NAfME Honors Seven Distinguished Music Educators and Leaders as 2015 Lowell Mason Fellows

Mike Lawson • ChoralNews • July 22, 2015

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RESTON, VA (July 21, 2015)—On June 25 and 27, the National Association for Music Education (NAfME) honored seven exemplary individuals this year’s Lowell Mason Fellows. This distinction is one of music education’s most important honors, and is designed to recognize the accomplishments of music educators, music education advocates, political leaders, industry professionals, and others who have contributed to music education in their unique way.

The prestigious award is named for Lowell Mason, considered to be the father of public school music education in the United States. He has been credited with introducing music instruction to American public schools in the 19th century, and with establishing teacher training in music education. In 2002, the importance of his contributions to music education inspired NAfME to create the Lowell Mason Fellows award.

Lowell Mason Fellow designations also provide an opportunity to support the efforts of NAfME through the donation made in the honoree’s name. This donation goes to NAfME’s Give a Note Foundation to support future generations of music educators through the organization’s programs. Individuals or groups (corporations, universities, foundations, student organizations, etc.) may fund designations.

Here are the 2015 Lowell Mason Fellows:

  • Henry Leck—An internationally recognized choral director, Henry Leck is professor emeritus and recently retired director of choral activities at Butler University in Indianapolis, Indiana. He is currently the Founder and Artistic Director of the Indianapolis Children’s Choir which is in its 29th season. This organization is one of the largest and most respected children’s choir programs in the world.
  • Marlynn Likens—The Associate Executive Director of NAfME, overseeing Governance and Policy, Marlynn Likens has been an enthusiastic, passionate, and knowledgeable supporter of music education throughout her 36 years of service to NAfME. Her knowledge, empathy, and appreciation of what music educators do in their daily lives as teachers in the classroom, as advocates for music education, and as leaders in the profession has served to promote music education around the country.
  • Mary Luehrsen—Mary Luehrsen is the director of public affairs and government relations for NAMM and executive director of the NAMM Foundation. As a certified music educator, she taught elementary general music and band, and secondary instrumental music for 16 years, managed a professional symphony orchestra and, as an independent consultant, worked with corporate and nonprofit clients in the areas of strategic planning, fundraising, and trustee development.
  • James A. Mason (posthumous)—Dr. James A. Mason is the only national NAfME president from the state of Utah. An accomplished performer, conductor, and internationally recognized music educator, he edited an important Instrumentalist magazine, founded the Utah Valley Symphony Orchestra, and served on several national committees involved in the improvement of music education throughout the nation.
  • Glenn E. Nierman—Glenn Nierman is the current President of NAfME 2014-16. He is currently a member of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln School of Music faculty. He teaches graduate classes in research and curriculum development, as well as a non-major popular music guitar class. His public school teaching experience includes work with middle school general music and choir, as well as high school band and orchestra. Dr. Nierman organized Nebraska’s first Music Mentor Program for beginning music educators and helped to draft legislation debated before the Nebraska Legislature’s Education Committee to promote the need for standards in the arts. He has also spoken on the national level at U.S. congressional briefings about the value and need for quality music education.
  • Steven Schopp—The executive director of the New York State School Music Association, Dr. Schopp is a long-time leader in both NYSSMA and the Eastern Division of NAfME. His teaching career spans 37 years, followed by many years in leadership at NYSSMA/NAfME. His mentorship of music educators is notable as he has helped influence the next generation of music teachers, sharing his experience and expertise.
  • Cecil Wilder—Cecil Wilder is the executive director of the Georgia Music Educators Association. As a respected high school band director, past president of GMEA and now executive director, the impact of music education on students has always been at the forefront. Many of his students have become music educators as well. In addition to teaching and serving in the leadership of GMEA, Mr. Wilder has also been inducted into the National High School Band Directors Hall of Fame and the Zeta Chapter of Phi Beta Mu Georgia Band Masters Hall of Fame, and he received the 2002 GMEA Distinguished Career Award.

Read more about the Lowell Mason Fellows distinction and past recipients of the honor here:

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