Music department named Grammy signature school


Yechan Yang

Music teachers Brad Harris conducts Symphonic Orchestra, setting the tempo of the piece as students follow his lead.

The music department was awarded the title of Grammy Signature School on March 17 for the school’s achievement in the salient quality of its music.

The Grammy Signature School award is given to thirteen schools throughout the nation each year, with the top three placing in the Gold recipient category. This year, Woodbridge High was the top school in the Gold recipient category and was selected as the National Grammy Signature School, winning a $5,000 award.

“When I found out that Woodbridge was the first place recipient of the 2016 National Grammy Signature School, I immediately felt a surge of pride— the surreal sense of empowerment to be a part of one of the nation’s best high school music programs,” sophomore and philharmonic orchestra member Emily Kim said.

For five years, instructors in the music department worked to obtain optimal recordings and consistently made it to semi-finals, but were limited by unfavorable venues for recordings. This year, the music department completed its recording at Northwood High, where the acoustics were more favorable.  

Recordings submitted for examination featured the songs “Masquerade Suite” by Aram Khachaturian, “Redline Tango” by John Mackey, a student’s original composition called “Hill Dance” and many others.

Teachers in the music department plan to use the prize money to enhance the music program by commissioning a piece by a major composer. In addition, the music department will hold a Grammy gala on April 22 to conduct a press conference with district officials and host the yearly swing dance.

The Grammy signature school award was given because of the school’s strong emphasis on student leadership and abundant outside opportunities in the music program.

“I believe we won this award because of our large amount of rehearsal practice and high quality of time spent while practicing,” junior and philharmonic orchestra member Jeffrey Yang said.

After reflecting on the process of achieving the title of Grammy signature school, music teacher Brad Harris explained that the biggest thing he learned was how talented the students in the program are.

“I learned that even though sometimes I’m going, ‘Oh, they have to play this better,’ they are really fine, wonderful musicians all the time,” Harris said.

After pondering the most important quality that was needed for coming to this point, music teacher Joslynne Blasdel explained what the most important quality was.

“Perseverance,” music teacher Joslynne Blasdel said. “You know, we keep teaching what we teach. And you know we keep submitting every year, and we do what we think is good for kids, and this just shows that we are doing the right thing.”