Mr. Aaron Ottmar is currently in his fifth year as Director of Bands at Iowa City High School. His professional duties include directing the following ensembles at City High: the Little Hawk Marching Band and Pep Band (co-direct with Mr. Mike Kowbel), Symphony Band, Jazz Lab, Jazz Combo, Jazz Collective and Jazz Ensemble. In addition, he teaches AP Music Theory and does woodwind and percussion lessons at City High and percussion lessons at South East Junior High. He is extremely honored and humbled to be back in Iowa City teaching at his alma mater (class of 2011). Before teaching at City High, Mr. Ottmar previously served as director of bands at Davis County High School in Bloomfield, Iowa.
In addition to his teaching duties, Mr. Ottmar enjoys being an active performer by playing with the following ensembles in Iowa: Durward Ensemble, Tallgrass Brass Band and Cedar Rapids Municipal Band (percussionist), Jim McDonough Productions (pianist), Waterloo-Cedar Falls Symphony and Orchestra Iowa (substitute percussionist). Additionally, he has been featured as a guest soloist (percussion) with the Iowa City Community Band, the UNI Wind Symphony, the Cedar Rapids Municipal Band and as a guest soloist (jazz piano) with the Lisbon High School Jazz Band for the 2020 KCCK Corridor Jazz Project. Other honors include being selected as "audience favorite" in the 2013 UNI Instrumental Concerto Competition, winner of the 2014 UNI Wind Symphony Solo Competition, selected as an "honorable mention" in the 2014 Yamaha Young Performing Artists Competition, recipient of the 2015 UNI Purple and Old Gold Award for Conspicuous Achievement in Music and recipient of the Educational Excellence Award for service in the Davis County community from Beta Rho Chapter of Upsilon State.
Mr. Ottmar also enjoys teaching private lessons and has done so for 12 years in the Eastern Iowa area. In addition to private lessons, Mr. Ottmar had the great opportunity of previously serving as a percussion instructor for Waterloo West High School, Cedar Rapids Xavier High School, UNI Community Music School, and at the 2018 UNI Percussion Camp. His professional affiliations include the IAAE, SEIBA, IBA, IMEA, JEI, and NAfME He received his bachelor's degree in Instrumental Music Education (with a Jazz Emphasis) from the University of Northern Iowa in May of 2015.
Most importantly though, Mr. Ottmar loves to spend time with his family including his lovely wife, Alyssa, Arlen (father), Lois (mother), Rachel and Sarah (sisters) and their families. Thank you for all of your support through the years. I am so blessed to call you my family.
Mr. Mike Kowbel is currently in his third year as Director of Bands at Iowa City High School. His professional duties include directing the following ensembles at City High: the Little Hawk Marching Band and Pep Band (co-direct with Mr. Aaron Ottmar), Wind Ensemble, Concert Band and Jazz Workshop. In addition, he teaches a Diversity in Music class at City High plus teaches brass lessons at City High and South East Junior High. Before coming to City High, Mr. Kowbel was the Director of Bands at South East Junior High and he formerly served at Monticello High School in Monticello, IA from 2015-2018. In Monticello, Mike reinvigorated the band program and was selected to perform with the Monticello High School Concert Band at the 2018 Iowa Bandmasters’ Conference. In May of 2013, Mike graduated from the University of Wisconsin - Stevens Point with a bachelor’s degree in Music Education. In his spare time, Mike enjoys spending time with his wife Rachael, playing golf, and cooking. He is enthusiastic about being at City High School and being a part of The School That Leads!