The former Yankton High School orchestra teacher still finds music in his life, even though he is orienting his career towards technology.
After 25 years in the Yankton School District (YSD) Music Program, Todd Carr decided to change his life and was able to transfer to Yankton Middle School to begin teaching Vocational and Technical Education (CTE). .
âI actually became CTE certified – I think it was in 2005,â Carr told Press & Dakotan. “Back then, while I was in the band, I took networking and computer classes, as well as digital multimedia imagery.”
Despite his attempts to leave the music to young talent, he soon found it in the form of a newly revived Mount Marty University (MMU) concert orchestra.
âIronically, at the same time, Mount Marty University (MMU) made the decision to ‘get the band back together’, so to speak,â he said.
When the COVID-19 pandemic started to halt matters, then MMU Concert Band director Scott Olson decided to retire, Carr said.
âThe Community Band program has been in place for at least 50 years, but at that point the decision was made not to have the band last year,â he said. âThen they decided they wanted to put the band’s program back together. “
This year, MMU enlisted Carr’s help in restarting their after-school group program, Carr said.
However, the program had suffered losses in the meantime.
âThe actual group size at the start of the school year for Mount Marty was six,â he said. âSince then we’ve sent these kids out to recruit, I’ve been chatting and there are a lot of community members who have been part of the Mount Marty program over the years, so we talked to them.
Even Carr and his wife played in the MMU group when they moved to Yankton in 1997, Carr recalls.
“At the moment we have 17 people in the group, including three children who give of their time (with) some high school kids come to play with us, then there are the community members who complete the whole thing,” he said. “It kind of puts an emphasis on that lifelong musical participation that we as teachers, music teachers, have always talked about.”
Music, Carr said, is a lifelong skill that can be done forever.
âIf we can set up the program with all these different people, Mount Marty can provide a really good education specifically for the students who are in the group program,â he said.
The group’s program does not teach music lessons. Participants already know how to play their instrument and are looking for the opportunity to play with others.
âRight now everything is recreational; really, they make a band because they like it, because they want to make music, âCarr said. âWe learn together as we go. We learn where we are, where we can go and set goals accordingly.
How the program progresses over time will be up to the students, Carr said, recalling something he used to say to his students that now applies to his situation.
âIf music is your thing, you’ll never leave it,â he said. “It’s something you always do, and if you try to put it behind you, it will find you – which is a good thing.”