Mount St. Joseph University

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Dateline: student newspaper

By: Sasha Feldmann

File Under: choir, dateline, music department

Joseph Rivers headshot

Often times, you can tell a lot about a person by what it is that sustains them. Joseph Rivers eats, sleeps, and breathes music. He is the Mount’s new Choir Director, but he is far from new to the Cincinnati arts scene.

Music has been a constant in Rivers’ life. His father’s love of it sparked his interest, and as a child he sang at church and in a summer chorus. For a time, he drifted away from it, but when he attended Anderson High School, he ended up taking advantage of the music program with the encouragement of his friends. He played the trumpet and joined choir his senior year. Originally, he planned to major in computer science in college, when he realized he didn’t want a desk job. He wanted to be up, going around, and truly interacting with people. That’s when he decided to follow his passion.

Rivers earned his B.M.E. from Morehead State University, where he met his wife. A musician herself, of course, she played the clarinet, but is now more focused on singing. She teaches elementary music and attends the College Conservatory of Music, where Rivers would go on to earn his M.M. in Music Education. After graduating, he was teaching music in multiple forms in the Boone County School District, when he got a call from his friend Mark McCafferty about an opening at the Mount.

Here, he directs the university singers, teaches music education and piano classes (available to all majors), and coordinates special mass music with Sister Karen Elliott. Rivers is also still extremely active in the community, serving as music director and performer in a myriad of choirs and ensembles in Cincinnati. He sings and plays the trumpet, tuba, trombone, piano, and organ. In his free time, he loves going to parties where everyone sings show tunes, and his idea of a fun Friday night is researching new pieces for the Mount choir. “I am most looking forward to giving students a unique, one-on-one experience that will not only set them up for a career but for a successful life in general,” he says, “I want to give back to the community and be a helpful presence wherever they go.”  No doubt he will be a source of inspiration for the Mount community, and we would like to wish him a warm welcome.