Jim Otto has been a public school music teacher for 33 years. He received his Bachelor’s degree from the University of Michigan. After a year as Graduate Assistant to the Michigan Marching Band, Mr. Otto began his career as Director of Bands at Hillsdale Community Schools. While at Hillsdale, he earned his Master’s degree in Brass Winds Performance from the University of Michigan. In 1986 he went to Dearborn Edsel Ford High School where he taught for 15 years. He was Department Chair responsible for overseeing the Music Humanities curriculum and Director of the Marching Band, Jazz Band, Orchestra, Symphony Band and Concert Band. Mr. Otto is currently Director of Bands at Beach Middle School in Chelsea and Associate Director of the Chelsea High School Bands.
During his career, Mr. Otto has served in a number of capacities for the Michigan School Band and Orchestra Association including: Vice President for Band & Orchestra and President of District 8, Vice President for Marching Band, Solo & Ensemble as well as President for District 12, and finally Vice President for Jazz and Chairperson for the Conducting Workshop at the state level. He was voted Orchestra Teacher of the Year for District 12 in 1995. He is an adjudicator for the Solo & Ensemble Festivals and Band & Orchestra Festivals. In 2010, he was selected to be a member of the American School Band Directors Association.
Mr. Otto currently plays French Horn with The Liberty Brass Quintet. He has performed with the Croswell Opera House in Adrian, the Chelsea Area Players, the Dearborn Symphony, Southfield Symphony, The Vanguard Voice and Brass, Plymouth Symphony, Toledo Symphony, Jackson Symphony, soloist and first horn with the Hillsdale College/ Community Orchestra as well as many other regional community orchestras and brass ensembles.