Our advisory team

Thanks to the following individuals for helping to make this project possible.

Karen Sewell, Michael D. Sewell Memorial Foundation president


Karen is the widow of former Pickerington (Ohio) High School Band Director Mike Sewell. She was the inspiration behind the creation of the Michael D. Sewell Memorial Foundation in 2017. Karen is the Foundation president and board member. The Foundation is the proud sponsor of the Tournament of Roses Michael D. Sewell Service Through Music Award. This award was organized by the Sewell family and the Foundation as a way to honor Mike’s dedication to using music with his students to encourage service in their schools, the community, and across the country. Karen & Mike's four children are alumni of the Pickerington High School Band program. Karen continues to support the Pickerington schools music programs in multiple ways, including the combined high school bands’ trip to march in the 2019 Rose Parade.

Dan Ross, scholastic outreach


Dan is retired from the Ohio High School Athletic Association as commissioner and executive director. His passion, enthusiasm and tireless efforts to promote the important role that interscholastic athletics and extracurricular programs play for students helped the OHSAA become one of the most respected high school associations in the country. He has served as a superintendent, principal, teacher, counselor, college instructor and coach for 33 years, as well as a contest official for 20 years. Dan earned a bachelor’s degree in history and political science from Ohio Dominican College in 1971 and a master’s degree in guidance and counseling from Xavier University in 1973. He was awarded his PhD at Bowling Green State University in 1983 in educational administration and supervision and has completed additional postgraduate work.

Music team

Tim Lautzenheiser, national outreach


Tim began his teaching career at Northern Michigan University, moving to the University of Missouri, and then to New Mexico State University. During that time, Tim developed highly acclaimed groups in both instrumental and vocal music. Following his tenure in the college band directing world, he spent three years as Executive Director of Bands of America. In 1981, Tim created Attitude Concepts for Today, Inc., an organization designed to manage the many requests for teacher inservice workshops, student leadership seminars, and convention speaking engagements focusing on the area of effective leadership training. After thirty-plus years of clinic presentations, some three million students have experienced one of his popular sessions. Tim presently serves as Vice President of Education for Conn-Selmer, Inc. He is a nationally recognized voice touting the importance of arts education for every child. His books continue to be bestsellers in the educational community. He is also co-author of popular band method, Essential Elements, as well as the Senior Educational Consultant for Hal Leonard, Inc. Tim is also the Senior Educational Advisor for Music for All, and NAMM (The National Association of Music Merchants). He holds degrees from Ball State University and the University of Alabama; in 1995 he was awarded an honorary doctorate from the VanderCook College of Music. He continues to teach as an adjunct faculty member at Ball State University, Indiana-Purdue/Ft. Wayne University, and Butler University. In addition, he is a member of the Midwest Clinic Board of Directors and the Western International Band Clinic/American Band College Board of Directors. He is presently the Chair of the National Association for Music Education Music Honor Society.

Jon Waters, marching and music direction


Jon is an internationally known music educator and band director. As director of marching and athletic bands at The Ohio State University, his innovative use of iPads in creating unprecedented animated marching formations led to worldwide recognition and millions of You Tube hits. In 2014, he delivered a TEDx talk on "Tradition thru Innovation.” Jon is currently assistant professor of music and director of bands at Heidelberg University in Ohio.

Bob Thurston, music arrangement


Bob is a published composer, a former high-school band director, and a retired staff arranger with the US Air Force Band in Washington DC. Before enlisting in the military, he taught high-school bands in Florida and Ohio. He earned degrees in music education from Florida State University, where he also studied arranging and composition with Charles Carter.

John Cisetti, band director relations


John retired in 2019 after leading the band program in Louisburg, Kansas for 40 years. He taught more than 350 students per day in grades five through twelve and produced more than 50 public performances each year. John was named a 2017 Laureate of the John Philip Sousa Foundation Bandworld Legion of Honor and was the 2015-2016 Northeast Kansas Outstanding High School Band Director. Under John’s leadership, the Louisburg Band marched in the 2018 Tournament of Roses Parade and was named the first band to receive the annual Michael D. Sewell Service Through Music Award. John currently plays French horn in the De Soto Brass Band and serves on the Board of Directors of The Heart of America Winds.

Marc Parulekar, band director relations


Marc is in his in his 20th year of teaching and serves as the music coordinator for the Pickerington Local Schools (Ohio). He served as director of bands at Pickerington North HS for 15 years. Marc has also served as a graduate assistant director with The Ohio State University Marching Band. During his tenure at Pickerington North High School, the band performed in the 2006 and 2019 Rose Parades, 2018 London New Years Day Parade, and won the Grand Champion award in the 2013 Fiesta Bowl Parade. Marc is a graduate of The Ohio State University where he earned a Bachelor of Music Education Degree, Master of Arts in Music Education, and Doctor of Philosophy in Music Education. 

Administrative team

James Kuebler, project management


Jim served in several technical positions at Ohio Bell and Ameritech for 28 years in various engineering and operations organizations. He was Vice President of Project Management for large corporations while at Ameritech where he won a Presidents Award for outstanding performance. He was a business partner at Ameritraining, a technical consulting firm in the telecommunications field. Jim has served on the boards of several non-profit organizations including the Glassmen Drum and Bugle Corps, Nellie’s Champions for Kids, the Pickerington Music Boosters, and at his church. Jim obtained a bachelor of electrical engineering degree and an MS in systems engineering from The Ohio State University.

Jim McSkimin, website and e-commerce


Jim spent 28 years working in the telecommunications industry, primarily as a member of technical staff at AT&T Bell Labs. He designed and developed software in the areas of real-time file systems and database systems, computer networking, and user interfaces. He has experience in programming languages, computer networking, web design, and the Unix operating system. He also spent five years as a technical recruiter for telecom companies. He has been active in volunteer work for the Pickerington Locals Schools music programs and his church. He received an MS and PhD in computer science from the University of Maryland.

Sanford Meisel, marketing and design


Sandy has worked and consulted in marketing, branding, publishing, communication and design in the roles of marketing director, creative director, design director, publisher and educator. He has created award-winning solutions for a broad range of clients in the financial, publishing, educational, health care, governmental and manufacturing sectors, as well as leading his own marketing communications company. Sandy has held leadership and board positions in several professional and community organizations and has taught and lectured at The Ohio State University and the Columbus College of Art and Design. He is a graduate of Ohio State. Sandy was proud to see his son march in the 2010 Rose Parade with The Ohio State University Marching Band.

Bill Pope, corporate & organization relations


Bill spent 15 years in higher education and healthcare fundraising at Albion College, The Ohio State University and Duke University Medical Center at a variety of positions including Corporate and Foundation Relations, Executive Director and Director of Major Gifts. Additionally, Bill has spent the past 20 years in leadership positions for several family owned companies. Bill currently spends time volunteering for local non-profits by assisting their fund-raising programs.


The Saluting America's Band Directors project and the Michael D. Sewell Memorial Foundation would like to give special thanks to Mike Edwards and Joe Ashley of the 5 Stones Group of Columbus, Ohio for their generous contribution of our recruitment video. We also are very grateful to Raaghuv Vazirani for assisting in our social media outreach.