2016-12-19 / Front Page

BMS teacher honored as music educator of the year

By ALAN BENNETT
Staff Writer

BIDDEFORD — A Biddeford Middle School music teacher has been honored as the 2016 national music educator of the year.

Out of more than 2,000 nominees nationwide, BMS instrumental music instructor Amy Delorge was awarded the distinction, sponsored by national music supply store chain Music & Arts, at the Midwest Band Clinic conference in Chicago on Thursday.

“I'm feeling tremendously humbled,” Delorge said in an email Saturday. “I'm grateful to work in the profession of music education where I love my work and there is always more to learn.”

Every year, Music & Arts recognizes a music educator as the year’s winner for outstanding commitment to and achievement in music education. Nominated educators are judged based on measurable program growth, strong leadership and influence and impact on the surrounding community.

Delorge, who has a bachelor’s degree in music education from the University of Massachusetts Amherst and a master’s in social work from Boston College, was announced as one of 25 semi-finalists for the award in November, and was the only one of 11 Maine nominees to advance to the semi-final round.

Educators across the country were nominated by their school departments, and Delorge said when she received an email that she was a semi-finalist, she didn’t believe it was real.

“I had to read it a few times because it just didn’t seem real,” she said in November. “It was very exciting and I never expected anything like that to occur, and it felt a little bit unreal to have my work validated.”

Amy Delorge stands with her award for Music Educator of the Year at the Midwest Band Clinic conference in Chicago. SUBMITTED PHOTO/Courtesy of Ann Ittoop Amy Delorge stands with her award for Music Educator of the Year at the Midwest Band Clinic conference in Chicago. SUBMITTED PHOTO/Courtesy of Ann Ittoop

Last week, Delorge traveled to Chicago for the conference, which included clinics, concerts and exhibitions where she spoke with composers and instrument manufacturers. The conference, “strengthens international music education through extensive professional development opportunities with colleagues from throughout the world,” Delorge said. 

The event hosted more than 300 music educators from across the country at the Palmer House Hilton hotel. 

When asked how her time went, she responded simply with, “Amazing.”

Among the highlights of her trip, Delorge said, were hearing performances by the Tokyo Geidai Wind Orchestra and the President's Own Marine Band.

“There are no adequate words to describe the artistry, skill and beauty of attending live performance by these ensembles,” she said.

She also said it was both enlightening and inspiring to interact with like-minded individuals from across the nation. She was treated to lunch with Lt. Col. Jason Fettig, director of the President's Own Marine Band, with whom she grew up in Manchester, New Hampshire and whom, she joked, she taught clarinet at summer band camp.

Delorge went on to thank the Biddeford School Department for the opportunity, and for its continued support of instrumental music education.

“I would like to applaud our administration for recognizing the tremendous value in arts education for our students and community,” she said.

She also thanked Music & Arts for the honor and distinction.

“The validation, recognition, and celebration of my hard work with this award is something for which I am extremely grateful and honored,” she said of the company.

But Delorge also thanked her students and their families — the ones who she sees every day and who drive her passion for teaching.

“I believe they're the best kids and I appreciate and love them.” she said. “I hope my community will continue to celebrate the deep value in music education and  the importance of studying music.”

She also said she hopes her honor will inspire students to pursue excellence. In November, Delorge described her teaching style as encouraging — to make mistakes, but also to excel.

“I hope students will be inspired to work hard, strive for excellence and always do their best in everything they do,” she said Saturday. “Perseverance and growth isn't glamorous; it takes a long while to develop and sometimes it's really hard, but with a growth mindset, I know you can accomplish great things.”

— Staff Writer Alan Bennett can be contacted at 282-1535, ext. 329 or abennett@journaltribune.com. 

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