The CMA Foundation honored 34 music educators during the third annual CMA Music Teachers of Excellence ceremony on, May 8, at Nashville’s Marathon Music Works. The invite-only event, hosted by RCA Records Nashville recording artist as well as CMA and CMA Foundation board member Chris Young, celebrated teachers from districts across the state of Tennessee as well as cities Chicago, Cincinnati, Los Angeles and Seattle for their advocacy and commitment to music education. More than a dozen Country artists and celebrities attended the ceremony in addition to Nashville Mayor David Briley, Metro Nashville Public Schools Superintendent Shawn Joseph, CMA and CMA Foundation board members, industry leaders, and representatives from eight CMA Foundation beneficiary programs.
In an interview with NBC’s Lester Holt on June 7th, Chris Young stated, “I don’t know that I would be doing what I am doing now if I had not been exposed to such wonderful educators and have the opportunity to do music.” Chris Young is a product of music education himself. His choral teacher is/was Rutherford County Schools’, Brenda Gregory. She stated, “When Chris Young was a Freshman, he had that spark.” She knew this kid “was going somewhere.”
“Your students will remember everything you do for them,” said Young. “They will remember the patience and passion you have when you teach and how you helped build their confidence and gave them self-worth. Music teachers can shape their students in ways you might not even realize. I’m living proof of that.”
As a teen, Chris Young got his start performing in the high school musicals, Les Mis and Evita. In 2006, he went on to audition and win the competition show, Nashville Star. He has since gone on to record 8 albums with multiple number one hits including ‘The Man I Want To Be,’ ‘Tomorrow’ and ‘I’m Comin’ Over.’
The CMA Foundation created the Music Teachers of Excellence program in 2016 in an effort to recognize the best and brightest music teachers from Nashville and beyond. Award recipients were selected because of their dedication to delivering a quality music program to their students and the impact they’ve had on their school community through music. In addition to a night of celebration, these dedicated educators will each receive $5,000 from the CMA Foundation to not only support their classroom needs but to support their professional development as well.
Says a Rutherford County Student regarding Music Teacher Brenda Gregory, “She always says anything is possible. She helps students find their voice.” Hats off to the wonderful music educators!
Click here or a full list of the 2018 Music Teachers of Excellence Recipients.
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Bethany Bowman is a Music and Entertainment Writer for the Tennessee Star.