Nominated by Scott Clowes
Michael Soltys, retired East Mecklenburg band director, has received one of the highest honors possible for a North Carolina musician: induction into the North Carolina Bandmasters Association Hall of Fame.
Soltys received the award on Nov. 13. In order to be nominated, according to the North Carolina Music Educators Association, one must teach at a North Carolina school for at least 10 years, demonstrate excellence in music education, make significant contributions to the improvement of that education and maintain a consistently amazing band for a long period of time, among other requirements.
Soltys directed at both McClintock Middle School and at East Mecklenburg High School from 1969-1998. During his tenure as a director, Soltys had numerous successful bands, receiving collectively 33 superior ratings at symphonic contests. His impressive career also includes being a member of the Charlotte Symphony Orchestra, conducting the NC All-State Honors Band, serving as president of North Carolina Music Educators Association and as a chairman and vice chairman of the South-Central Band Directors’ Association. On top of that, he has also held other leadership roles in several additional band associations, including being state chairman of the National Band Association.
All of this experience and leadership is a direct reflection of his leadership and guidance in the classroom. The East Meck Marching Eagles won many marching contests and other awards not only in North Carolina, but also in Georgia, South Carolina and Virginia under Soltys’ direction. Of the stacks of trophies which decorate the band room, a large portion of them are a direct result of his guidance and dedication to East Meck during his tenure as a teacher.
Soltys may have retired, however, his legacy has not ended at East Mecklenburg. His influence still lives on through the direction of Scott Clowes, the current band director, whom many students say acts just like his mentor. Soltys also continues to make appearances in band class at East, occasionally subbing for Clowes during his absences.
While recognizing his career success, Soltys attributes his great accomplishments to the people he has met and worked with along the way.
“I was fortunate enough to work with East Meck students and parents,” Soltys said. “They are such an unbelievable group of talented and unselfish student musicians."