Greg Carswell will be inducted into the Florida Vocal Association Roll of Distinction on Friday, July 26, during the FVA Summer Conference. He is a native Floridian originating from Panama City. His love of music began in the eighth grade when he joined chorus and it continued when the Bay High School choral director, Richard Snyder, came to recruit singers, and Greg was accepted into the program. During his junior year he changed his future focus from becoming a veterinarian to pursuing choral music education. He had fallen hard for choral music and wanted to share his passion with others.
He received his Bachelor of Music Education degree from Florida State University where he studied under the legendary choral icons, Dr. Colleen Kirk and Clayton Krehbiel. At the university he sang with the Choral Union, University Singers and the Men’s Glee Club, the Collegians.
Upon graduating, Greg was immediately offered a job at Battery Creek High School in Beaufort, South Carolina where he taught chorus, English and drama. Although flattered to be offered a job right out of college, his strong ties to the Sunshine State brought him back after that first year and fate stepped in. He became the choral director at Osceola High School replacing Mark Malone, who was returning to FSU to pursue his doctoral degree. That was in 1978, and so began his 35 year OHS adventure as choral director. During his tenure he directed the inherited show choir and mixed choir, established the Madrigal Singers, Men’s and Women’s choruses, and the Concert Chorale. Under his direction the department received numerous Superior ratings at the Florida Vocal Association’s annual MPA festivals, performed twice in Carnegie Hall, and attended choral festivals throughout the United States and Canada, consistently placing in the top three.
Personal achievements include a two time recipient of Teacher of the Year for OHS, the 2009 Arts Teacher of the Year for Osceola County, the 2013 Life Time Achievement in Arts Education by the ACE Coalition of Osceola County and the first inductee into the Osceola County Arts Teacher Hall of Fame.
Retirement in 2013 found Greg teaching private voice lessons and directing both a community youth and adult vocal ensemble at Osceola Arts. However, retirement was short lived as the Osceola County School for the Arts called in 2016 and asked if he would be interested in coming out of retirement to start a middle school vocal program. He agreed and is happy to say he is beginning his fourth and probably final year at the school. While at OCSA, he has developed the middle school program from one choir to three, as well as beginning both a high school show choir and men’s choir open to all eight of the school’s art areas. His biggest highlight at OCSA is that choirs at both the middle and high school levels have achieved Superior with Distinction recognition.
Greg has requested that “Musick’s Empire” by Lloyd Pfautsch be sung in his honor at the FVA Awards Ceremony on Friday, July 26. The piece will be conducted by his friend and Osceola County School for the Arts colleague, Lisa Testa.