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January 24, 2014

Celebrating Music Education with the GRAMMY Foundation

A couple of months ago we started working with the GRAMMY Foundation.  The GRAMMY Foundation was established in 1989 to cultivate the understanding, appreciation and advancement of the contribution of recorded music to American culture. The Foundation accomplishes this mission through programs and activities that engage the music industry and cultural community as well as the general public. The Foundation works in partnership year-round with its founder, The Recording Academy, to bring national attention to important issues such as the value and impact of music and arts education and the urgency of preserving our rich cultural heritage.

This year the GRAMMY Foundation awarded the first annual Music Educator Award.  The awards aims to recognize the important role that teachers play in the appreciation of music. More than 50,000 teachers were nominated online in the past year and 10 finalists were announced in December.  This week the GRAMMY Foundation announced that Kent Knappenberger of Westfield Academy and Central School in Westfield, N.Y., is the recipient of the first annual Music Educator Award.  The Surface team is a proud sponsor of this award and we want to congratulate Kent on his achievement.

Knappenberger has been a music teacher and choir director at Westfield Academy and Central School for 25 years. He holds a bachelor’s degree from the State University of New York at Fredonia and a master’s degree in music education, harp performance and literature from Eastman School of Music, and he is a member of the National Education Association.  In Kent’s own words:

“I am extremely humbled and honored to be the recipient of the first-ever Music Educator Award. I believe that this award has already been and will continue to be a tremendous encouragement to all music educators. Besides the attention it has brought to many fine teachers, it brings attention to the importance of music education in general.”

Kent and the other 9 finalists of the first annual Music Educator Award are all receiving cash contributions from the GRAMMY Foundation and Recording Academy to their music programs.  In addition, we are thrilled to work with each of these teachers to share the Surface Music Kit with them.

I am looking forward to sharing with you the experience of seeing all 10 teachers and their students creating music, remixes, and mash-ups using the Surface Music Cover in the coming weeks.

Again congratulations to Kent and his fellow finalists.