Friday, August 21, 2020 - 8:52 am

The MHS non-ensemble music curriculum team has been selected as the recipient of the 2020 Wisconsin Music Educators Association Melvin F. Pontious Creative Sparks Award.

Each year the WMEA recognizes music programs around the state that foster imaginative, creative and innovative teaching practices in music education. The award was established in 2013.

Former MHS band teacher Brad Schneider, who retired in June 2017, nominated the MHS music team for the award, while Jeff Kenas, an associate principal at MHS who left after the 2019-20 school year become a principal in Waunakee, and District parent Margo Hoover-Regan submitted additional letters of support.

"The WMEA officers who made up the selection committee for this award were inspired by challenging curricular offerings that provide opportunities for students who may not have otherwise engaged in music offerings (at MHS),'' WMEA president Paul Buddle said in a statement.

The MHS music department is made up of Doug Brown, Steve Kurr, Jamie Pitt, Eric Rothacker, Sarah Stine, and Mike Ver Voort.

"Non-sembles" are the courses in the Music Department that are not band, orchestra, or choir and include courses such as HipHop Evolution, Digital Music Production, Music for Diverse Learners, Music Workshop, and Advanced Music/AP Music Theory pair with the traditional large ensembles to make a relevant and diverse curriculum for all students at MHS, Kurr noted.

This year's award will be highlighted as part of the Wisconsin State Virtual Music Conference during the week of Oct. 25-31. More information about the conference will be announced soon.

Pontious, who retired from the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction in 2011, championed creative and innovative approaches to music education in Wisconsin. He also lived in the District until recently, Kurr noted.

Visit the Wisconsin Music Educators Association website to learn more.