Roulet said his time at Western goes back 25 years.

“I got the call from the music department chair here at Western, [saying] they need a percussion teacher for one day a week,” Roulet said. 

In a span of 10 years, Roulet said he went from being a percussion teacher to being a lecturer while freelancing with the Seattle Symphony and the Seattle Ballet Orchestra. In 2004, he left for Southern Utah University.

“I left Western, and I never wanted to leave, but it was part-time,” Roulet said. “It was a non-tenure track position. So, I left for this tenure-track position].”

Roulet said attributes his interest in music to his father, who is a jazz drummer.

“I grew up watching him perform … he had a regular Friday night gig at a pizza place,” Roulet said. “So, when I was a little kid that’s what I did on Friday nights: watch him play.”

Despite the large period of time he spent teaching at SUU Roulet said he always had Bellingham in the back of his head.

“Western is where I feel like I really learned how to teach,” he said. “I really connect with the community here, the students and faculty colleagues.” 

Heather Dalberg, administrative services manager for the department of music, describes

Roulet as hardworking with the best intentions in mind. He made it clear that he wants the department to move in a direction that will benefit students, she said.

The former chair of the music department, Christopher Bianco, led the recent growth of the department, Dalberg said.

“Patrick came along and he really wanted to take on the rest. It’s been nothing but good for the department, him being hired,” Dalberg said. “I’m glad that the faculty all agreed; he was the right guy at the right time.”

Percussion instructor  Kendra McLean said Roulet always has the students’ best interests in mind.

“Dr. Roulet is a wonderful leader, and we are very fortunate to have him as Music Department Chair,” she said.

A close up of Patrick Roulet playing the djemble on Oct. 1. Roulet is the new chair for the Department of Music. // Photo by Ana Soltero

With Roulet’s new position, changes within the department are inevitable. He said he wants to work on trying to create a sense of community within the department, and encourage sustainability, diversity and identity expression.

Roulet said he is working on building a team to make the department more sustainable because, as of right now, they do a lot of printing and copying. He is also looking into how they should recruit students of color and first-generation students to become music teachers.

While clearing out his previous office, Roulet mentioned that he found a file with about 30 rejection letters from teaching jobs he had applied to. 

“If I could give advice to somebody, it’s [to] just keep going,” Roulet said. “You may fail, and that is all part of the process, and I guess I’ve never been afraid to fail.”


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