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2019 BHS/NAfME Music Educator Award Announced

Lori Lyford to receive special recognition from National Association for Music Education and Barbershop Harmony Society

In recognition of her excellence in teaching, performance and lifelong impact on young singers, Lori Lyford of Chandler High School, Chandler, Arizona, has been named the 2019 recipient of the Barbershop Harmony Society/NAfME Music Educator Award.

The award was presented January 25, 2019 during the Next Generation Junior Barbershop Chorus Festival at the Midwinter Convention of the Barbershop Harmony Society at Nashville’s Grand Ole Opry House.

The NAfME/BHS award honors educators “who give students the opportunity to learn and participate in the joy and power that music education brings in uplifting the human spirit and fostering the well being of society.”

“You have been a shining light in Chandler, for what music can mean for people’s lives, and for the communities it can build,” said Director of Outreach Joe Cerutti in delivering the happy news to Lyford in front of her students.

In nomination for this award, Lori was acclaimed for touching the the lives of thousands of students during her 41 year career as a public school music teacher: “She asks her students to operate under three simple rules in her classroom: Be Respectful, Be Courageous, and Be a Family. Lori wants her classroom to be a safe place where students can risk enough to build their courage, trust enough to build their bonds with each other, and challenge themselves to grow, even if they aren’t successful right away.” A parent described her impact: “Ms. Lyford has taken a shy boy who used be a hermit in his room and changed him into an outgoing young man that enjoys spending time with both friends and family. She has truly brought him out of his shell.”

Now in her eleventh year at Chandler High School, her school ensembles The Treblemakers (women’s barbershop chorus), Chandler Men’s Chorus, and The Chorale (combined mixed chorus) have been honored multiple times in barbershop festivals presented by the Barbershop Harmony Society and by Sweet Adelines International.

Lyford’s many honors as an educator include being named an Ambassador of Excellence (one of the Top 5 Teachers in Arizona) by the Arizona Educational Foundation. A world-renowned coach and director, she has led the Scottsdale Chorus to four of its six Sweet Adelines International championships.

Lori earned a Bachelor’s degree from Whitworth College (Spokane, Washington) with a double major in Voice Performance and K-12 Music Education, and her Master’s degree from Northern Arizona University in Educational Psychology.


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