It is often said not all heroes wear capes, and that certainly rings true for some students at Arvada West High School — 340 choir students to be exact.
Their hero comes in the form of Chris Maunu, the school’s longtime head choral director — tall, blond and sharing a passion for music.
Maunu is celebrating his 12th year at the Arvada high school, and the school is celebrating him for a prestigious, recent achievement.
Maunu was named one of 25 semi-finalists from across the country for the 2018 Grammy Music Educator Award. This award, courtesy of the Grammy in the Schools program, honors the idea that behind every musician who is handed a Grammy for their achievements in the industry stands a music teacher who helped them get there.
“What’s so cool about it is everybody on that stage (at the Grammy ceremony) was inspired by somebody along the lines. It’s so great that the Grammys brings music education to the national stage,” Maunu said.
Maunu is one of only two music teachers in this year’s lineup from Colorado. (The other Colorado nominee is Kate Margrave, who teaches at Pine Creek High School in Colorado Springs.) Nominees are selected from schools across the U.S., kindergarten to college, private and public.
Ten finalists will be selected in December, and the winner will be named in January. The grand prize includes $10,000 for the winning teacher’s school, $10,000 for personal use and a trip to New York to attend the 60th Grammy Awards ceremony. Each semi-finalist receives a $500 honorarium, and the other nine finalists will receive $1,000 each.
Staff members and students at Arvada West can’t think of any reason Maunu doesn’t deserve the grand prize.
“I can’t imagine anybody being better than this around the U.S. We’re just so lucky to have him,” said senior Victoria McCollum, who has been one of Maunu’s students since her freshman year. She spends as much time in the choir room as her schedule will allow, often seeing Maunu for a few classes a day.
Principal Robert Bishop said he realized just how gifted his choral director is after witnessing the school’s mixed ensemble vocal showcase choir perform in Minnesota this year at the national American Choral Directors Association showcase — which Maunu describes as the most prestigious choir event in the U.S. The students sang next to choirs from around the world, including Europe, Asia …read more
Source:: The Denver Post – News