Musical Director

Devlin J. Pope, Musical and Artistic Director

Devlin J. Pope, hailing from Columbus, Ohio, is Musical and Artistic Director of the University Heights Symphonic Band. After his own positive experiences with directors through his life, Devlin Pope brings a passion for music and adults continuing their musical education to the University Heights Symphonic Band.

His musical journey began in 5th grade, when he was drawn to playing the clarinet after his band director’s demonstration of its range. Devlin picked up the bassoon and saxophone, joining jazz band in high school. He doesn’t have a favorite genre, but there’s always something you can find to play in everything, he said.

Devlin studied music education at Ohio University, with a focus on bassoon. While at OU, he joined the Marching 110, multiple woodwind quartets, symphonic band, orchestra, wind ensemble, as well as Leading Tones, a prominent “a Capela” group.

His desire to help lead others through their musical journeys started after the positive impacts he felt on his own journey. Devlin had many positive role models throughout his education and by high school, he felt he’d had many positive impacts through his music education. By becoming an educator, he felt he could pass on those positive impacts to other students.

Devlin has taught at Garfield Heights City Schools for 11 years. As a teacher in this day and age, Devlin feels it is difficult, exacerbated by COVID-19, but also the social divide caused by financial challenges of students, home life and social media bullying.

It can be tough to keep kids motivated and focused, in band and the classroom. Band is an activity where a direct correlation between input can be seen in the impact, or changes, a student musician can have after a director works with them, Devlin said. ,

Devlin’s master’s degree focused on working with adult learners and working with the symphonic band is another way to help keep adults playing music, as he feels he hears “I used to play an instrument” too often.

Also, directing the symphonic band is another way to be a part of the members’ passion for music. Devlin said he’s impressed with their ongoing mission to produce good, quality music, as they seek to hold themselves to a high standard, making performances an opportunity to shine.

Throughout the years, Devlin has earned several awards, including the Black Men Teach Award with the Metropolitan Cleveland Alliance of Black School Educators; finalist for teacher of the year; and ‘Roses for Teachers,’ a student-given award recognizing teachers’ hard work.