Irvine Unified schools make beautiful music
The Music Educator Award recognizes current educators (K through college, both public and private schools) who have made a significant and lasting contribution to the field of music education and who demonstrate a commitment to the broader cause of maintaining music education in the schools. The folks at the GRAMMY Awards explain it well:
“For every performer who makes it to the GRAMMY stage, there was a teacher who played a critical role in getting them there. And really, that’s true for all of us who are making music today. Maybe they introduced you to your first instrument. Or they showed you how to get over your stage fright. Or maybe they just inspired you to have the confidence to go for it when you were ready to give up.
It’s time to say thank you to all of those teachers who put in all of those hours to make sure that all of us love and play music today! And who better to do that than the people who bring you the GRAMMY Awards?”
This year’s 25 semifinalists come from 25 cities across 16 states. Five of them are from California, and two from Orange County (Keith Hancock of Tesoro High School in Rancho Santa Margarita is the second, along with Mr. Miller).
The 2017 winner will be announced in December, and will be invited to Los Angeles during GRAMMY week to accept the award, attend the GRAMMY Awards ceremony and receive a $10,000 honorarium. The nine other finalists will each receive a $1,000 honorarium, and the schools of all 10 finalists will receive matching grants.
This isn’t the first time Mr. Miller and the Sierra Vista music program have been in the news recently. Kevin Miura is a talented, dedicated and hard-working violin prodigy who attends Sierra Vista Middle School. Kevin, who also studies at the Colburn School in Los Angeles, competes in international music competitions, including placing second at the Menuhin Competition in London, a prestigious international competition for youth violinists. His playing so impressed at the event that the teenager from Irvine was awarded a special prize: a two-year loan of a Stradivarius violin.
“He’s probably the best musician I’ve ever taught; he’ll probably be the best musician I will ever teach,” Mr. Miller told the OC Register.
Hopefully, he’ll join the ranks of Irvine Unified School District’s GRAMMY winning Woodbridge High School, which was named the 2016 National Grammy Signature School for its outstanding music program. It’s one of the most prestigious accolades in music education.
In 2016, the GRAMMY Foundation presented Signature School awards to just 13 schools across the nation. The top three schools were designated Gold recipients. The best of the Gold recipients, Woodbridge High School, was named the National GRAMMY Signature School.
The top honor was the first for an Irvine school, though IUSD’s comprehensive high schools have received 12 Gold and Signature Grammy awards.
And the year before, in 2015, Irvine, Northwood, University and Woodbridge high schools were among 119 schools nationwide selected as semifinalists the GRAMMY Foundation, making IUSD the only district in the nation with four schools with this designation.
Perhaps we should add “Best Music Education in the Nation” to Irvine’s many other superlatives that help make it the best place to live anywhere.