Matt Haider

From an early age, Matt had a love for music. His grandmother, Margie, (who also played piano) always noticed his love for piano. She saw how intently he would sit watching her as she played and suggest to his parents that he should start lessons. When he was in first grade he began taking lessons. A year later he was playing solo piano pieces in three local churches during their Sunday services. And that's where the magic began. In fourth grade, when his church's organist fell ill, Matt was taken out of school to play for a funeral. From that point on, he was a regular weekend accompanist for his hometown parish. In seventh grade, he began accompanying the choral concerts for his junior high school, sparking his love for accompanying. He continued accompanying the junior high choirs, and also started accompanying the choirs at his high school as well as another high school in the Twin Cities. The summer following seventh grade, he accompanied the musical, "Godspell" for a local community theatre group. Through this experience, Matt found an interest in musical theatre and he continued playing for musical theatre productions. In the summer of 2001, after an orchestra conductor backed down, Matt had the opportunity to conduct the production from the piano. Following this show, Matt also found an interest in conducting musical theatre shows. He has been a part of over 30 musical theatre productions, serving as pianist, musical director and orchestra conductor.

During Matt's junior year of high school, he decided it was time to start recording his music. In 2003, Matt recorded two solo piano CD's, selling 2,500 at local establishments, through online orders, and an appearance on the KARE11 Saturday Morning Show.

In May of 2008, Matt graduated from the College of St. Benedict / St. John's University. During his time at St. John's, Matt took private piano lessons from Fr. Robert Koopmann. In the spring of 2008, Matt gave his senior recital at St. John's University with more than 300 people in attendance. Throughout his years at CSB/SJU, Matt accompanied the Campus Ministry Student Masses on Sunday nights, was rehearsal accompanist/coach for the music department's Opera Workshop Productions and accompanied more than 30 vocal/instrumental recitals. Another aspect of his undergrad that he enjoyed was his time spent with The St. John's Boys' Choir. He worked extensively in the office daily assisting the Executive Direcotr and also accompanied their Training, Junior Varsity and Concert Choirs.

Matt also enjoys liturgical music. In addition to being an accompanist at his home parish, St. Peter Catholic Church in Forest Lake, MN, he was hired in the summer of 2006 to be the Contemporary Music Consultant. Through this job, he implemented a blended worship service consisting of a mix of contemporary Christian music with more traditional folk music. He is in charge of scheduling and planning liturgies, overseeing the musicians at the mass, arranging instrument parts and creating seasonal worship aides with the music. He is now currently employed by Hosanna Lutheran Church in Forest Lake. His responsibilities include the planning and overseeing of five services per weekend between Hosanna's Forest Lake and Hugo campuses.

Besides performing for church entertainment, Matt has also used his music to raise funds for different organizations. During the summer of '05 Matt put together a small benefit concert for the American Cancer Society. This idea came after his grandmother, who started him in piano lessons, died from cancer. There were only four performers in the concert, but more than 100 people attended the popular show. The show raised more than $1,000 to benefit the American Cancer Society. The benefit concert continued and in the summers of '06, '07 and '08, he was joined by the Sisters of the Moonlight. The show now features 13 plus vocalists and numerous instrumentalists and technical workers. Each summer Matt organizes the event, which includes teaching music and simple choreography to the singers, rehearsing with the instrumentalists, putting together costumes and props, and publicizing the event. The concert in the summer of '08 drew more than 300 people and raised $6,500 for the American Cancer Society. From these events, Matt has raised more than $12,000 for the American Cancer Society. Plans for the 2009 Benefit Concert are currently underway, and will include the Sisters of the Moonlight traveling to Las Vegas.

In September of 2008, Matt began his first semester of a Masters Program at the University of Minnesota -Twin Cities Campus. He entered the Collaborative Piano Program there and is studying under the guidance of Timothy Lovelace and Noriko Kawai. This program focuses on aspects of what it means to be a collaborative pianist - not just an accompanist. That includes classes in diction in different languages, weekly lessons and rehearsals with singers and instrumentalists, and musical seminars. It is a two year program.