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NIU School of Music boasts five alums on roster of quarterfinalists for Music Educator Award

June 10, 2013
Paul Bauer

Paul Bauer

When the Recording Academy and GRAMMY Foundation announced the quarterfinalists for its Music Educator Award, five alumni of the Northern Illinois University School of Music were on the list:

More than 30,000 nominations from throughout the United States were submitted for the Music Educator Award. Of those, 217 music teachers from 45 states have made it to the quarterfinals, including the five NIU alumni. Less than one percent of those nominated were selected as quarterfinalists.

To say that the school’s director is elated is an understatement.

“Having one alum on this list of outstanding music educators from across the country would be worthy of celebration,” said Paul Bauer, director of the NIU School of Music, one of three schools in the College of Visual and Performing Arts.

“Two would be amazing. Three would be incredible. The NIU School of Music has five alumni on the list!” Bauer added. “And some will find it interesting that four additional master teachers from the list of Music Educator Award quarterfinalists serve as established partners in the teaching of NIU music education majors. Having professional relationships with nine of the 217 quarterfinalists from across the entire country puts NIU in a special class.”

Rich Holly

Rich Holly

“It’s incredibly gratifying to know that five NIU School of Music alumni are included among the quarterfinalists for the Grammy Music Educator Award. Our music faculty members are dedicated to recruiting top students from throughout the country and abroad, and this is proof positive that they’re attracting the best and the brightest to NIU, said Rich Holly, dean of the College of Visual and Performing Arts. I’m very proud of the tremendous careers these alums have, and pleased for the hundreds of young students they are impacting each and every day.”

“Responses by these honored nominees themselves and others has been gratifying,” Bauer added.

Nominee Barsch said he highly values the guidance he continues to receive from his mentor at NIU. “I really appreciate the education I got at NIU, mainly under the direction of Dr. [Eric] Johnson. Fortunately, I’ve been able to maintain that relationship.”

Naperville Central High School Principal William Wiesbrook calls NCHS “lucky to have Mr. Wahlund teaching and leading our students. I am very proud of Ben, and hope that he is recognized again in August for the impact and leadership he consistently exhibits with his students.”

Morgan expressed his gratitude for his time spent at NIU.

“Growing up I remember seeing the NIU Jazz Ensemble perform at the Rialto Theatre, and I decided then that NIU is where I wanted to be,” Morgan said. “I never could have imagined how strong of an educational foundation I would receive. All of my professors not only taught the core subject, but also life lessons that have been invaluable. I look back fondly of my time at NIU and will be forever grateful for the opportunities made available to me there.”

Grammy logoThe Recording Academy and GRAMMY Foundation established the Music Educator Award to recognize teachers who have made a significant and lasting contribution and commitment to education.

The NIU music faculty believes music education students must have a variety of experiences in methods of teaching, foundations of education, performance, instructional technology and working with diverse populations. Their commitment to music education is reflected in NIU’s reputation as well as the honors its graduates and their students receive. Three decades of NIU alumni are represented as quarterfinalists for the prestigious Music Educator Award, and other NIU alumni music teachers have been named to the National Teachers Hall of Fame and have received the Mr. Holland’s Opus Award.

The four additional master teachers collaborating with NIU are Stephanie Skizas, Glenbard South High School, Glen Ellyn, Ill.; D.J. Alstadt, Naperville Central High School, Naperville; Mark Duker, Neuqua Valley High School, Naperville; and Brian Logan, Wheeling High School, Wheeling, Ill.

Music Educator Award semifinalists will be announced in August, 2013. From that pool, the Academy will then select 10 finalists and one winner, who will receive a $10,000 honorarium and attend the GRAMMY Award Ceremony in February, 2014. The other nine finalists will receive a $1,000 honorarium.

Established in 1957, the Recording Academy is an organization of musicians, songwriters, producers, engineers and recording professionals that is dedicated to improving the cultural condition and quality of life for music and its makers.

The GRAMMY Foundation was established in 1989 to cultivate the understanding, appreciation and advancement of the contribution of recorded music to American culture.