North Carolina Symphony Honors Three Outstanding Music Educators


Three music teachers, from three different North Carolina counties, have been named the North Carolina Symphony’s 2017 Music Educator Award winners. These annual awards recognize outstanding teachers who make a lasting difference in the lives of students of all abilities and backgrounds; serve the community in an exemplary manner as a role model in music education; inspire students to reach high musical standards; and instill a love for music in children.

This year’s presentation will take place onstage at the Symphony’s October 6 concert,Northern Lights, at Meymandi Concert Hall. Honorees receive monetary prizes that are generously supported through an anonymous annual gift.

Jeremy Tucker of Wake County is the 2017 winner of the Maxine Swalin Award for Outstanding Music Educator. This award is named for Maxine Swalin who—together with her husband Dr. Benjamin Swalin, NCS music director from 1939-1972—raised funds to establish the Symphony’s children’s concert division in 1945. Jeremy Tucker is Artistic Director for the Raleigh Boychoir and the Music and Theatre Arts Education Consultant at the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction. In addition, he currently serves as the Boychoir Repertoire and Resource Chair for the North Carolina American Choral Directors Association. Mr. Tucker was a 2015 North Carolina Schools Regional Teacher of the Year, and he remains active in community theater as a music director.

Christine Allen White of Lenoir County is the 2017 winner of the Jackson Parkhurst Award for Special Achievement, named for the Symphony’s former director of education. Mrs. White has served as the music teacher at Banks Elementary School in Kinston, North Carolina, for the past 21 years. In addition to this position, she is the Fine Arts Lead Teacher for Lenoir County Public Schools. During her time with the school system, she has chaired committees for both theSTAGES! Lenoir County Performing Arts Showcase and the Lenoir County All-County Chorus. Mrs. White is chair of the School Improvement Team and is a member of the Digital Learning Team.

David Clark of Chatham County is the winner of the 2017 North Carolina Symphony Musicians Award, which honors emerging music educators with fewer than 10 years of teaching experience. Mr. Clark teaches music and band at Bonlee School in Bear Creek and was the school’s 2016/17 Teacher of the Year. Since joining the faculty, Bonlee music students have achieved a number of “first-for-the-school” accomplishments, including selections to All-County and All-District Bands, selections to UNCG Summer Music Camp, recipients of solos at All-County Chorus, and scores of Excellent and Superior at Solo and Small Ensemble Band Festival in the competitive Central District.

“Excellent North Carolina music educators play a vital role in making it possible for us to carry out our music education mission,” says Sarah Baron, NCS Director of Education. “We are proud to recognize Jeremy, Christine, and David, for their commitment to enhancing their students’ lives through the arts.”

NCS’s extensive music education program serves more than 55,000 students of all ages across the entire state of North Carolina annually. In alignment with the curriculum set by the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction, the Symphony presents full-orchestra Education Concerts for 4th and 5th graders and sends small ensembles into classrooms. Music Discoveryfor preschoolers combines music with storytelling, and at the middle and high school levels, students have opportunities to work directly with NCS artists and perform for NCS audiences through programs such as the Kathleen Price and Joseph M. Bryan Youth Concerto Competition, Ovations pre-concert performances, and master classes with NCS musicians and guest artists.

In addition to the Music Educator Awards, NCS invests in North Carolina music teachers by providing in-classroom resources such as lesson plan guides that prepare students for the Education Concert, aligning with the statewide curriculum. Each August, the Symphony holds a professional development teacher workshop that counts toward teachers’ Continuing Education Unit credit requirement. The 2017 workshop will be held on August 3 at Fletcher Opera Theatre in Raleigh.

About the North Carolina Symphony
Founded in 1932, the North Carolina Symphony (NCS) is a vital and honored component of North Carolina's cultural life. Its 175 concerts and events annually are greeted with enthusiasm by adults and schoolchildren in more than 90 North Carolina counties—in communities large and small, and in concert halls, auditoriums, gymnasiums, restaurants, clubs, and outdoor settings. The Symphony’s 66 full-time professional musicians perform under the artistic leadership of Music Director Grant Llewellyn.

NCS’s state headquarters venue is the spectacular Meymandi Concert Hall at the Duke Energy Center for the Performing Arts in downtown Raleigh. The Symphony’s service across the state includes series in Chapel Hill, Fayetteville, New Bern, Southern Pines, and Wilmington, as well as the Summerfest series at its summer home, the outdoor Koka Booth Amphitheatre in Cary.Collaborating with performers that range from classical artists, to banjo players, to jazz bands,NCS brings some of the world’s greatest talents to North Carolina.Committed to engaging students of all ages across North Carolina, NCS leads the most extensive education program of any U.S. orchestra. In alignment with the curriculum set by the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction, the Symphony provides training and resources for teachers, sends small ensembles into classrooms, and presents full-orchestra Education Concerts experienced by more than 55,000 4th and 5th graders each year. Music Discoveryfor preschoolers combines music with storytelling, and at the middle and high school levels, students have opportunities to work directly with NCS artists and perform for NCS audiences.

NCS is dedicated to giving voice to new art, and has presented 47 U.S. or world premieres in its history. In March 2017, NCS appeared at The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C., as one of four orchestras chosen for the inaugural year ofSHIFT: A Festival of American Orchestras—an honor that recognized the Symphony’s innovative community partnerships and creative programming that inspires increased interest in new music.

The first state-supported symphony in the country, NCS performs under the auspices of the North Carolina Department of Natural and Cultural Resources.

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