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Late Pickerington Band Director to Be Remembered With Tournament of Roses Parade Float

PICKERINGTON, Ohio (WCMH) — A late Pickerington High School Central band director will be remembered during this year’s Rose Bowl parade.

Mike Sewell, who died in 2017 after working as the band director at Pickerington High School and Pickerington High School Central from 1981 to 2015, will be honored with the Mike D. Sewell Foundation float during the parade on Jan. 1.

Sewell’s widow, Karen, started the foundation to enhance, support, and assist the arts around Pickerington and central Ohio, according to a release from Otterbein University, of which the Sewells were alumni.

Sewell took his bands to the Rose Parade and the Macy’s Thanksgiving Parde several times. After his death, Karen began raising funds to enter a float into the Rose Parade in honor of Mike.

Pickerington bands to dedicate Rose Parade performance to memory of former director

The float will honor the foundation and is a salute to America’s band directors with the theme “America’s Band Directors: We teach music. We teach life.”

“All of these directors will have their communities behind them which was is so important,” Karen said in the press release. “Mike, being a small-town guy, had so many people love and support him and now they can share the love they have with others in their community and in service.”

Otterbein said the float will be a first of its kind by including a marching band consisting of band directors accompanying the float.

The Band Directors Marching Band will be led by Jon Waters, a veteran band director and former director of the Ohio State Marching Band. The band will consist of 275 band directors from all 50 states and Mexico.

Otterbein alumni Tim Carlson ’89 and Jennifer Howenstein Mollenkopf ’94 will be part of the marching band. Alumna Janelle Guirreri ’08 will be riding on the float with Karen. 

The Tournament of Roses Parade will be broadcast on NBC4 beginning at 11 a.m. on Jan. 1.


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