Where the Arts Thrive, Students Thrive

Dain Shuler has been going the distance for the USM band since 2001—literally. For fifteen years, the Band Director has been lugging equipment from the band practice room to the stage—at opposite ends of the School.

“It takes many students and 18 trips to get everything in place for one performance,” he says, “and each round trip is a quarter of a mile.” In other words, a new band rehearsal room—close to the stage—is music to Dain’s ears.

His wife, Ellen, is equally thrilled. As one of USM’s longstanding music teachers and co-chair of the Fine Arts Department, she is a huge fan of the plans to enhance the School’s performing arts facilities—and to grow programming as a result.

“At a time when so many schools are cutting arts programming, I am proud that USM is stepping up and saying that the arts are essential,” says Ellen, who has worked with several community arts groups, including the Bel Canto Boy Choir, a prestigious audition-only group she founded seven years ago.

A love of the performing arts and USM runs deep in the Shuler family. Philip ’15 is studying studio art and musical performance (french horn) at Montana State University. Ethan ’16 plans to study musical performance (bassoon) and science in college.

The Shulers believe that the performing arts have an important place in a great education. “Our arts program touches the lives of every student,” says Ellen. “When the arts thrive, students thrive.”


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