Columbus Symphony Announces 2019 Music Educator Award Winners

Columbus Symphony Announces 2019 Music Educator Award Winners

The Columbus Symphony today announced the winners of the 2019 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, April 6, 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 Trumpet Shall Sound, at the Ohio Theatre at 8pm. Tickets can be purchased by calling 614-221-4916 before March 25.

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 2019 Music Educator Awards are:

2019 Music Educator Award - Elementary Education

Karla Cherwinski

General Music Teacher, Indian Trails Elementary School, Canal Winchester Local Schools

An elementary general music educator for 25 years, Cherwinski currently teaches 1st and 2nd grade music at Indian Trail Elementary. She earned a Bachelor of Music from Capital University, Kodály certification from the Kodály Institute at Capital, and a Master's in music education from The Ohio State University. She was recently named the director of the Kodály Institute at Capital and coordinator of the music education track of Capital's Master of Music program. Cherwinski is currently working as the program co-chair for the 2019 Organization of American Kodály Educators National Conference that will be held in Columbus in March. A classically trained pianist, Cherwinski teaches private piano lessons, performs and directs services at David Evangelical Lutheran Church, and accompanies high school students for solo and ensemble contests.

2019 Music Educator Award - Secondary Education

James Chickrell

Director of Bands, Logan Elm High School, Logan Elm Local Schools

Currently in his 44th year of teaching instrumental music, Chickrell has served as director of bands at Logan Elm High School for the past 31 years. As such, he is responsible for 5th and 6th grade instrumental instruction, directing the McDowell Junior High School band, and teaching music theory and history at Logan Elm High School as well as direct its marching band, concert band, and pep band. Chickrell previously taught in the Trimble Local and Nelsonville-York City School Districts in southeastern Ohio, and as a graduate teaching associate at Ohio University. He received his Bachelor of Music degree summa cum laude and his Master of Music degree from Ohio University. His professional affiliations include the National Association for Music Education, the Ohio Music Education Association, Pi Kappa Lambda, Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia, and Kappa Kappa Psi. Chickrell currently resides in Powell and is an active member of Northwest Christian Church where he also performs with the Chalice Ringers Handbell Choir.

2019 Music Educator Award - Community Education

Catherine Willis

Founder, Urban Strings Columbus Youth Orchestra.

In 2007, Willis founded Urban Strings Columbus, a central Ohio-based community youth orchestra of students ages 7-18 that perform classical music, as well as preserve and perform the music of traditional and contemporary African-American composers and arrangers, focusing on the enrichment of the musician through the incorporation of expressive music such as jazz, gospel, hip-hop, pop, and R&B. A former teacher with Columbus City Schools, Willis' focus on education grew the program from two youth musicians at an urban middle school to more than 50 participants today that host more than 35 performances each season. She is a founding member of Friends of Art for Community Enrichment Inc., and a long-time trustee and past president of the Columbus Youth Foundation.

Additional nominees include Travis Damicone, Columbus City Schools; Debra Keller-Perry, Columbus City Schools; Nick Gonzalez, The Goddard School; Kara Johansen, Worthington City Schools; William Giacomelli, Hilliard City Schools; Angel Hillyard, West Jefferson Schools; Nick Crowther, Hilliard City Schools; Chris Kuhn, Westerville City Schools; James Becker, The Wellington School; Keith Watson, River View Local Schools; Tom Traini, Southwestern City Schools; Susan Larson, Newark-Granville Symphony; and Chad Wulf, Singing Buckeyes.

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