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Martinez honored by NAfME and Barbershop Harmony Society

"My students amaze, humble, and most of all, TEACH me every single day"

In recognition of her excellence in teaching and impact on young singers, Dr. Misty Martinez of Cocoa High School, Cocoa, Florida, has been named the 2020 recipient of the Music Educator Award by the Barbershop Harmony Society and NAfME, The National Association for Music Education.

Martinez BHS NAFME presentation

The award was presented January 10, 2020 during the Next Generation Junior Barbershop Chorus Festival at the Midwinter Convention of the Barbershop Harmony Society in Jacksonville, Florida.

The BHS/NAfME 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.”

Dr. Martinez richly fulfills that aspiration. In 2015, Misty came to Cocoa High School, whose students often face economic and academic challenges. Throughout the preceding three decades, music programs had struggled, in part by loading orchestra, band, and choral programs on a single educator -- usually a band specialist. Under her leadership, choral participation grew from 71 to more than 150 singers, and embarked on a trajectory of excellence that has led Superior rankings in state festivals, performances at state music education conventions, and appearances at elite venues such as the Walt Disney World Candlelight Processional and the Carnegie Hall 9/11 Commemoration Fall Sing -- the only school in Florida to be invited. Misty led the effort to raise more than $85,000 to provide this opportunity to her students, largely through community performances.

Most importantly, Martinez inspires students to new levels of personal growth. “She provides clothing, food, and transportation for her students, as well as the social-emotional support they need to be successful,” says a colleague. “She sets high expectations for her students, and they never fail to rise above the expectations set.” Commendations from her students overflow with admiration and love: “In addition to being an inspiration, she has shaped me into the musician that I am today. Only through her guidance was I able to get a full ride scholarship at Palm Beach Atlantic University for vocal performance,” writes another.

“I love what I do. My students amaze, humble, and most of all, TEACH me every single day," says Martinez. "God has also placed people in my life, like you, who introduce and teach me something completely new and inspire me to want MORE for myself as well as my students.”

"Dr. Martinez is an incredibly deserving candidate," says Joe Cerutti, BHS Director of Outreach. "She's a truly dedicated and thoughtful educator who is having a profoundly positive impact on a disadvantaged community that has been transformed through the involvement of barbershop harmony in her program and collaboration and support from her local barbershop community. Her ability to improve the lives of her students is recognized far beyond the walls of her choir room; it reaches the homes and families of her students and the entire Cocoa community."

Dr. Martinez holds a Bachelor of Music education degree from Angelo State University (San Angelo,Texas); Master of Music in Opera Performance from Florida State University (Tallahassee, Florida); and Doctor of Ministry of Music from Covington Theological Seminary (Ft. Oglethorpe, Georgia.)

About BHS
The Barbershop Harmony Society is a leader in community singing and adult music education, with more than 20,000 members across North America; allied men’s and women’s organizations in more than a dozen countries bring the total number of active singers to more than 70,000 worldwide. Through active programs in music education, publishing, performance and outreach, the Society preserves and extends the reach of a uniquely American close harmony musical art form whose roots lie in African-American improvisation and European harmony traditions. Founded in 1938, the Society now expends nearly $1 million annually in support of community and school programs that bring the fellowship, fulfillment and excitement of vocal music to a new generation of singers. Follow the Barbershop Harmony Society on Twitter @barbershopnews and on Facebook (facebook.com/barbershopharmonysociety)
For additional information, contact Brian Lynch, blynch@barbershop.org or 615-673- 4131.

About NAfME
The National Association for Music Education, among the world’s largest arts education organizations, is the only association that addresses all aspects of music education. NAfME advocates at the local, state, and national levels; provides resources for teachers, parents, and administrators; hosts professional development events; and offers a variety of opportunities for students and teachers. The Association orchestrates success for millions of students nationwide and has supported music educators at all teaching levels for more than a century. With more than 130,000 members, the organization is the voice of music education in the United States.
Follow NAfME on Twitter (@nafme) and on Facebook (facebook.com/nafme)

See Misty's Choirs