Conotton Valley band director to march in Rose Parade

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Robyn King selected to join Saluting America’s Band Directors project

Robyn King, band director for Conotton Valley Union Local Schools, will join other band directors from across the country Jan.1 for the annual Pasadena Tournament of Roses® Rose Parade.

King applied and was accepted to join the “Saluting America’s Band Directors” project. A custom-designed animated float will lead the 300-strong “marching band of band directors.” The Michael D. Sewell Memorial Foundation, based in Pickerington, is the sponsoring organization behind the project. It was created to recognize and carry on the work of the late Mike Sewell, who dedicated his life to the school and community music programs in Pickerington and the Central Ohio area for more than 38 years.

King said the adventure started back in 2019 when she saw a Facebook post, followed the link and learned about the plan to gather a group of band directors together to march in the parade.

“I applied and actually learned I was accepted in February 2020 when I was at the bowling alley with the bowling team from Conotton Valley,” King related. The school’s band director is also the bowling team coach.

She said the group was scheduled to march in the 2020 Rose Parade, but with the COVID-19 pandemic, it was pushed back to 2021. 

“We are all flying into Pasadena and then will have rehearsals with the group,” she explained. “We received the music in July, which we are required to memorize before we get there. She will play the clarinet, her primary instrument, but admits she’s never marched while playing the instrument. 

As for conditioning for the 5.5 mile parade, King says she’s up to the challenge.

“I already run a lot of 5Ks and am always on the football field chasing my band kids around, so I’m not worried about the conditioning part,” she said with a laugh.

The parade entry will convey the theme, “We teach music. We teach life.” The extraordinary dedication and accomplishments of band directors are well known to their students, parents, school teachers, and administrators. No matter where they teach and work, dedicated music educators and leaders work long hours to not only teach and direct music, but to teach life itself. The experience band directors in this project will gain will be an asset to their students in many ways. The use of new techniques to reach out to their students, new ideas for teaching music and new resources available to keep their instruction fresh and relevant are just a few of the skills our participants will gain from this experience. They will interact with 300 fellow band directors from great programs all over the country to share how “they do it” and bring that information and those techniques back to their home schools.

King is in her third year at Conotton Valley, where she teaches 1st through 5th grade general music, 5-12 concert band, and marching band. She is also a bowling coach for the Rockets. King graduated from the University of Akron in 2018 with a bachelor’s degree in Music Education and from Walsh University in 2020 with a master’s degree in Education. 

As for her students, King says they are excited to have their director marching in the parade.

“They are really excited and I am just as excited to be able to represent them!” King said.

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