Music alum receives Mr. Holland’s Opus Award

Bill Doolan and Richard Dreyfuss

Bill Doolan and Richard Dreyfuss

NIU School of Music alum Bill Doolan, who earned a bachelor’s degree in music education in 1972, is among five recipients of the 2010 Mr. Holland’s Opus Award.

Doolan has been teaching in the Kickapoo Area School District in Viola, Wis., for 31 years. Richard Dreyfuss, who played the title character in the 1995 film “Mr. Holland’s Opus,” presented the awards at Carnegie Hall in New York.

Made possible in 2003 by Guitar Center, 41 educators from across the United States now have received this honor on the hallowed stage of Carnegie Hall, along with a $10,000 check and a beautiful statue designed by foundation board member Ron Taft.

Music teachers who receive this honor:

  • instill a love of music in their students through instrumental music instruction in grades K-12.
  • have the passion, dedication and leadership skills to persevere under difficult circumstances.
  • give generously of their time, energy and talent, exceeding what is expected of music educators.
  • demonstrate creativity regardless of availability of instruments, materials, classroom space and budget limitations.
  • inspire students and challenge them to attain the highest level of musicianship.
  • encourage musical growth through ongoing individual and group performance, auditions and evaluations.

The Mr. Holland’s Opus Foundation (MHOF) does not accept nominations for this award. All honorees are chosen from instrument grant recipients from its Melody Program.

MHOF’s primary mission is to donate new and refurbished instruments to school and after-school music programs that lack the resources to keep up with equipment loss thanks to attrition, depreciation and wear over time, and to accommodate students on waiting lists or who have to share instruments. Every year, an average of 10,000 young people across the country benefit from MHOF programs.

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