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-one 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 — Susan Curro, Kathleen 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.
Guilderland was a semi-finalist for 2012. “Unfortunately, we didn’t get any money out of it,” said Lori Hershenhart, the district’s music supervisor, this week.
Within the next two weeks, the department will submit a repertoire online of performances from last January through this December, she said. A compact disc, which runs just one minute and 15 seconds, will also be compiled with brief excerpts of various types of music performed by a range of Guilderland groups including orchestra, band, and choir ensembles.
“I hope we get into that final select group,” said Hershenhart. “they only pick a few each year. We do hope to get the money.”
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,” Hershenhart 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 told The Enterprise of applying in 2009. “We’re always looking to grow forward,” said Hershenhart.
— Melissa Hale-Spencer