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Northwood band director receives national award

By Beth Snider
Posted Sunday, January 23, 2005

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Eugene Cottrell, Director of Bands at Northwood High School in Pittsboro, is one of five nationwide instrumental music educators announced as 2005 Mr. Holland's Opus Foundation Award recipients.

“A national award like this one is an honor for Mr. Cottrell, our band program, and Northwood High School. It's encouraging to see educators recognized for their commitment to their students and subject areas. We are fortunate to have excellent teachers like Mr. Cottrell on our Northwood staff,” said Joel County, Northwood Principal.

The Foundation will present the recipients with $10,000 checks for personal use at a third annual ceremony on April 1 at Carnegie Hall in New York City. The award recognizes music teachers who best emulate the personal characteristics and dedication of "Mr. Holland," portrayed by Richard Dreyfuss in the hit 1995 movie. The awards will be presented during a special concert saluting composer Jerome Kern, performed by the New York Pops and conducted by Skitch Henderson. The awards are sponsored by retail music store Guitar Center, Inc.

This year's awards will be dedicated to the memory of Grammy-winning composer and Mr. Holland's Opus Foundation founder Michael Kamen, who passed away in November 2003.

"Michael's death was a tremendous loss, but we are resolved to continue his work and provide support to music programs in schools across the country,” said Felice Mancini, executive director of The Mr. Holland's Opus Foundation and daughter of legendary composer Henry Mancini. “These awards are all about thanking our nation's dedicated music, and to help raise awareness of the importance of music education.”

This year's award recipients are:
o Eugene Cottrell, Northwood High, Pittsboro, NC
o Suann Degenhardt, Norwalk-Ontario-Wilton Brookwood, Ontario, WI
o Keely Gould, Warwick Valley Middle School, Warwick, NY
o Stephen Pelkey, Clardy Elementary, Kansas City, MO
o Victoria Zieber, Main Street Middle School, Soledad CA

"Teachers like these provide inspiration to our children,” said Marty Albertson, CEO of Guitar Center. “Their unselfish dedication needs to be recognized and rewarded, and we need to encourage others to follow in their footsteps to help shape the future of our society."

Criteria for the selection of the winners, which was done by a special selection committee formed by the Foundation, includes:
o Instill a love of music in their students through instrumental music instruction in grades K-12
o Have the passion, dedication and leadership skills to persevere under difficult circumstances
o Give generously of their time, energy and talent, exceeding what is expected of music educators
o Demonstrate creativity regardless of availability of instruments, materials, classroom space and budget limitations
o Inspire students and challenge them to attain the highest level of musicianship
o Encourage musical growth through ongoing individual and group performance, auditions and evaluations

The Mr. Holland's Opus Foundation supports music education and its many benefits through the donation and repair of musical instruments to underserved schools, community music programs and individual students nationwide. In the last seven years, new and refurbished instruments with a value of $5 million have been donated to 581 school and community music programs across the country.

Cottrell was surprised to learn that he had received the award when he was notified by the Foundation in January. The Northwood Band received a percussion instrument through Foundation funding in the fall. At that time, a Foundation representative came to Northwood to observe Cottrell and the band program. The individual award consideration for Cottrell followed. 500 bands/orchestras nationwide applied for the funding the Charger band received. The band was one of 100 bands to be recognized by the foundation for its outstanding program. Cottrell is one of five directors to be chosen as an individual award recipient from those 100 directors.

“It has always been my opinion that Eugene Cottrell is an educator among educators. I have had the distinct honor of working with him since he came to Northwood. It has been astounding to watch the transformation of the NHS Band Program under his direction. The education that our band students receive far surpasses NC Standard Course of Study. Our band students understand the rewards of hard work, discipline, and unity. These students take pride in their efforts and understand the meaning as well as the responsibility that comes with being a winner. These attributes are not only taught by Eugene Cottrell, but they are exemplified in all that he does. Northwood High School is a better school because he is here,” said Amy Salter, Arts Education Departmental Chairperson at Northwood.

 
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Northwood band director receives national award

Related info:
Mr. Holland's Opus Foundation
 
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