“A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum.” While Sean Teets, S.J. was busy performing in this musical comedy, along with other oratorios and small operas throughout his early life, God was at work in his heart, calling him to a life with the Jesuits.
Teets earned a Bachelor of Arts in Music from Youngstown State University in 2001, a master’s degree from Bowling Green State University in 2003, and a Doctor of Arts degree in Music Performance from the University of Northern Colorado in 2007. After working in rural Colorado as a choir director, he went on to serve as Director of Choral Activities at Louisiana Tech for five years, before becoming Director of Choral Music at Benedictine College in Atchison, Kansas.
During his second year at Benedictine, in the fall of 2014, a chance encounter with a fellow choir director at a Jesuit Come-and-See weekend helped him to realize that God was calling him. “I was happy in my job. I loved it,” says Teets. “But God was working on me slowly, and I was asking myself questions every day.”
He entered the Novitiate for the Midwest Province of the Society of Jesus soon after and ended up loving it, enjoying powerful new experiences like working with immigrants, homeless, and prisoners. “I found myself and my group of people that I can live and die with,” says Teets.
Now in his second year at Saint Ignatius, he is teaching freshmen theology, leading Kairos retreats, and appreciating the little moments that he has shared with students. He says, “There are so many different encounters, and they can trust you slowly over time. Accompanying students through the pandemic has also been uplifting to me.”
Teets appreciates the symbiotic ways he can use his talents on campus. He is using his musical gifts to assist Director of Choral and Liturgical Music David Croglio in growing the music program. In addition to helping with vocal training, Teets is recruiting grade school students and building relationships with the middle schools.
Along with the music program, Teets is also the football chaplain, a natural fit since he also played in high school. He says, “Football focuses on the same thing that choir does: the act of growing together, getting better, being one part of many.”
So what does the future hold for this man of music? His time at Saint Ignatius might be over at the end of this year, or he might be asked to stay one more year. Following that, Teets will finish his priestly training with three years of theology study at either Boston College or the Jesuit School of Theology in Berkeley. After his ordination, he would be happy to come back to Saint Ignatius, but he could also see himself in a college music program or working with vocations.
“My ultimate goal is to help others learn about themselves, and to grow in the Ignatian way of seeing the world,” Teets says.
Interested in Music?
If you would like to be part of the choral program at Saint Ignatius, many opportunities exist. From extracurriculars to course work, we offer Men's Chorus, Freshmen Chorus, A Cappella groups, cantoring opportunities, and more! To see a complete list, visit: www.ignatius.edu/students/extracurriculars/chorus