Howard County Times
Howard Magazine

3 things you didn’t know about Michael Blackman, director of the Columbia Concert Band

Michael Blackman, director of the Columbia Concert Band, has taught music at River Hill High School for a decade.

Michael Blackman began playing clarinet with the community band in 1986 as a senior at Hammond High School. He stuck with it and took the reins of the Columbia Concert Band in 2000. The Columbia resident is in his 10th year teaching at River Hill High School, where he leads the marching band. Here, Blackman shares three little-known facts about his life.

He says he has no sense of smell. Blackman says this biological quirk provides “an endless source of entertainment” for his students and kids, who test his claim with dirty gym socks and the like. Though experts say smell greatly influences taste, eating remains a favorite hobby. There is a serious downside: “I can’t smell smoke or gas,” he says.


He met his wife in the clarinet section. Kathie, who is an aerospace engineer, suggested he give her a call if he wanted to go on a band-sponsored skiing trip. That was 1993; they married three years later. They both worked part-time in the early 2000s so they could take turns staying home with their children: Julianne, 16, and twins Collin and Justin, 13.

He washes dishes while viewing concerts on his iPad. A believer in sharing household chores, Blackman props his tablet on the window sill above a sink-full of suds. He especially enjoys Rush – a progressive rock band that he says was composed of “three of the greatest musicians ever” – and steers clear of Top 40 and pop music.