Since 1988, the RPO musicians have come together to honor the vital work of our outstanding music educators here in the Rochester area. Many of the RPO musicians began their own musical journey in public school programs. They would not be where they are without their school teachers’ dedication, passion, and kindness. Here in the RPO family, we recognize the vital role that music plays in enriching young students’ lives. As a small token of our thanks, we have carried on the tradition of presenting the RPO Musicians’ Awards for Outstanding Music Educators.
These awards are presented in four categories: Classroom Music Specialist, Choral Director, and Instrumental Music – Band and Strings. On occasion, the musicians will also grant a Special Award for a music educator who has shown exemplary service over the years. Each nominee for an award is a certified music educator in a public, parochial, or private school in grades K-12 in one of the following counties: Genesee, Livingston, Monroe, Ontario, Orleans, Seneca, Wayne, Wyoming, or Yates. A committee chaired by RPO musicians receives nominations from principals, parents, colleagues, and – always the most heartfelt – from students.
The musicians present the awards at an RPO Philharmonics concert in Kodak Hall at Eastman Theatre during Music in Our Schools Month. The onstage presentation is a highlight of the evening, as the music educators are recognized for their wonderful work and often cheered on by a crowd of their students. Following the concert, the musicians further express their appreciation and get to know the honorees at a reception for the award winners and their families.
Although the 2020 Music Educator Awards Night was canceled due to the pandemic, we look forward to recognizing those winners when we can gather once again. This year, we simply needed to thank every single music educator for finding creative ways to keep their students engaged in music during this time. While this will be the first time in over 30 years that we do not present these awards, we are immensely grateful for the work music educators do in their classrooms (or virtually from their homes) every day.
To all music educators in the Rochester area and beyond – thank you for everything you do.
– Your RPO Family