Senior Profile: Emmanuel Morgan

Emmanuel Morgan snaps along to the rhythm of the song. Photo courtesy of Emmanuel Morgan.

Photo courtesy of Emmanuel Morgan.

Emmanuel Morgan snaps along to the rhythm of the song. Photo courtesy of Emmanuel Morgan.

Tom Mueller, sports editor

Spotlights illuminating the piano and drum set onstage contrasted the Fox Theater audience shadowed in darkness. A wave of anticipation rippled throughout the crowd, building into thundering applause following the host’s introduction of the next act: Consecrated. Clad in white tuxedos, Emmanuel Morgan, now senior, settled in at the piano, his brother Thaddeus, now junior, at the drums. For Emmanuel, the nervousness of playing in the 2019 St. Louis Teen Talent Competition faded as he began to play.

“One of the best feelings [is] to have all that nervousness [disappear] when you step on stage,” Emmanuel said. “The air feels cleaner. I see Thaddeus, a face I know, [and] since I love that guy, it helps me calm down.” 

As a self-taught pianist, Emmanuel has refined his skills through constant practice, memorizing music through playing rather than first writing it down. This organic approach, according to David Cannon, KHS choir teacher, helped Emmanuel’s performances develop a distinctive aura. 

“I’ll see him in the keyboard lab working stuff out on the fly, doing it from his heart, ears and what he wants to hear,” Cannon said. “Here’s a young man who was drawn to [playing], and it almost becomes this intimate experience when he performs.” 

Emmanuel Morgan focuses on playing the keyboard. Photo courtesy of Emmanuel Morgan.

Emmanuel believes understanding songwriting gives him confidence in problem solving, which he intends to utilize when studying mechanical engineering next fall. Thaddeus has also witnessed Emmanuel’s confidence flourish through music and observed an evolution in his brother’s musical career that embodies the person he is today. 

“Music has given him life lessons [like] being able to take criticism, talking in front of people and humbleness,” Thaddeus said. “People tell him he should be playing at certain venues, and he doesn’t take that as thinking he is somebody [famous].”

Here’s a young man who was drawn to [playing], and it almost becomes this intimate experience when he performs.”

— David Cannon

Hoping to compose music that helps the audience see God—not themselves—during their shows, Emmanuel and Thaddeus pray before performances and during their songwriting process. This Christian thread woven throughout their music grounds them, and has helped Emmanuel realize that using his gifts means making each song special. 

“By praying about each song and working hard on it, it becomes a part of you,” Emmanuel said. “A year later you [might be] playing on a stage previously unimaginable. [So], it really isn’t our goal to prove other people wrong — it’s about living in the moment and showing people our talent.”