He is what I strive to be. He’s a father figure to me. In dark times when I didn’t know what else to do he was there for me. He showed me the wonders of music and the healing that is accompanied with it. He puts his all into every student he teaches. He just shows this trait that you don’t see in people anymore.
Shane Adams (U.S.A)
I haven’t met a better teacher in my whole life. It was 2011 and I was in Japan studying in Berklee College of Music Online in one of his harmony classes. I kept writing song ideas every week and he’s been putting so much of his time and effort to analyze the harmony for me. It was such a difficult time during Japanese tsunami. I was so scared and we were siting on skype talking about music. He asked if I shouldn’t be taking precausions instead of attending his classes. I said that music is more important. He always admired me and this is how I learned so much in his classes. He was the most amazing teacher ever!
Ms Croft is only a third year teacher but she exemplifies what a music teacher should be. Despite teaching virtually and hybrid this year she maintains relationships with her 500+ students and creates safe spaces for her k-5 kids. Her grasp of musicianship and pedagogy is unparalleled. Her classes are filled with love, music and laughter and are most surely the highlight of her students’ week.
Mr. Williams, our choir teacher, has given us such wonderful opportunities in music. He pushes us everyday to do our best, critiques us, and cheers us on. We were able to go to the Whitacre Workshop in Atlanta right before the country got shut down because of him, and I’m so grateful for that experience. He’s always so real with us, always himself and takes time to listen to our personal issues if we have them. I couldn’t ask for a better choir teacher.
Mr. Williams is the choir director at Veterans High School. Mr Williams is an inspiration to every single person that meets him. He creates a very friendly and safe environment. He is there for his students to teach and to listen when he is needed. He is the best teacher I have ever had and has taught me so much as a singer and person. He is so energetic and believes in us even when we don’t. He submitted a recording for the gmea conference and qualified as a mastery choir. Even though we were unable to attend in person he hasn’t wavered in creating music to perform and record even though the recording date for it has been pushed back because of quarantines. He has inspired me with his love of music and now I am planning on becoming a music educator. He is the best choral director I have ever met and an even better person.
Ms. Lydia Smith-Lockwood
Ms. Lockwood is such an inspiration as a teacher and human. She is a classically trained concert pianist originally, but now dedicates her life to teaching high school choirs and associated music courses. She is the director of Choirs at Upper Arlington Schools in Columbus, OH. Ms. Lockwood brings such a different approach to high school education because of her past experiences. In addition to her Masters in Piano Performance, she also studied at the Mozarteum in Austria and was awarded the Yale Outstanding Music Teacher award. Comfortable on the stage as well as in the classroom, there just simply is no one like her! In addition to her exceptional talent as a musician and teacher, she is an equally amazing human! She is always there to provide advice and always lighten the mood. She truly cares about her students and that is why Ms. Lockwood is one in a million.
James (in the UK) hasn’t been teaching cello long but has managed a 100% pass mark for his pupils, he has only had a laptop for a short while but was already making ‘lockdown’ films on his iPad. He’s developed great techniques and rapport with his students and just recently his ABRSM Grade 7 student got a high Merit, having gone from Grade 6 standard only in 6 months. I’m a proud Mum!
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!
Mr. Betz, the choir director at Stagg High School in Palos Hills, IL, goes above and beyond every day to make each of his students feel special– both virtually and in person. While excelling as both a musician and a teacher, Mr. Betz is a safe haven–his door is always open to talk, and he genuinely cares about student success as both musicians and as growing young adults. While the pivot to virtual learning has been tough, he has come up with clever ways to keep students engaged. Several Wednesdays per semester are deemed ‘Open Mic Days’, where students can perform anything they’d like for one another. It keeps their creativity alive and creates a fun-filled day of learning and entertainment. He worked with his extra-curricular Madrigals choir to design logo sweatshirts and drove to many of their homes to personally deliver the final product. He has built the Stagg choir community into a positive group of engagement and passion, and the program is so lucky to have him!
Robin Hughes, retiring this year after an amazing teaching career, inspires every student to be their best, step up and show everyone who they are and who they can be. She never stops looking for opportunities for her singers to build and develop their musical and personal character. Robin has been a leader in the Minnesota choral community, serving on boards, creating events that connect community and choirs and raising funds for community groups that support teens. Amidst the COVIC-19 pandemic, Robin has not had the opportunity to close her final year with her favorite concerts, events, a choir trip to NYC and celebrating the end of the year with her seniors. So, she did what she always does…found a way to honor each senior individually. Taking 4 days to drive around town, Robin delivered robes for senior photos and visited more than 100 choir members at their homes, often singing with them one last time.
Mrs Dupuis puts her heart and soul chorus. She creates a safe , open , loving and musical space through choir . She constantly gives me life advice and guides me , and many others. Mrs Dupuis has touched my life and multiple other students/peoples life forever . Hartselle High School is forever blessed by her presence.
Amy Neal is my choir director at Forsyth Central high school. I’m nominating her because she has done incredible work not only to grow our program, but to support my individual endeavors in music. She is one of the people who has fostered my love for choral music since we met 3 years ago, and it’s an honor and a privilege to have her as my director.
Robin Hughes; Director of Choirs at Mankato East High School
Robin Hughes is always looking for new and exciting ways to give her students rewarding and memorable opportunities. In addition to traveling with her high school choirs every 2 years she connects them in collaboration with other choirs around the state of Minnesota including The Gustavus Choir in southern Minnesota to choirs in Duluth to the far north. Mrs. Hughes also helped bring together 4 area public, private and community high school choirs in an annual concert event that collects donations for a teen drop in shelter. She is the picture of passion and compassion!
Mr. Gress is a phenomenal choral director, teacher, and mentor. His kindness, patience and resolute faith allow him to brighten the lives of every student he had ever taught. Most students, entering the Church Farm School, had never sung in a choir before in their lives, but after one year, they would have developed a genuine appreciation for music-making, and would look forward to coming back next year. He believes in the potential within each of his students, and works tirelessly to cultivate that potential within us. For me, being in choir with Mr. Gress had been the definition of a life-changing experience. From not being able to match pitch in the beginning, I am now deeply passionate about choral music and intend to pursue music as a career, all thanks to Mr. Gress’s guidance and mentorship. We love you Mr. Gress! Thank you for all you have done for the CFS Choir and Singers. You are truly amazing.
Mr. Connell is the single most passionate teacher I’ve ever had the pleasure of having. Being a first year teacher, he has taken our music program by storm. We are taught the intricate nuances of true self-expression. His new ideas are inspired and make our (not so) quiet corner of the school an amazing place to be. He has made it a priority to make connections with his students through beautiful music. In the short time that I’ve known him, Mr. Connell has shown enthusiasm like none other and I’m am beyond excited to see how he further builds our community.
Dr. J.D. Salas
Dr. Salas was my tuba professor at SFASU. More importantly though, he was my biggest mentor during that pivotal time in my life. Not only did he understand that his job was to teach music, but also to help everyone in his studio grow as people. People in my studio had a variety of issues such as drug use and family problems back home when they arrived. I watched Dr. Salas take each individual and help them through their struggles, including me. I remember times where I felt that I hadn’t practiced enough and our fifty minute lesson turned into us talking about life and him guiding me through my relationships and struggles. I recently met up with some of my fellow studio members and we were all chatting about what a big influence he had on us. We all agreed that we didn’t deserve Dr. Salas, but that we were all thankful to have had him anyway. When I think of the great educators I’ve had in my life, he always pops up first, because he’s so much more than a tuba professor.
Mr. Bogue is overall one of the most inspirational people I have ever met. He always knows how to take our choirs above and beyond and he has created such a wonderful environment for his students. He has created a safe and happy environment for everyone to be themselves and get the most out of the program. You wouldn’t believe the tremendous improvements people make under his teachings. I am so proud to be a part of his choir program and it is the one thing I will never ever forget about high school
He is by far the best orchestra teacher I ever had. He not only taught us music and how to play, but he taught us about being great human beings. He pushed us to be the best musicians and people possible and made sure to let us know that we could make a difference in the world. He made sure we knew we were loved and that our creativity was just as valuable as all of our academics. He was there for me during a tough period in high school and was more of a father figure than a teacher sometimes. I have been out of high school for 4 years now and I still lean back on his musical advice and teaching as well as his life teaching and genuine love and care for each of his students. He is one of my biggest inspirations in life and one main reason I want to be a teacher even if it isn’t music.
Mrs. Ellen McCarthy
Mrs. McCarthy is a consummate professional, treats each and every student as if they are the most important person in the room at all times. She has a way of making a community out of the the most unlikely of strangers and has built a tremendous choral program in Northport, NY. She is loved by her students and has one of the most focused rehearsals complete with affect and emotion that I have ever watched. It’s a joy to be able to watch and work with someone who loves so genuinely and passionately what she does each and every day!
Dr. Colleen Richardson
Doctor Richardson is one of the most amazing conductors I’ve ever met. She is so serious about everyone playing well, and also genuinely cares about everyone and their needs. She all wants us to be the best musicians we can be. I love being under the leadership of her because she’s taught me to become a leader. I hope someday to be just like her. She’s an absolutely amazing conductor and I could not ask for anyone better.
Mrs. Michelle Green
Mrs. Green is a great example of what it means to be a good choral educator. She pushes us further than we think we can go, never letting us quit. She provides us with opportunities that we wouldn’t get elsewhere like performing with Foreigner or at the governor’s mansion. She is so dedicated that she missed out on the opportunity to attend your workshop at GSU so we could have another rehearsal to perform at our best. More importantly than anything else, Mrs. Green makes us better people. I have learned more life lessons in her class than I can count. She taught me that music is about more than just notes and rhythms; it’s about how it can make someone feel. She taught me that hard work and respect will get you further than almost anything. Mrs. Green takes us under her wings and treats us like her own children. Everyone who she comes into contact with knows that her room is a place full of love. For these reasons and more, I’m forever grateful and think she should be recognized.