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BVU alum honored by NW Iowa Bandmasters

January 26, 2022 4:05pm

The Northwest Iowa Bandmasters Association recently presented the Martin Crandell Excellence in Education Award to Buena Vista University alum Corbet Butler, who teaches instrumental music at Storm Lake High School.

The award is named for the late Crandell, longtime faculty member at Storm Lake High School.

“It’s not lost on me this award is named for one of my great predecessors at Storm Lake High School,” says Butler, a 2011 BVU graduate. “I went to the University of South Dakota Music Camp as an eighth-grader from Spirit Lake. Marty Crandell was my jazz band director and so I had the chance to work with him. I’ve been fortunate to work with his wife, Cheryl Crandell, in the ensuing years and she shared very kind words in congratulating me after I received the award.”

Butler participated in concert band, jazz band, concert choir, and plays and musicals during his time at BVU. The music education major also worked at 2Fix, BVU’s IT department, throughout his collegiate career, somewhat following in the footsteps of his father, Patrick Butler, who earned a BVU degree in 1995 then embarked on a career in information technology.

“I have a picture of my dad and I together outside Siebens Fieldhouse prior to his BVU graduation,” Corbet Butler says. “We recreated that photo minutes before my graduation 11 years ago.”

Butler started his career at Sibley-Ocheyedan Middle School. He then went to Alta-Aurelia High School, where his jazz bands won the second and third of three straight Iowa Jazz Championships in 2013 and 2014. Butler came to Storm Lake High School three years ago.

“Ever since my time at BVU, I’ve really enjoyed Storm Lake and the Storm Lake area,” he says. “The chance to teach at SLHS represented a great opportunity.”

Butler, who has nominated instructors and voted for recipients in past years, says the honor recognizes band instructors in Northwest Iowa who go above and beyond normal duties, often aiding students from other school at contests and festivals, for example.

“When I nominate others for the Marty Crandell Award, I think of directors who are very well connected to their students and their programs,” Butler says. “And then I think of those same directors who, at a moment’s notice, will step up and fix instruments on the fly, or tune instruments, or help a student from another school in any way possible.”

Two of Butler’s former teachers, Jody Ingwersen and Curt Ohrlund, earned annual Karl King state honors from the Northwest Iowa Bandmasters Association. Ingwersen teaches at Spirit Lake Middle School. Ohrlund, a native Storm Laker who retired from Le Mars Community High School, taught private tuba lessons to Butler when Butler was at BVU.

“It was so neat to receive an honor like this at the same time two of my former teachers, people I really look up to, were also honored,” Butler says. “I’m grateful my peers thought highly enough of me to present me with this award. I’ll work to live up to the expectations that come with it.”