Local band director quarterfinalist for national award
The Beloit Memorial High School Band Director, Chris Behrens, was named a quarterfinalist for the 8th Annual National 2021 Music Educator Award.
The award is presented by the Recording Academy and Grammy Museum, according to the School District of Beloit on Thursday.
The honor was established to recognize current educators who have made a significant and lasting contribution to the field of music education and who demonstrate a commitment to the broader cause of maintaining music education in the schools, according to the school district.
“This is a remarkable honor for Mr. Behrens. He is so deserving of this recognition,” School District of Beloit Interim Superintendent Sue Green said. “He is so passionate about his work with his students; he sets the bar very high for himself, his students and our District."
Several of Behrens students were contacted to share their thoughts on his recognition and were happy to respond.
“The music program at Beloit Memorial has built a great reputation not only in Beloit, but across the country thanks to Mr. Behrens’ dedication,” Kai Wong, sophomore at Beloit Memorial High School said. “The music program has and continues to have a positive impact on Beloit. I never really thought I'd get so deeply interested in something like I did with jazz this year. I can’t thank Mr. Behrens enough for helping teach me this incredible music.”
Beloit Memorial High School senior Piper Mitchell agrees with Wong.
“As a member of Beloit Memorial Jazz Orchestra, I can say that we have accomplished and experienced so much as a band under the direction of Mr. Behrens,” Mitchell said. “He sacrifices a lot of his personal time, including many times throughout the year when he spends his entire weekend taking us to competitions and festivals that expose us to the talents of our peer musicians, gives us feedback from other musical professionals, and provides us opportunities to play to the next level."
Beloit Memorial High School senior Jack Johnson also spoke highly of his music educator.
“Mr. Behrens is an inspirational leader for all the musicians he instructs. Leading our band as a national finalist nine out of the last 10 years is an exceptional accomplishment. So, it comes to no surprise that he has received this recognition,” shared Beloit Memorial High School senior Jack Johnson. “As a member of the Beloit Memorial Jazz program, I have learned the value of work, the value of friendship and unity, the value of aspiring to goals, and have found a lifelong passion.”
Nine additional finalists will receive a $1,000 honorarium, and the schools of all 10 finalists will receive matching grants. Fifteen semifinalists will receive a $500 honorarium with matching school grants.