Nov 25 2017

The director

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Stephen E. McGrew Stephen E. McGrew has been conductor and music director of the Columbus City Concert Band since 1995, succeeding Leslie Gilkey, who had been conductor since 1987.

Steve was director of bands at Seymour High School for 32 years, retiring June 30, 2001. He previously taught at Centerville High School for two years. Steve holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Indiana State University and has studied at Purdue University and Indiana University.

Steve has performed with the Columbus Philharmonic Orchestra, the Columbus City Concert Band, the Schulhaus 4+3 and a local Dixieland band. Steve also writes and edits Bandstand, a column published in the Indiana Music Educator’s Association magazine.

Steve does frequent adjudicating and guest conducting. He is also a clinician for the IMEA Noncompetitive Festivals throughout the state. He and his wife, Jo, who plays saxophone in the band, have four children and one grandson.

Motivational Uncle Steve-isms

“No one got hurt.”

“May lightening strike you.”

To trumpets: “It says ‘moderately slow and pompous.’ Can we do pompous?”

“That’s usually where it falls apart. … It didn’t disappoint.”

“It would be better if it were in tune.”

“There’s always togetherness until we get to the hangover. … Isn’t that always how it is though?”

“Don’t chase notes like you chase girls.”

“Let ‘er rip! … Within the realms of good taste.”

“I said it was ALMOST repulsive.”

Points to head: “Kidneys.”

“Don’t get hostile!”

“So close it’s pitiful.”

“It didn’t sound all that bad, except it was wrong.”

“It was almost really good.”

“It’s a long afternoon before we get to beat four.”

“Did anyone get hurt?”

“Pick your favorite note and hold it. … I don’t like your favorite note — pick another one.”

“It’s not as disastrous as you’re making it out to be.”



6 responses so far

6 Responses to “The director”

  1. Debbie (Bramwell) Monroeon 18 Sep 2009 at 9:03 pm

    Bob & Lynne said you were in the community band in
    My son is getting married Dec. 5th. Do you or anyone in your
    band play at weddings. We are looking for 1 or 2 trumpet
    players. Thank you.
    Debbie Monroe

  2. Rev. Patrick Kellyon 01 Aug 2011 at 10:21 pm

    Steve, I have not seen you in nearly 50 years so you might not remember me. I found some interesting historical notes about community band history in Shelbyville.

    Try this link obtained from the Shelby Co. Historical Society site.

  3. Lalith Guy Paranavitanaon 30 Aug 2011 at 12:11 pm

    To : Mr. Steve McGrew

    I would like to have the opportunity of singing with the Columbus City Band. I was the winner of the 2010 Senior Idol competition in Columbus, and since then I have performed at the ‘Wine & Roses’ gala and other events in Columbus. I am not a professional. I sing mostly from the Great American Songbook and my favorites are Sinatra, Nat king Cole and songs of that era. I would like to send you a recording for your consideration. Please contact me by email. Thanks.

    Lalith Guy Paranavitana
    (812) 375 1937

  4. Steveon 15 Oct 2012 at 8:41 am

    Congratulations CCBers on another very nice concert. Large crowd, capacity I would judge. With rain threatening, that speaks well of our followers.

    The sound that you get in the Asbury sanctuary is beautiful. Too bad the chancel cannot provide better visual contact. Oh well, we obviously cope pretty well.

    We did not record this concert. Finding someone to do Dan’s job of recording technician is not easy. If you know anyone with interest in using our equipment to do this 4 X per year job, please let one of the board members know. As of now Beth and Dan plan to be back for the Christmas concert, and he will do that CD. It would be good if we could have an “apprentice” in place to learn the ropes by that time.

    Great job. See you tonight for our first rehearsal – Christmas cycle.


  5. David Swiharton 13 Oct 2013 at 11:36 pm

    Dear Steve,

    I believe you are the Steve McGrew I briefly knew at Purdue starting in the fall of 1961. You were a freshman unhappily enrolled in engineering and I was a senior in M.E. and your residence hall counselor at Gable Courts. This morning in Sunday School class here in Pittsburgh we were asked to think of a time when we got a “thank you” that really meant something to us. I thought of the one I got from you for encouraging you to drop out of engineering, which you told me you hated and were in only because your dad wanted you to be an engineer, and instead go somewhere else and study music which was your real love. I vividly remember your mournful trumpet playing each night after dinner and how unhappy you were. I remember advising you that now was the time to make a change even if your dad didn’t like it. We both knew you’d never be happy as an engineer. I’ve been thinking about this all day and tonight decided to see if I could find you on the “net.” You popped right up and the picture sure looks like the guy I remember (well, maybe with a few years added). From your bio it looks like you were able to fulfill your dreams and had and continue to have a very satisfying career in music. I’m very happy to see this and I hope your dad came to accept your career choice.

    As for me I have an interest in music but absolutely no talent in it whatsoever. My wife, however, is very involved in music and plays in a community band similar to yours here in the North Hills suburban region of Pittsburgh. She plays, piano, organ, flute (her specialty), piccolo, and clarinet. As for my engineering career, I had a very satisfying one spending most of it with Westinghouse in Pittsburgh, specializing in acoustics and vibration. When I graduated in ’62 I got married and we went to Rochester NY where I worked for Kodak. After a couple unhappy years with them (and me having doubts about my career choice), we moved to Los Angeles where I spent 4 happy years with Hughes Aircraft and picked up a masters from USC. Then we spent a year in the suburban Chicago area before coming to Pittsburgh in 1969 where we’ve been ever since. We have 3 sons and six grandchildren, the oldest of which is a junior at Miami of Ohio majoring in EE and minoring in music. He is a very accomplished euphonium player.

    Well, enough about me. Love to here from you sometime if you’re the person I think you are. And if you’re not, them I guess you’ve gotten to know a lot about a stranger in Pennsylvania.

    Dave Swihart
    BSME ’62
    Purdue University

  6. Mickey Rodenbergeron 26 Mar 2015 at 8:42 pm

    Hi Mr. Mcgrew just thought you were the best band teacher in the world and taught me a lot. I also wanted to know how miss Meyer’s was doing and if you are still in contact with her tell her thanks for the baklava recipee she gave me. I still make that today tastes great. I also want you to know I still play guitar and love music. I havent played trumpet in a while but I think with a lot of practice I could probably pick it right back up. I hope you are doing well ,and I wish you the best. Tell Miss Meyer I hope she is doing good as well.

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