Two of 10 national finalists for the 2017 Music Educator Award are from Orange County

Two local music teachers are in very select company this week, earning their way onto a list of 10 national finalists for a highly distinguished award presented by The Recording Academy and the Grammy Foundation.

Keith Hancock of Tesoro High School in the Capistrano Unified School District and Henry Miller from Sierra Vista Middle School in the Irvine Unified School District are each in the running for the 2017 Music Educator Award, set to be announced in February.

Music Educator AwardThe winner will be flown out to Los Angeles — or perhaps driven up from OC? — to receive recognition and a $10,000 honorarium. He or she will also get to attend the 59th annual Grammy Awards ceremony, as well as a number of other Grammy-related events.

Rubbing elbows with Beyoncé, Drake and Adele would be a pretty big deal, but just making it into the top 10 is an extraordinary feat. More than 3,300 nominations were submitted from all 50 states, and 290 were later announced as quarterfinalists. The list was trimmed to 25 semifinalists in October.

At the very least, the 10 finalists will walk away with a $1,000 honorarium, and their schools will each receive matching grants.

“We are proud of the caliber of music education our teachers provide for Orange County students,” said Dennis Cole, OCDE’s director of humanities. “To have two of the 10 top teachers nationally is one more example of how our students are prepared to be the most successful in the country.”

“Mr. Miller and Mr. Hancock exemplify the best of the best in music education,” added Steve Venz, OCDE’s visual and performing arts coordinator. “They have significantly impacted the lives of many students by contributing to their school communities and their profession. We are thrilled to celebrate with the students, families, and staff of Sierra Vista Middle School and Tesoro High School this national recognition by the Grammy Foundation of these two outstanding educators.”

The Music Educator Award was established to recognize educators at all levels who have made a lasting and significant contribution to the field of music education while demonstrating a commitment to maintaining music education in school. The award grants are made possible by such sponsors as Converse, Disney Performing Arts, Ford Motor Company Fund and Journeys. In addition, the American Choral Directors Association, National Association for Music Education, NAMM Foundation and National Education Association support the program through outreach.

CBS This Morning had a brief segment on the announcement this week, featuring images of Hancock, Miller and the other finalists. You can check it out here.