By Richard Kaufman
Once a Cardinal, always a Cardinal.
On Wednesday, the class of 2019 announced that Rob Mathes, an Emmy-winning, Tony and Grammy nominated music arranger, composer, produce and director, will be the commencement speaker on June 17 at Cardinal Stadium.
Mathes, who graduated from GHS in 1981, has a strong connection to the community and Greenwich Public Schools. His father, George, was a band teacher in the district, and received the 1987 Distinguished Teacher Award. Mathes’ mother, Joan, taught numerous musicians in town. Mathes married Tammy Hume, who also went to GHS. Their two oldest children, Emma and Sarah, graduated from Greenwich High in 2013 and 2016 respectively. On June 17, the couple’s youngest daughter, Lily, will graduate, too.
“The Class of 2019 is very excited to have Mr. Rob Mathes as our Commencement Speaker,” said GHS Class President, James Heavey, according to a release from the district. “Not only is Mr. Mathes a GHS class of 1981 graduate, he has stayed connected to our high school and the music department since graduation. Once a cardinal, always a cardinal!”
Interim GHS Headmaster, Rick Piotrzkowski, spoke about the contributions Mathes has made to the school over the years.
“Rob is a highly accomplished musical composer, performer, and producer who understands the challenges and opportunities that high school graduates face. As a GHS parent and alumni, Rob has contributed to the fabric of our school in numerous ways: as a composer of songs sung by our choirs, as a mentor to numerous GHS students, as a guest speaker in classes and for Cardinal News,” Piotrzkowski said. “Rob embodies all that is great about GHS and we are delighted that he will be sharing some of his wisdom with our graduates. I am very pleased that the Class of 2019 chose to honor Rob Mathes as their speaker.”
According to a bio from Greenwich Public Schools, Mathes has produced recordings by Sting, Carly Simon, Rod Stewart, Bettye LaVette, Vanessa Williams, the band Panic at The Disco! and others.
He won the Emmy for his work on the Kennedy Center Honors, a program he musically directed for over a decade. He directed Obama’s Inaugural Celebration at the Lincoln Memorial and PBS’s Great Performances 40th Anniversary Special. He orchestrated the last three Bruce Springsteen records, the most recent of which, “Western Stars”, will be released in June. Mathes has arranged and conducted music for artists such as Elton John, Lou Reed, Beyonce, Beck, James Taylor, Jay-Z, Aretha Franklin, Stevie Wonder, Eric Clapton and Tony Bennett and also Classical artists like Yo-Yo Ma, Luciano Pavarotti and Renée Fleming.
Mathes recently orchestrated and conducted the song score for the hit film The Greatest Showman starring Hugh Jackman and wrote the arrangements for last year’s #1 record Pray For The Wicked by Panic At The Disco! (including the hit single High Hopes). He has released a number of pop records under his own name, most notably Evening Train and Orchestral Songs and he recently celebrated 25 years of sold out Holiday Concerts at SUNY/Purchase.
Greenwich High School (GHS) Graduation will be held on Monday, June 17, 2019 at 6:30pm* at the high school’s Cardinal Stadium.
*In case of inclement weather, the commencement ceremonies will be held indoors in the GHS Performing Arts Center in two groups – students with last names beginning with A-K will begin at 4:00 p.m., and students with last names beginning with L-Z will begin at 7:15 p.m. While seating for the outdoor ceremony is unlimited and on a first come, first serve basis, each family will receive two tickets for use in case there is an indoor ceremony.