Columbus Symphony Has Announced 2020 Music Educator Award Winners

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Columbus Symphony Has Announced 2020 Music Educator Award Winners

The Columbus Symphony today announced the winners of the 2020 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.

Three nominees have been selected in the categories of elementary, secondary, and community education. 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 a dinner on Saturday, March 28, at 5:30pm at The Sheraton Capitol Square (75 E. State St.). Tickets to the event are $65, and include admission to that evening's Columbus Symphony concert, The Rite of Spring, at the Ohio Theatre at 8pm. Tickets can be purchased by calling 614-221-4916 before March 16.

The Music Educator Awards were made possible through the generous support of Kim and Jude Swanson with additional support from Canneto Studios.

The winners of the 2020 Music Educator Awards are:

2020 Music Educator Award - Elementary Education

Debra Keller-Perry

Elementary Vocal Music Teacher, Clinton Elementary & Winterset Elementary, Columbus City Schools

Keller-Perry is currently in her 31st year of teaching music in public school and 29th in Columbus City Schools. She has taught at Clinton Elementary School for the past 14 years, developing the choral program through Kodaly methodology. In addition to her responsibilities as a classroom teacher, she has served as substitute director for Columbus Children's Choir, KinderMusik director at the First Unitarian Universalist Church of Columbus, music theory director at Con Brio Children's Choirs, and founder, chair, session chair, and educational outreach director for Columbus Comhaltas. Keller-Perry co-founded the Clintonville Community Choral Festival, guest lectured at OSU for Tech in the Music Classroom and Teaching Special Needs Students Music, co-founded Columbus Comhaltas, organized community Irish music sessions, launched and organized Irish music lessons for kids, co-lead the Music Teacher Based Team (TBT) for Columbus City Schools, and became a CCS Music SLO Evaluator for teacher certification. She is an adjudicator for the CCS Gifted and Talented Department each year, helping to determine which students qualify for musically gifted services. In addition, she has presented at various OMEA State Conferences, Columbus City Schools in-service days in the music department, Google Galaxy about music and tech, and the Autism and the Arts Conference at OSU.

2020 Music Educator Award - Secondary Education

Daniel Gleich

Instrumental Music Teacher, Centennial High School, Columbus City Schools

Gleich is in his 19th year as instrumental music teacher in the Columbus City Schools, currently teaching at Centennial High School. A Northland High alum, he received his Bachelor of Music Education degree at The Ohio State University before beginning his teaching career at his alma mater middle school, Woodward Park. Of his many achievements at Woodward Park, Gleich is most proud of establishing a multicultural festival and concert that featured both a cultural potluck dinner and band/choir performances of various ethnic music. In addition, he served as coordinator and director of the Northland Summer Music Program for 12 years. The program featured ensembles for middle and high school bands and orchestras, beginning and advanced elementary band and strings, and culminated in an outdoor performance of festive and popular music. In 2010, Gleich became director of bands at Centennial High School, and in 2011, received his Master's in Education from Ashland University. He helped to build what is now the largest band in Columbus, taking them on several trips including the Outback Bowl, Walt Disney World, the annual Buckeye Invitational at Ohio Stadium, and the Massillon Festival of Bands. Highlights of his career at Centennial include the annual Northwest Strings Festival, the Marching Stars' invitation, and a 2019 performance at The Ohio State University Marching Band's skull session.

2020 Music Educator Award - Community Education

Susan Larson

Director, Newark-Granville Youth Symphony

Larson is the founder and artistic director of the Newark-Granville Youth Symphony. From 2006-11, she was director of orchestras for Newark City Schools. In 2009, her string orchestra, the Newark High School Sinfonia, was awarded first runner up for the National Orchestra Cup at Lincoln Center, earning them a front-page story in the New York Times and an invitation to the White House. For 15 years, Larson served as director of orchestras for Bexley City Schools. She is currently a violin, viola, and chamber music instructor for the Denison University Suzuki Program and is the executive director of the Newark-Granville Symphony Orchestra. She has been a conductor and clinician for school ensembles, regional orchestras, and honors orchestras throughout the Midwest. She has conducted the Women in Music Symphony Orchestra and String Sinfonia and has served as conductor and music director for Otterbein University.

Additional nominees in elementary education include William Giacomelli, Hilliard City Schools; Nick Gonzalez, The Goddard School; Angel Hillyard, West Jefferson Schools; Kara Johansen, Worthington Schools; and Nicole Mazon, Hilliard City Schools.

Additional nominees in secondary education include James Becker, The Wellington School; Nick Crowther, Hilliard City Schools; Chris Kuhn, Westerville City Schools; Josh Reynolds, Columbus City Schools; Thomas Traini, River View Local Schools; and Keith Watson, River View Local Schools.

Additional nominees in community education include Mary Fran Cassidy of the Dublin Singers and Chad Wulf of The Singing Buckeyes.

Photo Credit: Gary Chisolm

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