Dr. Todd Gaffke

Class of 2003
Career Pathway:

Dr. Todd Gaffke was nominated by Dennis Ormsbee, his band director at Grayling High School.

At GHS, Todd played in the concert, marching and jazz bands, participated in the plays and musicals and was a member of the soccer and tennis teams. He also participated in solo & ensemble festivals at the district and state levels for four years, earning all first division ratings. In his senior year, he won the band's Louis Armstrong Jazz Award. 

He earned a bachelor of music-performance degree cum laude from Central Michigan University in 2007, a master of music-performance degree at Michigan State University in 2010 and a doctor of musical arts-performance at MSU in 2013. 

He was an MSU College of Music summer fellow in 2012 and an MSU graduate assistant in saxophone in 2011-2012, and he has received a long list of individual, chamber music and jazz awards and honors since 2003.  

He was a graduate teaching assistant at CMU (2008), a graduate teaching assistant at MSU (2011-2012) and an adjunct instructor of saxophone at Grand Valley State University (2011-2012).  

At The University of Akron, Dr. Gaffke was a visiting lecturer of saxophone in spring 2013 and an assistant professor of saxophone from 2013 to 2019; he presently is an associate professor of saxophone with tenure at the university.   

He has offered private saxophone lessons since 2003 -- to up to 13 middle and high school students at one time. His former students have been accepted at The University of Akron, Bowling Green State University, Youngstown State University, Michigan State University and Eastern Michigan University music programs; they earned only first division ratings at Ohio Music Education Association solo/ensemble contests and Michigan School Band and Orchestra Association solo/ensemble festivals, received Michigan Youth Arts Festival nominations and performed in Ohio and Michigan honors bands. 

At UA, Dr. Gaffke has hosted several guest artists, has had several recording sessions published, has performed as a soloist and in ensembles innumerable times, has adjudicated at several events, has three published recordings, has made many professional presentations, and has an impressive number of outreach teaching activities.

"Todd is such a credit and honor to the Grayling community, Crawford AuSable schools, the Grayling music department and his parents for his accomplishments," said Mr. Ormsbee. "He is such a wonderful representative of this area, a humble human being -- so personal with all he comes in contact with and an inspiration to all."

Dr. Gaffke and his wife Ali live in Akron, Ohio, with their two dogs, Lulu and Benny. In his free time, he enjoys golfing, boating, playing on a recreational soccer team, reading and lots of music.