Annual CSO Music Educator Awards

Music Educator Awards

presented by american electric power
sponsored by Kim & Judith Swanson

Established in 1997, the Columbus Symphony’s Music Educator Awards recognize those individuals who instill and inspire a love of music in the children and adults of Central Ohio. The purpose of these annual awards is to promote a greater understanding of and appreciation for music education, as well as to honor those individuals who are making a real difference in our community through their dedication to music education. One award is honored in each of the following categories:

                    Elementary Music Educator          Secondary Music Educator           Community Music Educator

Each Music Educator Award winner receives a monetary grant to be spent at their direction for a broad range of music education endeavors, such as purchasing music, instrument repair, or professional development classes for the educator. For additional information, please call (614) 221-4916.

The winners of the 2017 CSO Music Educator Awards are:

Elementary Award - Cynthia Bush, Columbus Academy
Secondary Award - Bruce Carlson, Dominion MS, Columbus City Schools
Community Award - Tatiana Kats, Columbus International Children's Choir

They will receive their awards at a dinner in their honor on Saturday, April 22, 2017. To attend, please contact the CSO education department at 614-221-4916.

To see a list of past award recipients, click here.


2016 Music Educator Award winners:

Elementary Education
Randy Frazier
General Music, choir & drama director
St. Matthew School, Diocese of Columbus
Randy Frazier teaches at St. Matthew School in Gahanna where he teaches over 600 students in grades kindergarten to 8th grade. He believes that all students should have the opportunity to display their talents. Randy is known to have the patience of a saint. He respects his students, has high expectations, and uses positive feedback to inspire them to do their best. His dedication to instilling a love for music and performing is unmatched. The St. Matthew community believes they are blessed to have a music teacher who truly wants to make a difference in the lives of his students and is willing to do whatever it takes to provide numberous opportunities for them to experience music and the arts.
Secondary Education
Marc Zirille
Director of Bands
Olentangy Orange HS, Olentangy Local Schools
Marc Zirille is described as a  motivator, an innovator, a visionary, forward-thinking and empowering. In his 8 year tenure with Olentangy Orange, his marching band has grown from 60 students to over 230 and they have performed at events from Indianapolis, Cleveland and Circleville to Atlanta and Chicago. His bands consistently receive high marks at adjudicated events and many of his students are selected each year to perform in OMEA Honors Bands. Marc's influence reaches beyond his students to colleagues, school and community as he continually challenges his students to improve as musicians, but more importantly, as responsible citizens who give back to their community in a positive way.
Community Educator
Betty Hill
Unifed arts coordinator
columbus city schools

Betty Hill coordinates the arts programs for all Columbus City Schools students after serving nearly 20 years as a vocal music teacher in the district. She diligently promotes programs and opportunities for the students to develop as young people and young musicians and finds ways for them to showcase their talents. Supporters write that "from the very beginning, Betty connected with her students, fostering an appreciation for music, ensuring students became skilled in techniques, and most importantly, teaching them to believe in themselves. Betty shows students how music can change a moment, create a memory and transform a life.

The recipients of the 2016 Music Educator Awards were honored in April on the Ohio Theatre stage preceding the Columbus Symphony concert. CSO Vice President and COO, Julianne Fish served as emcee for the event. The Music Educator Awards are made possible through the generous support of  American Electric Power and Kim & Judith Swanson with additional support from Frank & Linda Kass and John & Christine Willig.

Other nominees included Dulcy Delcamp (Upper Arlington Schools), Holly Ekkens (Columbus City Schools), Cheryl Horn (Northridge Local Schools), Eryn Sandhage (Columbus City Schools), Bruce Carlson (Columbus City Schools), Jim Gray (Dublin Schools); Josh Reynolds (Columbus City Schools), Jessica Sneeringer (Columbus Academy), Annie Spain (Dublin Schools), Tatiana Kats (Columbus Music & Art Academy), Kathy Larkins (director, Columbus Chorus Sweet Adelines), Karla M. Wright (director, German Village Singers) and Alexandra Vargo, private teacher.

Who should be nominated for CSO Music Educator awards?

Nominees should be Music Educators in the Central Ohio region who:

  • Make a lasting difference in the lives of students of all abilities and backgrounds.
  • Routinely go "above and beyond the call of duty by extending efforts beyond the classroom.
  • Make a significant impact on their community through music education.
  • Instill a life-long appreciation of music in their students.
  • Inspire students to reach appropriately high levels of musical understanding and ability.
  • Demonstrate longevity in the field of music education by their many years of work