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Guilderland Archives — The Altamont Enterprise, December 15, 2011

GHS named a 2012 Grammy Signature semi-finalist

GUILDERLAND — Guilderland High School has once again been recognized as a Grammy Signature School semi-finalist, based upon the quality and caliber of the music-education program in the school.

As the Grammy Award, originally named the Gramophone Award, signifies excellence in recording, the Signature Schools award is designed to honor exceptional public high school music programs. Twenty New York high schools were recognized this year among the top 125 high schools in the nation.

Semi-finalists are invited to submit recorded performances and repertoire lists. The high school music faculty—Nancy Casellini, Kathy Ehlinger, Jeff Herchenroder, Lee Russo, and Rae Jean Teeter— will decide on the recorded submissions.

The 100 public high schools with the best music programs in the country will be recognized as Grammy finalists.  Guilderland made it to the top 100 in 2005, in 2007, and in 2009.

The top schools receive grants between $1,000 and $10,000, and the very top finalists have Grammy Award-winning performers come to their schools.

The screening, based in Santa Monica, Calif., is done by leading music educators and industry professionals; they announce the winners in January.

“They do a blind listening,” Lori Hershenhart, the district’s music supervisor, said earlier, meaning the judges don’t know, when they listen to CDs of performances from various schools, which school it is.

“They are marvelous musicians in their own right and have a critical ear,” she said.

Hershenhart noted that the music program at Guilderland begins in the earliest grades and builds through the middle school and high school.

School concerts, all of which are free and open to the public, are recorded.

“It’s a reflective process,” Hershenhart said of applying for a Grammy Signature award. The reflection is good for the program, she said told The Enterprise of applying in 2009. “We’re always looking to grow forward,” said Hershenhart.

— Melissa Hale-Spencer

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