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The Michael D. Sewell Foundation and the Saluting America’s Band Directors project are pleased to recognize these distinguished band directors. They will represent all of America’s band directors and music educators and were invited to ride on our float. They have been chosen because of their significant lifetime accomplishments and how they demonstrate our theme of, “America's Band Directors: We teach music. We teach life.”
Ms. Guirreri represents the legacy of the thousands of lives Mike Sewell touched and exemplifies the future of music education. She is a graduate of Pickerington High School and, like Mike, attended Otterbein University for her degree in music education. Janelle is married to Matt Guirreri, one of SABD’s advisory board members. Matt and Janelle have participated in previous Rose Parades, participating as students and assistants. Matt and Janelle are both music teachers in the Pickerington Local School District.
Mr. Landes is the retired director of the famed Arcadia High School Apache Marching Band, which owns more than thirty major championships and is nationally recognized as one of the best bands in the country. His bands have marched in the Rose Parade 10 times. He was selected Teacher of the Year for Arcadia Unified School District, and was recognized as Honorary Life Member for the Southern California School Band and Orchestra Association (SCSBOA). One of Mr. Landes’ students, Parker Bixby, is a band director who won the Michael Sewell Service Through Music Award in 2020.
Throughout his college teaching career, Dr. Lautzenheiser developed highly acclaimed groups in both instrumental and vocal music. He then had a stint as executive director of Bands of America. He went on to create Attitude Concepts for Today, Inc., an organization which manages requests for teacher in-service workshops, student leadership seminars, and convention speaking engagements focusing on effective leadership training. Dr. Lautzenheiser currently serves as vice president of education for Conn-Selmer, Inc. and is the chair of the National Association for Music Education Music Honor Society. He is also an author, board member of several music organizations and frequent lecturer. (Due to a prior commitment, Dr. Lautzenheiser is unable to join us in person on the float.)
A legendary composer and conductor, Mr. Swearingen’s works are perhaps the mostly widely played and loved scholastic concert music in the country. He was a good friend of Mike Sewell and the Pickerington Bands and continues to work with the bands in a variety of ways. Mr. Swearingen frequently appears as a guest conductor, adjudicator and clinician, both nationally and internationally, and is a professor emeritus at Capital University.
Mr. Watkins is a highly decorated, nationally renowned director, clinician, educator, author and cherished friend of the Rose Parade. He is the retired director of the acclaimed Lassiter High School Band in Georgia, participant of the 1988, 2001, 2005 and 2013 Tournament of Roses Parade. His Lassiter bands were the 1998 and 2002 Bands of America Grand National Champions who won 125 of 132 marching bands competition entered. His concert bands have performed at the prestigious Midwest Clinic on five occasions and have received three major awards from the John Philip Sousa Foundation, who lists his Lassiter band as one of the historic high school bands in America. He is co-founder of the Minority Band Directors National Association.
Saluting America's Band Directors is a project of the Michael D. Sewell Memorial Foundation.
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