Pioneer High wins Grammy gold, earns $5,000 award

Pioneer High School was lauded this week for having one of the top school music programs in the country when the Grammy Foundation selected it as a Grammy Signature Gold School, one of only two in the nation to receive the award.

The group announced Pioneer’s honor as part of its annual “Grammy Signature Schools”  program. A total of 12 schools across the nation were honored through the program, with cash awards from $1,000 to $5,000 each.

With the Pioneer award, the foundation has placed the music department as one of the three finest music departments in the nation, said Pioneer Performing Arts Department Chairman and band director David Leach. The award includes a grant of $5,000 to be used to benefit the Pioneer music program. This is Pioneer’s fourth Grammy award.

Leach applauded the Pioneer Music Department staff which includes: choir director Kenneth Westerman; orchestra director Jonathan Glawe;  Nancy Waring, associate director of bands, assistant director of the symphony orchestra and Theory and Technology instructor; piano and guitar instructor  Rochelle Martinez-Mouilleseaux; and voice instructor Gretchen Suhre.

“You are all the best,” Leach said.

Created in 1998, the Grammy Signature Schools program recognizes top U.S. public high schools that are making an outstanding commitment to music education during an academic school year.

“Our commitment to fostering and rewarding excellence in music education at public high schools around the country has never been more important,” said Neil Portnow, president and CEO of The Recording Academy and the Grammy Foundation. “Throughout the academic year, these schools and their teachers work to share the positive power of music with their students. The resources we provide … strengthen their efforts.”

The selection process begins each fall, when schools apply to be considered. After finalists are identified, they are asked to submit additional documentation, such as recordings of school concerts, sample concert programs and repertoire, which is then reviewed by an independent screening committee to determine the schools that merit Signature School status.

To view more achievements around The Ann Arbor Public Schools, see “This Week” from the Superintendent’s office.

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