Meet the Gotwalds!

Timothy Gotwald has been an integral part of the music community in Franklin County for many years, through his dedication to the CASD music program and CVSM. His passion for music now spans three generations: through his children and grandchildren. Tim retired from the Chambersburg Area School District after 37 years of service.  He taught elementary music and was the CASHS band director.  Tim is an accomplished flutist and saxophonist playing with the Hagerstown Municipal Band, the CVSM Jazz Quartet, Mercersburg Community Chorus Orchestra, theater pit (Shippensburg University, Mercersburg Academy and road shows), CVSM Big Band, Buzz Jones Big Band, Gettysburg Big Band, CVSM jazz quartet, chamber and church ensemble venues.  Tim has been with CVSM since its inception in 1990, serving on the first board of directors. He continues to teach lessons on flute and saxophone, as well as direct the CVSM Community Symphonic Band.

Tim’s son John and his wife Leslie are both musical. In the words of John: “With a music teacher as my father, music was always present.” He joined the church choir at a young age, and was drawn to the trombone for its slide capabilities. He currently plays in the CVSM Community Symphonic Band. Leslie began piano lessons at age 4 and sometimes accompanies the children’s choir at their church.

John and Leslie have three children, who are each musical in their own way. Rachel, age 8, started music instruction through the early childhood music programs at CVSM and has been taking piano lessons with Valerie Merriman since age 5. She is working on building the confidence to perform at a recital or a solo at church. Their 5-year-old son, Peter, went through a toddler phase of drumming on absolutely everything, with public trash cans being a special favorite. He currently sings in the church children’s choir. Their youngest child, Eli, is 3 and must have lullabies at night to sleep.

Tim’s daughter Elizabeth agrees with John: growing up with a father as a music teacher she never knew a moment of her life without music. She began both piano and flute in elementary school. Her husband, Mark, is working towards learning to read music and playing piano with his children. Liz loves to sing (to the radio and at church) and play duet parts with her children on the piano. She especially enjoys singing really loudly to embarrass her children.

Lydia, age 11, is Liz and Mark’s oldest child. She remembers being interested in music at age 3 and participated in Susan Whitelock’s “Musical Kaleidoscope” class when she was 4. She currently plays piano and clarinet. Tobias, age 9, started taking Suzuki piano lessons at age 4 with Susan Matson, although he says he did it because his “parents signed him up for it.” Their 6-year-old daughter, Miriam, elected to start piano lessons in kindergarten after seeing her older siblings taking lessons. Mathias, who is almost 4, is also interested in the piano, as well as flute, harmonica and recorder.

Useful Practice Tips from the Gotwald family:

  • It takes more than just playing through the song to get better.
  • Practice every day. Even for a little bit.
  • The band that scales together, wails together.
  • Work hard, focus, and try your best.
  • Wrist up. Bendy fingers. Joe (thumb tip) on his nose.

Useful Performance Tips from the Gotwald family:

  • Good enough is good enough. Enjoy it!
  • Trust your practice and you’ll be fine.
  • Watch the director.
  • Before, during, and after. Smile.
  • Stay calm and focus on your music.
  • Go slowly and do well.
  • Don’t listen to the baby. Just focus on the piano.
  • Play quiet when I’m on the stage. And graceful.