Wednesday wasn’t just the last day for students at Delaware City Schools, it was also the last day for music teacher Rolf Remlinger, who retired after 33 years of teaching. He spent the past 14 years teaching within the Delaware City School District.
Remlinger started his career teaching music in inner-city Youngstown and moved to Delaware when he got a job teaching music in Marion. He worked there for 10 years until he got a call from Delaware City Schools in 2005.
“I was perfectly content in Marion. It was Delaware who called me,” Remlinger said. “At the time, I’d never had a spring break with my kids, and at the time, gas was four dollars a gallon and I was driving 50 miles a day. Everything worked out. I went from driving 50 miles a day to walking across the street at Dempsey (Middle School.)”
During his time at Delaware City Schools, Remlinger spent time teaching music at Dempsey, Willis Intermediate School, and Hayes High School, and he served as the director of the marching band for a couple years after Dr. Chris Hoch left the district for The Ohio State University.
“I really miss making music with the (marching band),” Remlinger said. “When you hand out a new piece of music and you just see how it comes together and the next thing is you are going to contests and seeing the success or you’re going to marching band state finals. I miss that camaraderie with the kids.”
Remlinger said he was a good director of the marching band, but he felt drawn back to teaching music at the elementary level.
“The marching band needed younger legs and ears,” Remlinger said. “I missed making music with the kids, but I didn’t miss all the administrative stuff with the marching band. I thought, ‘I started in elementary and I’m going to finish in elementary.’”
Remlinger took an open position at Schultz in 2012 and had been there teaching music, out of a cart at first, until his retirement Wednesday.
“The kids here, they just love music,” Remlinger said. “Their faces light up when they are singing a song. I like to make the kids laugh here. My philosophy is if they are laughing, they are listening. I just want music to be fun. I want them to enjoy music.”
Remlinger said he felt it was the right time to retire, which will allow him time to relax and focus on other projects in his life.
“It’s a little bittersweet,” Remlinger said. “It’s not like I have to go or hate my job or anything. I could keep teaching but I looked at the years and what else I’m doing, because I’m a busy guy and I thought, ‘You know, this is probably a good time to go.’ There are some mornings I regret it still. I’m not going anywhere. I’m still living in Delaware, and I’ll come here and substitute anytime. I’m 56, I’m not buying property at the villages in Florida or anything.”
Remlinger said he teaches at the Marion branch of The Ohio State University and performs in a brass band led by Hoch, now the director of The Ohio State University Marching and Athletic bands, as well as performing in his own band, IN-A-JAM.
Hoch said Wednesday that he’s known Remlinger since 2002, when he was teaching music to Remlinger’s son. Hoch said that while he was serving as the high school band director, Remlinger was brought on as a percussion instructor for the band.
“He and I worked really closely for four years,” Hoch said. “I think he’s one of the best music teachers I’ve ever known. He’s a fine musician, obviously, but he works as well with students as anybody I’ve ever seen. He relates really well to students. They work really hard for him, and they really enjoy what he’s doing when he’s teaching. It’s really great to see him in action.”
Hoch said he was sad for the students at the district when he heard Remlinger was retiring but excited about Remlinger’s next chapter.
“I’m disappointed for the kids in the district, who are losing a fine teacher, but he’s put in a great career and certainly earned the opportunity to retire,” Hoch said. “He’s always been a great friend of mine and really willing to go above and beyond the call of duty to make great music and to work with kids. Congratulations to him. I’m thrilled for him!”
Glenn Battishill can be reached at 740-413-0903 or on Twitter @BattishillDG.