By Minal Singh
Northwest Asian Weekly
The Grammy Foundation has recognized Jared Cassedy for his contributions to<!–more–> music in the classroom. He is the music teacher of the year. There were over 7,000 submissions and more than 200 nominees.
This is the second year that the award has been given. This year, New Hampshire’s Windham High School is the lucky recipient of the award thanks to their very own Cassedy.
When Windham High School opened in New Hampshire, six years ago, Jared Cassedy was hired to lead the music program. His students quickly named him the “Energizer bunny,” according to CBS News.
“I talk fast. Believe it or not, I am a lot calmer than I was ten years ago, when I started. I have so much going on in my head. I get so excited. I love especially when I talk about music and my students. I’m so passionate about it,” said Cassedy.
Cassedy’s passion has spread to his students.
Cierra Cowan, who plays bassoon in the school band, said “We’re getting so much done and we’re working so hard. Yet, it feels like we’re having the best times of our lives doing it.”
“He constantly tells us, ‘I don’t see you as high school musicians. You are high quality professional musicians to me.’ And he’s the kind of person you want to meet those expectations and it makes it incredibly exhilarating when you can,” clarinetist Jillian DiPersio said.
“It becomes something you want to do, because you want to impress him. You do it for him really,” tuba player Adam Consentino said.
Cassedy’s love of music comes from his family. In his own high school band, Cassedy played the clarinet. However, Cassedy doesn’t believe in auditions: anyone is allowed to join his band. Out of a school of a thousand students, almost 90 are in the band (almost one in ten students).
“One of my biggest beliefs in music education is I want to provide access to all students,” Cassedy said.
After winning the World Strides Heritage Festival two years in a row, the band at Windham High School was invited to play at Carnegie Hall.
A former student, Tim Raymond, and his mother who wrote the letter to the Grammy committee:
“I couldn’t think of anyone more deserving of the honor,” Raymond said “I learned music lessons. I learned life lessons. He was one of my biggest mentors.”
Upon hearing the news, Cassedy was shocked.
“It’s a wonderful recognition. I see it more as a recognition of the students,” Cassedy said. “Without the students coming back every single day, giving it 110 percent. Their lips are falling off, and exhausted and they’re studying for midterm exams and they have a lot of pressure on them but they’re the ones. I could be up there waving my arms around, but they’re the ones making the music.” (end)
Minal Singh can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.