Dr. Matthew Fritz
Dr. Fritz has been my favorite professor at Elizabethtown College since I started here as a freshman. He has always created and fun, safe space for his students and shared his love of music with us. I have always said concert choir is the best part of my week and many of my classmates agree. Dr. Fritz has a heart of gold and is an incredible educator and over all an amazing human being. I think he deserves to be acknowledged for all he has done for his students!
Mrs. Leah Purdy
Mrs. Leah Purdy, the choir and musical theatre director at North Platte High School in North Platte, Nebraska, has been a true beacon of hope throughout this pandemic. She made it known to her students that when our 2020 musical, “West Side Story,” was shut down the day before opening night that our work was not for nothing and that we would be able to get through this together. During the shutdown, she would send us emails every day with words of encouragement to keep us connected. She became creative in adjusting to rehearsal guidelines in choir classes when school began again in August of 2020 to make sure we could continue making music together, and our choirs have become stronger musicians because of her methods. Mrs. Purdy has most importantly taught us that no matter what happens in our lives, we will be connected and have someone to love us through our music community. Thank you for never giving up on us, even when it seemed impossible to keep going, Mrs. Purdy.
She is the most important teacher ive had in my life, and one of the most important person as well. Shes changed my love for music and has given me all the tools and more to be a beautiful successful creator.
As an elementary music educator, Hannah takes pride in establishing a strong passion for children to pursue creative avenues. This can be especially challenging in a community generally dominated by athletics and standardized test scores. Hannah consistently molds her instruction around exactly what her students need and does what it takes to convey powerful ideas to our young people. Through the transitions of online learning to in person classes (and back and forth a few times) she has found a way to meet students where they are and effortlessly bring them into the fold. Her grace and companion cannot be overstated and she in as deserving as anyone to receive this distinguished honor.
During the pandemic, Mr. Schmitt has found ways to keep class exciting and has continued to find ways for us to continue playing music safely. He will go above and beyond to make any student happy with that they’re doing and you just can’t help but smile around him. He is an awesome teacher, and deserves all the best for trying to make a terrible situation into the best possible. Not to mention, even before the pandemic, he challenged us and helped us grow so much.
Mrs.Cota is such an amazing teacher! even though we are doing distance learning, she goes above and beyond to help make the year a success. She offers so many opportunities and really cares for us as students! Mrs.Cota by far is the best teacher!
Ms. Delfing was one of the best teachers I’ve ever had!!! She was the musical director and choir teacher at First Philadelphia Prepatory Charter School (PA). She is at another school in New Jersey now. She was always the person to go to if you were down or needed advice. She ran the choirs, musicals, and created many music concerts throughout all the years!!! If you didn’t have the money for something she would help find ways. Ms. Delfing always had a bright spirit in her class and I miss it. The class was just full of positive energy!!!! She taught us a lot not just about music but with inspiration and it’s all about putting your best afford. She would always make it work for people no matter what the cost is. I remember she always talked about how much she inspired your work and I feel like this would brighten her days more. She is always the teacher to remember and I hope everything is going great for her during this pandemic!!!!
Mr. Tyler Owens
Mr. Owens cares for his students like he cares for his own children. I’ve been so fortunate and blessed to have had him as my choir director for the past 6 years. I am now a junior in a high school, and ever since I was in sixth grade, Mr. Owens has shown what it looks like to passionately care about something that is so worth enjoying – the gift of music. Making sure that the songs we sing teach us a LIFE lesson is his top priority at all times. Mr. Owens makes learning inspiring and authentic, which gives his students something to look forward to each time they walk into the classroom. Being a teacher is so much more than giving homework assignments and preparing students for the next big exam. Being a TEACHER is caring about your students so deeply that you would go to any lengths to ensure they know someone cares about them. Mr. Owens is the ultimate example of an amazing educator, and demonstrates this with each and every student interaction.
Mr. Owens has impacted my life and so many others in such amazing ways. He brought me into the world of music, inspired me, encouraged me, and taught me so many things. Without him, I would not be the person I am today so I am incredibly grateful. His passion for being a choir teacher is so inspirational to everyone who meets him. Mr. Owens makes it known that his goal is to change the world through music.
David Moroz is not only an incredible pianist, he is also one of the most incredibly kind and nurturing teachers I have been blessed with the opportunity of studying under. He is patient, is always there to listen and give advice, and encourages us students to do the best we can. He knows just how to give us the push we need, while also intuitively knowing when we need support. Every lesson begins with a warm conversation; before the playing begins, we chat about how the week has been, what we have been up to, and how school is going. If you’ve been having a rough go of things, he always has words of kindness and wisdom to share. His words of encouragement clearly come from a place of genuine care and passion for teaching, and every lesson ends with smiles on both of our faces. David’s love of music, and his love of helping young pianists become the best players they can be are both evident, and each and every student he has taught appreciates and is grateful for all he does.
Jen Satalick, music teacher at Dayton Elementary School in the rural Lyon County School District in Nevada, has gone above and beyond for all students this year. When school began with a very different looking model, her weekly music classes were unable to be held as usual. We have had to keep students with their classes and limit movement around the school. Mrs. Satalick jumped in to learn our new social emotional curriculum and has been bringing lessons to support students’ mental health to all K-6 students. She has found fun and exciting ways to incorporate music and movement into her lessons, giving our students positive experiences and a musical outlet! She is well-deserving of this special recognition!
Miss Alyssa Wiltbank
Miss Alyssa Wiltbank is a PreK-8 Music Teacher and teaches 600+ students between two schools within the Archdiocese of Philadelphia. She brings joy and creativity to her lessons to students both in-person and virtually which shows just how flexible and dynamic she is. From creative movement activities to boomwhacker and rhythm stick composition projects, she always brings the fun, and her students always look forward to music class each week. She is very passionate about music education as well as performing and believes that every child has the ability to be musical. She is truly dedicated to advocating for the arts and determined to bring high quality music instruction to her students.
Mr Keith Savoline
Retired, but made a big impact in his 30+yr teaching career. He taught elementary school and during lunch recess he taught band to those who were interested in music performance. He always helps his elementary school even after he retired, helping with the school musicals. Highly respected. Personally, he was the reason I decided from the time I was in grade 6 to pursue music. He taught his students how to truly show their potential, by giving them lots of opportunities. I am forever grateful for Mr Savoline. The world should know how amazing he is!
Why am I nominating Michael McCullough? Michael McCullough has been a director of Palmdale high school for 25 years and part of voice faculty at Antelope Valley college for 30 years . Michael McCullough has gone above and beyond for all students as much as he can and he will sacrifice his own time and energy to help others and students . He has been my mentor for 4 years now ever since I was a freshman In high school . I never had a father , but McCullough changed that . He became my father figure . When he was upset it affected me , when he was disappointed it affected me . He has taught me many things that I would have never learned anywhere else . McCullough has been there for me whenever I needed him and whoever asked him for a favor , he was there no matter what , whether it was for a charity event or a simple favor. McCullough means the world to me , my mother passed away recently and now I I don’t have my parents here physically, but McCullough will always be father figure
He is one of the most inspiring and passionate music teachers ever. He has helped me through rough singing moments and has made me a better person. He deserves this shout out and so much more.
Wow this man is so passionate about choir and teaching! He is the reason I am now a music teacher.
General awesomeness and a willingness to take the patience needed to teach stubborn teenagers to appreciate classical madrigals and working in “concert” with fellow students. In short, he rocks.
I was a novice Alto II my senior year. He always believed in me and pushed me to sing through my fear. He saw me and my efforts. I can’t remember another teacher ever caring so much, for me, in such a large group. He’s a wonderful man.
I, in my heart was in love with singing as a child. It was Mr Michael McCullough and his class that brought it out of me and taught me the joy of singing with others on a deep level. Through his dedication, love, and passion for for what he does, he has successfully flown high school children from the Palmdale desert across the world to sing in amazing music festivals year after year. The year that I went was the first time I could see that music and my passion could take me somewhere in life. As an adult, I was able to use that ambition, motivation, and experience. All that he gave us helped me to have the confidence I needed to get a record deal with a major label as well as have other successes in life. I often reflect on the love and joy that he expressed through his work and it reminds me why I continually love it. I am so grateful for all that he instilled in us and all that he poured out to us. Thank you Mr McCullough!
Sean has been a middle school band director since 2005. He also arranges halftime shows for high schools and colleges across the country. His resume includes commissioned pieces for bands and ensembles. Sean also co-conducts our community band. Sean’s love and knowledge of music is an inspiration to his students and the more mature members of our community band. He pushes us, musically, beyond our expectations which gives us great pride in our accomplishments. Many of his students have pursued a career in music. Sean has a Bachelor’s degree in Music Education from his alma mater, Michigan State University, as well as a Master’s in Conducting.
Dr. Stephen Holcomb
Dr. Holcomb is one of the most dedicated teachers I have ever had. Not only dedicated to the music, but more so to his students. He never does anything if he can’t justify it by showing it improves our growth as musicians and as people. He doesn’t allow students to slack off, and he also doesn’t allow students to see themselves as anything but having the potential to change the world. His programming skill is insane. There are good directors, and then there are good directors who are stunning at programming. He is like if Walt Disney were a conductor. He is crazy on all the best ways possible. When he gets that twinkle in his eye, you don’t have any idea where he will take the rehearsal. The man must be nearly 70 but he operates with the speed of a 30 year old. You will not find a single person who has taken him as a choral director who won’t remember him for the rest of their lives. Not only that; he is the kindest man in the university.
Mr. Grayson Mullis
When Covid swept the nation this young director was just hired for his second ever teaching job out of college. Then a few months into the school year the head band director was let go and Mr. Mullis found himself to be the head of bands in the wake of chaos he has stepped up and has helped the band through its toughest year to date.
with the sudden resignation of our main director, mullis – with only 2 years under his belt – had acquired an entire band all to himself. as this was his first year at vhs he didn’t know any students or even the school. when it was just left to him he took all of his students under his wing and gave everything he had into making sure that this band program wouldn’t fall apart. when a student isn’t having a good day, he’s there for them any time of the day. he’s an inspiration to all of his students and more and we all love him more than he knows!
This past year has been wild, with the pandemic, the canceling of so many events, we’ve all endured hardships. Last summer, our former assistant band director moved to a different school, and Mr. Mullis was hired. Long story short, our band director just randomly didn’t show up again at school without a word as to why. We were told he wasn’t coming back. Since then, Mullis has taken up the role all on his own in only his second year of ever teaching. With him leading, I feel like our band program here at Veterans High School has ascended to new heights and he’s done an incredible job that I honestly don’t think anyone else could have managed to do. I stand by that statement wholeheartedly. He’s an inspiration to all of us, and an amazing musician who I think deserves a little recognition.
When Covid swept the nation this young director was just hired for his second ever teaching job out of college. Then a few months into the school year the head band director was let go and Mr. Mullis found himself to be the head of bands in the wake of chaos he has stepped up and has helped the band through its toughest year to date
His position as band director was thrust upon him with no warning this year, and he has handled it with outstanding grace. He is the most genuine and open person I have ever had the privilege of learning under and has taught all of us to have patience, dedication, and purpose in and outside of band.
Mr. Mullis was hired this past July as our Assistant Director. He came to us as a second year teacher. One month into an already challenging start to the school year, our band suffered the sudden departure of our Head Director, leaving Mr. Mullis to not only run the regular band program under ever changing COVID conditions, but also lead the marching band through a full football season, holiday concert performance (via live stream) and preparations for Large Group Performance Evaluations. Through all of this, Mr. Mullis has been a calming, steady presence for his students during a year that has been anything but calm and steady. As parents, we are so grateful to him for stepping up to care and lead our children! Mr. Mullis is beyond deserving of this honor.
He is just the most outstanding person to give all the confidence and motivation we as band students need in such a difficult year. The passion, care, and dedication to this band program is immaculate!
He has risen to the challenge of not only being a first year high school director but also being one during a pandemic and has soared above expectations. He blesses his ensembles everyday with his knowledge and experience and seeks to show them everything he knows. He is always open to listening to their personal issues and wants every player to leave his program better.
We lost a band director this year and he was thrown into his position, but he has never let his student down. Through all of this year’s challenges he has supported us and been there when we needed him.
He’s pretty wicked considering the fact that he got dumped a bunch of responsibility after being a teacher for only a month. He’s pretty epic if you ask me.
Mr Mullis came into our program as a young assistant band director, trying to get a fresh start in his career. Our head director resigned, and Mr Mullis had to take the responsibility of running a band he just met. And still, despite all the odds, he took the risk and kept on going. He has shown the band compassion, understanding, and a joy for conducting. He truly has passion in what he does, and has given a new meaning of band for me.
After two band directors left us , Mr. Mullis stepped up and has not once left our side, in just one semester he’s manage to become our best friend and a role model to all of us. Our program was an inch away from ending and mr. mullis saved us and sacrifices so much for us everyday, after so many people have let us down.
Mr. Mullis is a new teacher at our school this year, and he has not only done a consistently incredible job, he’s done so with so much more than he signed up for being unexpectedly put on his plate this year. He was hired as an assistant director, but when our other director who was in the lead unexpectedly had to leave the school, Mullis stepped up and took the lead of our marching and concert band. He helped all of us get through the emotional pain of losing an important teacher and has all around cared for us in our musical, academic, mental, and emotional well being. He did all of this as a second year teacher, with this year being his first year in high school, not to mention in the middle of a global pandemic in which all expectations of school life have been flipped upside down. The challenges that Mullis has faced this year are way more than should be asked of anyone, but he has excelled in every way as a teacher, and he has shown outstanding leadership and adaptability.
Mr. Mullis is a phenomenal teacher. He has done so much for the program through losing two band directors and the pandemic. He’s made everything so much easier on all of the students and will continue to do great things for the program.
During his first year teaching high school band, Mr. Mullis has made an exceptional first impression on our band family and I couldn’t be more proud of his hard work and dedication. Mr. Mullis has taken the unexpected lead as head band director and handled it with such grace and resilience that I didn’t think anyone could possess. He always pushes us to go above and beyond but is also very understanding when we fall short. As a second year band director, Mr. Mullis always looks for ways to perfect his teaching and that shines through everyday in class. I couldn’t be more proud to have such an amazing director and friend.
We lost a band director this year and he was thrown into his position, but he has never let his student down. Through all of this year’s challenges, he has supported us and been there when we needed him.
Mr. Mullis came into our school in his second year of teaching and became acting band director. He not only did his job but excelled. He’s become such an amazing person to look up to as an educator and a person. He works so hard and cares about every student who walks through the band room doors. He is extremely understanding and always is willing to talk to you about anything.
Because we lost both our band director and our assistant band director this year and he was there for us, both physically and emotionally. He’s very understanding and loves his job. He pushes us to succeed but also is very big about us checking in with ourselves and making sure we’re okay emotionally during this rough time. He’s quirky and fun and just the overall best teacher I’ve ever had.
Mr. Gregory Conway
I am nominating Mr. Conway from Hopkins Jr. High because his music program, although going through many hurdles and challenges from funding, etc., has still emerged as one of the best and most loved music programs in the nation. He spends nearly all of his days nurturing his students and is approachable, understanding, kind, and caring. Students would fight over who gets to help him, in and out of class. Our music class was always our favorite. During break, students would gather to help him clean and rearrange the music room, and his classes and trips have formed unbreakable bonds between us. Many of us have found our love for music in his class. Mr. Conway challenges us, encourages us, and truly teaches us. From extra rehearsals, helping with recording All-State auditions, personally driving students to honor ensemble rehearsals at 5 AM, posing for funny pictures with us on trips, every memory is treasured by each and every one of us. He truly goes up and beyond his job description.
I am nominating her because even through the pandemic, Julia worked day and night to be there for her students and make the virtual choir experience something positive. She has personally been there for me through a lot during this pandemic and never failed to check in on me if she noticed something off. She truly has a love for her job and for her students and I am so very thankful for all the work she has put into our choir department.
Dr. Amy Knopps
Dr. Knopps has gone above and beyond for us at the University of Missouri. She is in charge of Marching Mizzou and this year she fought for us to have as Normal of a season as possible. She worked so hard for us to have a fantastic season dispite the limitations that we had in place. Shes always enthusiastic and cares deeply for her students. Shes offered to have one on one Zoom calls just to talk to her about how we were feeling about anything. She even helped me personally through the loss of a close family member. She is very passionate about what she does and all around an absolutely fantastic educator.
Gorringe is an amazing choir teacher, for as long as I have been in the Decatur concert choir (I’m a junior so 3 years) he has created a fun and hardworking environment where every student’s contribution is valued with utmost importance. We have sang 3 Whitacre prices during my time in this choir and Gorringe has made singing them an absolutely amazing experience. He has taught me so much about my own love for music and has provided me with a place to truly be myself.
Gorringe has been teaching at Decatur high school for 25+ years and all of his students absolutely love him. He currently teaches orchestra, women’s choir, jazz choir, concert choir, and guitar. Gorringe has created a community at Decatur where people can come and share their passion for art and music. Over the years in his program I have grown not only musically but also as a person and I have made lifelong connections and friends. To Gorringe the music department is more than just a program it’s a family.