Denis Callaghan


About Me

Hello, My name is Denis Callaghan and I am the new music/ sr. Foods teacher here at Ecole St. Joseph.  I was born in Elliot Lake ON.  At the age of eight I moved to Chelmsford, ON.  It was there that he would gain an interest in instrumental music thanks to my secondary school music teacher Mrs. Robinson. 

After secondary school I enrolled in the music program at Cambrian College in Sudbury, ON studying double bass under the tutelage of Dr. Metro Kozak.  It wasn’t until I became a theory/composition major at the Memorial University of Newfoundland that he dabbled into the realm of composition studying with Dr. Kati Agocs.  My pieces such as “Saturday Night Strut” for 4 double basses and  “Brass Quintet #1” explore extended techniques, which create a sound world not usually associated with the instruments written for.  My music combines pop music idioms such as rock, jazz, rockabilly and heavy metal with chromatic harmony and atonality to create a unique sound experience.

In 2008 I placed 3rd in the New Gower Concert Band Composition contest with His piece “Shansu” for concert band.  “Shansu” is inspired by the television series Angel.  The origin of word “Shansu” means both life and death in an ancient language.  This piece explores the triumphant emotions associated with life and the melancholy emotions of death and how at times the two become intertwined.

During my post secondary education I found work as a line cook to help pay for school.  I gained experience and worked as a head cook in several kitchens over the past 10 years.  During this time I was able to hone my culinary skills as well as my musicianship.

After completing my bachelor of education degree at Nipissing University in North Bay, ON, I spent one year teaching first year theory and string courses at Cambrian College in Sudbury, ON.  Aside from my teaching duties I would also mentor young composers who were enrolled in the music program.

I started my teaching career in Drumheller Alberta, where I taught music and health at an elementary school.  During this time I had my grade 3 students writing short 16 measure original compositions, grade 4 create soundscape compositions using non-traditional notation.  In addition to that I also had my grade 5 classes learning 4-5 chord pop/rock songs on ukulele so they could accompany the school choir during the year-end awards ceremony.

This is now my 5th year teaching music and sr. foods here at Ecole St Joseph School and I couldn’t be happier.  I now get to share my two passions with almost every student in our school.  This is quite literally a dream job for me. It has been amazing watching my band and foods classes grow in numbers and talent in the past 4 years and I am excited to see what the future brings.

I am very excited about this upcoming year in our new building, and I look forward to building relationships with students and parents of Ecole St. Joseph.  I can be reached anytime at