ORWELL – A lifelong dream is about to come true when Grand Valley Group Manager Tim Carlson performs at the Rose Bowl Parade in Pasadena on New Years Day.
The opportunity came to fruition with a program designed to honor an Ohio conductor who has taken his high school orchestra to the parade four times. He said the effort was made in memory of Mike Sewell, group principal at two high schools in the Pickerington area, after his death in 2017.
Sewell’s wife, Karen, set up a fund to help art programs and projects in the Pickerington area and then went out of their way to provide a float during the parade.
She raised $ 271,000 to create the float in the hopes of drawing the attention of a national audience to the importance of music education. The theme of the float is “American Group Directors: We Teach Music.” We teach life.
âThey contacted the Rose Bowl (Parade) to make an exception,â Carlson said of the deal made to allow the contingent of group directors to play without reducing the opportunities for other groups to play.
âWe are a chariot with 300 marchers,â Carlson said.
âThey are group directors from all over the country. We have all states represented, âCarlson said.
Carlson said he has been teaching music and conducting bands for 33 years and is nearing retirement. âI never thought I would be in a big pond like this,â he said.
The custom-designed animated float will lead the contingent of conductors through Pasadena’s famous parade route.
Carlson said he has always worked with small school groups with the goal of creating people who enjoy music and learn to work in groups. In addition to his 30 years in Grand Valley, he also conducted a high school orchestra at local schools from Elmwood to Bloomdale.
He graduated in 1985 from Jefferson area High School and received his bachelor’s degree in music education from Otterbein College in 1989. Carlson also received a master’s degree in music education from VanderCook College of Music in 1993 and a master’s degree in technology from l teaching at Kent State University. in 2001.
Carlson has been involved with the Cleveland Youth Wind Symphony for the past eight years and currently serves as the trumpet coach for the organization. He has also performed with the Ashtabula Area Orchestra as a solo trumpet and has been the band’s conductor since 2016.
“It is the cornerstone of my career,” he said.