Longtime and acclaimed Sycamore Director of Orchestras, David Smarelli will be retiring after 35 years of teaching. David has spent the last 28 of those years at Sycamore. Under David’s direction, the Sycamore Community School’s Orchestra Program has flourished and attained widespread recognition as one of the premier orchestra programs in the State of Ohio. David’s orchestras have been honored to perform at Ohio Music Education Association (OMEA) Professional Conferences with the Sycamore High School Orchestra appearing twice and the Sycamore Junior High School Orchestra performing 8 times with the most recent appearance having been at the 2016 Professional Conference. David has also lead the Sycamore Orchestras to the highest level of success in OMEA Adjudicated Events with the high school having earned the highest possible rating, I-Superior, 23 times and the junior high orchestra earning I-Superior ratings 22 times. In recent years, David’s high school orchestras have also performed at Walt Disney World, Chicago and Washington D.C. including a performance on the Millennium Stage at the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts.
David has been honored with numerous awards from professional organizations including being named the Ohio String Teachers Association “Public School Orchestra Teacher of the Year” for 2007 and being featured in the December 2010 issue of School Band & Orchestra as the Ohio representative for the annual “50 Directors Who Make a Difference”.
Among David’s numerous achievements during his career at Sycamore is the creation of SEE 1. In 2003, David formed SEE 1 (Sycamore Electric Ensemble), Cincinnati’s first high school rock orchestra, composed of electric and amplified acoustic string instruments along with traditional “garage band” instruments. SEE 1 has collaborated with national fiddling champion Alex DePue, internationally known electric violinist and Emmy-winning composer Mark Wood, world-renowned jazz violinist Christian Howes, and most recently, Joe Deninzon, lead singer, composer and electric violinist of the New York based progressive rock band Stratopheerius.
David began his musical studies on the violin at the age of nine with his father, John Smarelli, a professional violinist and respected music educator in the state of Ohio. David later attended Ohio University and Bowling Green State University where he graduated Magna Cum Laude in 1982 with a Bachelor of Music in Performance and Education. He received a Master of Music in Education from Miami University in 1996. As a performer, David was a member of the Lima Symphony Orchestra and the Lima Symphony Chamber Players for seven years where he served as Co-Concertmaster and performed as a soloist. He also performed with the Jerry Kaye Orchestra in Columbus, Ohio where he collaborated with notable performers such as Bob Hope, Red Skelton, Andy Williams, Danny Thomas, and Bernadette Peters. He is presently assistant concertmaster with the Springfield Symphony Orchestra where he has performed for thirty-nine seasons. In Cincinnati, David performs regularly with the Blue Ash/Montgomery Symphony Orchestra where he has also guest conducted on several occasions. As his schedule will allow, he performs with various “pick up” orchestras in the area. From 2004-2007 David served as conductor and music director of the Clermont Philharmonic Orchestra, a regional professional orchestra and served as the orchestra’s concertmaster for a number of years prior.
When asked what he will miss the most about teaching at Sycamore, David said, “First and foremost I will miss the students. I will miss making wonderful music everyday. I will miss the professionals that I work with. I truly enjoy the camaraderie and friendship I share with all the music teachers I work with. I will miss the daily laughs and stories we share. Teachers have the BEST stories! I will miss my “baby” SEE 1. I will miss working with all the dedicated student musicians and professionals like Joe Deninzon. I will miss the excitement of the 5th graders making music for the first time, the craziness of the junior high students, and the sophisticated musicianship of the high school students.”