Matuszeski marches in the Rose Parade with other band directors


4,693 years of teaching experience combined were brought together from a group of 289 band directors from all the 50 states along with countries such as Bangladesh and Germany. The ages of the directors ranged from 19 to 76 years old. Abraham Lincoln High School’s band director, Taylor Matuszeski, was invited to perform in the Rose Parade during its 2022 performance. Matuszeski has been teaching at ALHS for three years and graduated from The University of Iowa in 2015.

“I involved myself in as many different ensembles as I possibly could,” Matuszeski said. “I was in jazz band, prep band, concert band, full orchestra in high school and I was in symphonic band in college. Throughout high school, I auditioned for lots of honor bands to challenge myself.” 

Yet, Matuszeski says his invitation to the Rose Parade was sparked through something else. 

“Teachers in all kinds of districts and all kinds of demographical differences and opportunities all came together to represent music on an international level and that was the intention of the parade, to see how many people would thank their directors.”

The Rose Parade has been an ongoing tradition for 133 years, and this year band directors’ collaboration was to commemorate a former band director.  

“This whole idea started on a napkin, a drawing of a float, and the purpose to honor a director from Ohio who had passed, his name was Micheal D Swole,” Matuszeski said. “He brought his band to the parade four different times, which is let alone difficult to do once. Micheal’s wife met with directors to want to honor her husband, and they thought what better way to bring band directors and musicians together from all across the nation and world. It started as a memorial and the idea to bring people together.” 

This idea of bringing people together in honor of someone who had passed allowed Matuszeski to pick up his instrument to perform.

“It allowed me to be a student again,” Matuszeski said. “It was an opportunity for me to be on the other side of the podium. I was not directing, wasn’t getting paid for it, and didn’t have to plan it. I did pay for the experience but I think that’s what I got most out of it, what I ask my students to do, whether it’s to march a parade or march on the field. It’s a lot of really hard work.”

Matuszeski was willing to train to walk five and a half miles while countlessly playing for almost three hours for his passion for music. 

“My intention of going was to draw awareness to music all over the country,” Matuszeski said.