Skip to ContentBack to top

Aspiring Musician Nathan Smitiuch ’24 Wins Music Scholarship to University of Toronto

A passionate and dedicated student-musician, Nathan Smitiuch ’24, has chosen the University of Toronto’s (U of T) Faculty of Music to continue his educational journey after receiving an $8,000 entrance scholarship.

“I chose the University of Toronto’s Faculty of Music for the same reason I chose St. Michael’s College School in Grade 11: to be in an environment that motivates me to strive for excellence,” says Smitiuch, who earned his entrance scholarship following an impressive live trombone audition. “U of T Music offers a rigorous programme and talented musicians who motivate and support each other to help further each other’s development. I see this programme providing the discipline, training, and performance opportunities I experienced at SMCS, but with a dedicated focus in the field of music.”

As part of the U of T programme, Smitiuch will also have the opportunity to work with renowned faculty members and take private lessons with teachers from the Toronto Symphony Orchestra (TSO).

Nathan Smitiuch '24 playing trombone at Club Bluenote at SMCS.

Smitiuch’s journey in music began in Grade 5 when he first picked up the trombone in his elementary school music class.

“I never anticipated pursuing music through high school and now into university,” says Smituich, who recalls his passion for music was inconsistent initially. “I remember when at my old high school in Grades 9 and 10, I had a very on-and-off passion for music; some days, I felt like quitting trombone. I felt very unmotivated in my environment, lacked motivation to get better at my instrument, and didn’t find it that fun. I decided to take a risk and transfer to SMCS at the beginning of Grade 11, hoping that a change in environment would reignite my passion for music. This decision proved to be the right one, as the energy in the room was vibrant and alive, completely reactivating my motivation to practice music.”

The move to SMCS sparked a renewed passion for music and commitment to improve.

“I quickly felt like I belonged in the music room,” he says. “I felt motivated to continue music as a passion and was inspired by an environment with talented student musicians such as Leo Kim ’24 and Philip Grochmal ’23. I remember my music teacher, Mr. Oatt, allowing me to practice in the music room until he left for the day. This happened almost daily, and sometimes I would stay past 7 p.m.”

In addition to rediscovering his passion and potential on the trombone, Smitiuch also taught himself to play the trumpet, finding it complimented his trombone playing as a hobby.

“My commitment to U of T ensures I am going to learn from the best,” says Smituich. “This programme promises to provide the discipline, training, and performance opportunities I experienced at SMCS but with a dedicated focus on music.”

Nathan Smitiuch '24 performing with the band at the SMCS Spring Concerts.

During his time at SMCS, he was involved in several bands and ensembles, including Sr. Band, Sr. Jazz, and Drumline. Sr. Jazz provided an excellent opportunity to improve his trombone skills, while Drumline allowed him to learn the snare drum. In Grade 12, he opened their first show at the Canadian Drumline Festival with a vocal solo and did the same at the Spring Concert.

Smitiuch also had the privilege of participating in the Chicago Trip Band in Grade 11 and the Florida Trip Band in Grade 12, where they performed on stage at Disney in Orlando. Additionally, he played trombone in the orchestra pit for the musical “Newsies” in Grade 12, working alongside professional musicians and gaining invaluable experience.

“Nathan is one of the most talented trombone players I have ever taught here in my 30 years at St. Michael’s,” says Jamie Oatt, Head of Music. “Many nights, he has stayed behind at school to practice developing his sound and technique. He certainly has the drive and dedication to have an incredible career as a musician.”

In addition to his aspiring music career, Smitiuch immersed himself in a myriad of co-curricular activities at the school, including Bible Study Club, fall drama, cross country, track and field, and curling. He also played community basketball and baseball.

“St. Mike’s was challenging, but it taught me discipline and the ability to manage my schedule. It also allowed me to engage in the opportunities I wanted to pursue,” he says.

Nathan Smitiuch '24 playing trombone at Club Bluenote at SMCS.

In Grade 12, he was honoured to receive the Sr. Jazz Award and the Sr. Band Talent Award, recognizing his contributions and achievements in music.

Smitiuch is excited to embark on this new journey at U of T and looks forward to the opportunities and challenges that lie ahead.

“While I am considering making music a full-time career, I am keeping my options open. As for now, I plan to focus on developing my trombone skills at university. Beyond that, I am contemplating either pursuing a graduate degree in music, law school, or seminary. My career aspirations range from becoming a lawyer, pastor, or worship leader to pursuing music full-time or as a side endeavour. One thing I am certain about is that my future is in God’s hands. I am committed to working diligently to allow God to work through me, glorifying His kingdom in whatever path He wills for me to pursue.”

Related links:

Music Programme

Experiential Learning

Related Stories