David Rosin, the orchestra teacher for MacDonald Middle School and East Lansing High School, has been named Michigan State Band and Orchestra Association (MSBOA) Teacher of the Year for 2015. Rosin’s award will be presented on May 21 at the ELHS orchestra concert. The East Lansing Band and Orchestra Parent Association (ELBOPA) will host a reception for Rosin following the concert and presentation.
According to MSBOA, the process started last spring when each of the MSBOA’s 16 geographical districts had the opportunity to select a Teacher of the Year in Band and Orchestra. Rosin was nominated from District VIII. (David Larzelere, director of bands for ELHS, was also nominated as the District VIII Teacher of the Year for Band.) The panel of district nominees was narrowed down to three finalists for orchestra and three finalists for band. January 23 and 24, MSBOA members voted for the candidate of their choice at the Michigan Music Conference held in Grand Rapids. At the MMC, Rosin’s name was announced as the Orchestra Teacher of the Year.
“I was pretty shocked at first when I heard the news. I was in the finals before in 2007, so I was not expecting to hear my name. Plus the other two candidates, Carol Johnson and Jonathan Glawe, are friends of mine and amazing, inspirational teachers. They were both deserving of this award, too. I have no doubt that they both will receive this honor in the future. After the initial shock, I thought ‘this is pretty cool.’ My family was in town to hear the Williamston High School Band perform at the Michigan Music Conference. My wife teaches middle school there, and they came to hear Williamston and watch her conduct a piece. So, it was really nice to have my family (mother- and father in-law, my mother, and my wife) and my closest friends and colleagues there at that moment. Also, Dorothy McDonald, my predecessor, and Jane Church were also there. They both had received the same recognition from MSBOA during their teaching careers. That was cool for East Lansing,” Rosin said.
Rosin said his favorite thing about teaching in East Lansing is the students. “I am really fortunate to have wonderful, hard-working, talented, and fun students. They always bring so much positive energy to our program, and they are never afraid to try new things. The second best thing is the diversity that these kids bring to our school district and music programs. It really is a unique place that really prepares our students for the world. I work with incredibly supportive colleagues, parents, administration, and alumni. I am lucky to work closely with Mr. Larzelere and Mrs. Kroth on a daily basis. There really is a team atmosphere among the middle school and high school bands and orchestras. We do everything together: trips, festivals, conferences, concerts, and even our booster organization (ELBOPA) is for band and orchestra. We get together with the Choir, Theater, and Art programs for our annual Collage weekend. These fine art programs are an amazing thing for our school district to provide and support for our students and community. This award in some ways is just a reflection of that community.”
Teaching over 250 students with three orchestras at the high school alone, is rewarding but challenging, Rosin said. “Teaching at both the middle school and the high school means some deadline is always looming around the corner--from MSBOA events, trip deadlines, fundraising deadlines, report cards, conferences, and the list goes on and on. Plus, you have to wear a few different hats every day. It keeps you on your toes and it is never dull.”
Many East Lansing parents were not surprised that Rosin was selected for the award. “My daughter says he is one of the best teachers she has had. He cares about teaching correct technique, has a wonderful sense of humor, and she loves his wardrobe choices!” Jennifer Chenault, mother of Julia who plays cello in 8th grade orchestra, said.
“I think this recognition is also a reflection of the quality of our instrumental music programs. I really feel like I am just maintaining and building on what was built before I came to East Lansing. Hopefully, I can add a little something to it, inspire my students to love music, and leave it in great shape for the next teacher who comes along. I think my colleagues do the same thing. That is how East Lansing has come to be known as a strong and respected music program. There are so many people involved in making that happen here. It really is an arts community that has been built over the years,” Rosin said.
Rosin is currently in his sixth year teaching at East Lansing Public Schools. He previously taught at Waverly Community Schools and Lansing Public Schools. He is also the co-founder and co-conductor of the Mid-Michigan Youth Symphony. He earned his BA and MA in music education from Michigan State University.
In addition to teaching full-time at ELPS, Rosin is an active performer on bass in several different styles. “I play a lot of freelance bass gigs. I also play in the Fred Knapp Trio and we just released a trio CD this past fall. Fred and I have been playing together for years, and this new CD features Jeremy Siskind on piano. He is an amazing musician and Professor of Piano at Western Michigan University. We have been performing CD release parties around the state the last few months and hope to be back in the studio later this year,” Rosin said.
Disclosure: Telaina Eriksen’s freshman son is active in concert band, jazz band, and percussion ensemble at East Lansing High School.