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Columbus Symphony Announces 2021 Music Educator Award Winners

Four nominees have been selected in the categories of elementary educator, secondary educator, private/community educator, and lifetime achievement.

Columbus Symphony Announces 2021 Music Educator Award Winners

The Columbus Symphony today announced the winners of the 2021 Music Educator Awards, honoring individuals who make a difference in the community through a dedication to music education and promotion of a greater understanding of and appreciation for the art form.

Four nominees have been selected in the categories of elementary educator, secondary educator, private/community educator, and lifetime achievement. Each winner will receive a $2,500 grant to spend at their discretion on music education endeavors. Past winners have used these funds to host guest instructors, repair instruments, take professional development classes, or purchase new instruments, computer software, and music.

The winners will be presented with their awards at the Columbus Symphony's annual Music Educator Awards dinner and ceremony later this year.

The winners of the 2021 Music Educator Awards are:

2021 Music Educator Award - Elementary Educator

Laurie Parsons

Lower School Music Specialist, Wellington School

Parsons holds a Bachelor's in music education and Master's in education from Otterbein College and recently completed her 36th year of teaching. Early in her career, she earned a Kodaly certificate through Capital University, and to further her professional growth, continues to attend Kodaly and Orff workshops and the annual OMEA Professional Conference. At the Wellington School, she teaches general music to students aged three through fourth grade. As a flutist, she is a past member of the Westerville Civic Symphony and has directed children's vocal and bell choirs for her church.

2021 Music Educator Award - Secondary Educator

Brian Stevens

Director of Bands, Dublin Jerome High School, Dublin City Schools

Stevens holds a Bachelor's in music education from The Ohio State University, and later completed a Master's in music education with instrumental emphasis from Capital University. While at OSU, he performed with the marching band, concert band, symphonic choir, and Men's Glee Club. He began his teaching career in 1988 as band and choir director with West Jefferson High School, serving five years before moving on to Reynoldsburg High School as director of bands and supervisor of the district band program for an additional 16 years. For the past 12 years, Stevens has served as director of bands at Dublin Jerome High School, and recently announced his retirement after 33 years as a public-school music educator. Over the course of his career, Stevens has served as adjudicator and All-State Band Chair for the Ohio Music Education Association, joining the adjudicated event committee in 2003 and fulfilling the roles of Junior High Affairs Chair, Marching Band Affairs Chair, Band Affairs Chair, and Adjudicated Events Chair. He is a member of the Brass Band of Columbus, performing with the band on cornet for 20 years, and in 2010, became the group's third music director and conductor. Under Stevens' leadership, the Brass Band of Columbus has performed approximately 20 public concerts per year and presented concerts at the North American Brass Band Association Championships, The Great American Brass Band Festival, the International Trumpet Guild National Conference, and three performances at the OMEA Professional Development Conference.

2021 Music Educator Award - Private/Community Educator

Jill Crist

Private Cello Teacher, Columbus Cello School

Crist is cello professor at Otterbein University and Columbus Cello School as well as an ensemble coach for Chamber Music Connection. She also serves as the cellist of Bryden String Quartet. Crist is a sought-after Suzuki cello teacher and directed Suzuki cello at Capital University and Suzuki Music Columbus for more than a decade. Along with her teaching skills, she has performed throughout Japan with the Logos String Quartet as well as toured and soloed in Burgenland and Vienna, Austria, with the Classical Music Festival. Crist performs regularly with the Capital, Springfield, Mansfield, and Newark-Granville Symphonies, and is an active wedding contractor throughout central Ohio.

2021 Music Educator Award - Lifetime Achievement

Jim Masters

Jazz Educator, Lecturer, The Ohio State University

Trombonist and educator Jim Masters took up the trombone at age six, and founded a Dixieland/Tijuana Brass cover band, The Brass Leaf, at 13, playing on a riverboat in his hometown of St. Charles, Illinois. When he moved to Ohio in 1971, he started a big band at his high school and began studying trombone, eventually being recruited to study at Youngstown State University where he became a member of its award-winning jazz ensemble. His studies also took him back to Illinois at Wabaunsee Community College where he garnered numerous collegiate awards and became a member of the Chicago Jazz Ensemble at Columbia College.

In 1979, Masters and his wife moved to New York City, where he toured with the Buddy Rich Big Band and the Widespread Jazz Orchestra, performed as a member in the bands of Jorge Anders, Roy Gerson, Alan Simon, Dave Lalama, Maria Schneider/John Fedchock, and many others. He worked in pit orchestras and led bands for many corporate and society events, and was also a regular recorded member of Bending towards the Light - a Jazz Nativity. He has performed with many Columbus artists including Bobby Floyd, Dave Powers, Joe Dunlap, Hank Marr, Gene Walker, and Harmony Project.

As a vocalist, Masters has recorded many jingles, standards, and originals, and is a songwriter and composer with more than 100 compositions. His song "In St. Charles" was named the official song of his hometown. Others include "Back Where I Belong" (the official song of Licking County), "Let's Take a Walk Around Worthington," "You Just Made My Day," and "I Love This Land That is America" with the Westerville Concert Band. His music is performed weekly in numerous congregations.

Masters developed the American Jazz Experience, a one-hour informance of live acoustic music, as an introduction to professional musicians and their instruments. After the quintet became affiliated with the Greater Columbus Arts Council's Artists in School, the Jazz Arts Group helped the program to reach more than 200,000 students.

Masters became a member of the Columbus Jazz Orchestra in 2001 and redeveloped its "All That Jazz" program. He also helped create curriculum for "Making Choices" and created and presented young people's concerts for The West Point Military Academy's Jazz Knights.

Masters has served as lecturer at The Ohio State University since 1994, teaching primarily jazz trombone. He has directed and written for all three of the big bands and small ensembles and has taught jazz pedagogy and improvisation courses. Masters served as jazz vocal instructor for at Capital University for two years, also leading a vocal ensemble there. He has also served on the faculty at OSU Jazz Camps, JAG Jazz Academy, Richland Academy of the Arts, St. Charles Arts Festival, and the Stanford Jazz Workshop.

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