Brother Rice Welcomes New Band Director, Mr. Rich Alifantis

While the Crusader Crazies get the bulk of the press as the most spirited “12th man” at Brother Rice High School sporting events, there’s no denying that it is the “sis-boom-bah” of the Brother Rice/Mother McAuley Marching band that really gets the hearts of the maroon and orange fanbase pumping.  With the departure of former band director Mr. Zach Zielinski at the end of the school year last spring, the search began for a replacement who would lead with the same energy and spirit of band directors gone-by.  

Cue Mr. Rich Alifantis.  

Brother Rice High School recently named the veteran music educator as the new band director. In this role, Alifantis will lead the Crusaders’ celebrated music programs, including teaching all the band classes (Wind Ensemble, Concert Band, Beginning Band, Marching Band, Jazz Band), Choir, and Music Appreciation.  Many of his students will perform in the Brother Rice/Mother McAuley Marching Band, beginning with home football games this fall.  

Alifantis is no stranger to Brother Rice, having performed in the pit orchestras for many of the musicals in which Crusader students have been involved over the past twenty years.  He has also worked with many BRHS graduates who have gone on to successful careers in music.  Now, after heading up the band program at Benet Academy in Lisle for the past fifteen years, Alifantis has found a new home at 99th and Pulaski.  

Of his new position, Alifantis says the transition has been smooth: “The Brother Rice/Mother McAuley band students were very welcoming and inclusive from the very first day of summer rehearsals.  They all want similar things: challenging literature, close personal bonds forged through the completion of something amazing, and, most importantly, having fun.”

That inclusivity is one of the most endearing qualities of the Brother Rice/Mother McAuley Marching Band, as well as of music classes in general, where students from varied backgrounds and with different interests come together to, as Alifantis puts it, “help make the difficult possible.”  His enthusiasm for his craft shines through when he speaks of the transformative power of music and performance “to inspire excellence, passion, and unity.”  

The new band director also shares praise for those who have come before him and those still along for the ride.  “I have known several of the previous band directors and the rich and heavy history does not fall lightly upon me.  None of this would be possible without them and the support of an understanding and supportive administration who value and protect the music program.  Progress is our most important product.  We also would not have achieved our current level of accomplishment without the stalwart and dedicated direction of Mr. Jeremy Eberhard and Ms. Shannon Haak.”

Still, Alifantis knows who the “superstars” of the program are: the students.  Together, they are orchestrating a new era for the Brother Rice music program.  

“We are committed to nurturing a lifelong love and appreciation for music while instilling important values of respect, responsibility, and resilience in our band members. Together, we celebrate the joy of making music, forging lifelong friendships, and creating cherished memories,” adds Alifantis.

For more information about the Brother Rice music program, please contact Mr. Rich Alifantis at ralifantis@brrice.org.