The Intangible Benefits of the Awards Ceremony

Much has been said about the place of competitions as related to music ensembles and the perceived benefits or educational approach to such an event. Regardless of philosophical stance, an awards ceremony can be a fun and rewarding culminating event for a performance festival experience.

If you’ve been to a Festivals of Music awards ceremony, you already know that it is an opportunity to celebrate the achievements of all of the participants and to say “thank you” to the directors and student performers for their hard work and dedication to pursuing excellence in music education. It is also our way of thanking the parents, administrators, and travel professionals for supporting the endeavors of these young musicians by providing the opportunity to participate in our programs. Our approach is much more focused on achievement set against a standard of performance quality, rather than “who scored higher than whom” and gets bragging rights.

One of our signature awards in fact has nothing to do with points on a judge’s sheet or even music notes on a page. The Dr. Tim Lautzenheiser Esprit de Corps Award is given to the group that exhibits the best example of camaraderie, support and enthusiasm for other groups, and positive representation of their school and community. It tends to be the award that generates the most excitement at our awards ceremonies, and is always presented last.

Aside from the ceremony itself, in recent years we have upgraded many of our awards ceremony sites to provide additional benefit by holding the event at locations unique to the host city that have historic or educational significance. This is coupled with added value of cost and time, given that the sites are typical “must see” places on most itineraries. For example:

  •  In Boston, our site celebrates a favorite son of the city and the 35th President of the United States. The John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum holds a tremendous collection of artifacts and tells the story of his life and presidency.
  •  In Chicago, the Museum of Science and Industry has a wide range of exhibits that touches upon many areas of science, history, and culture. It is a popular location in a city with some of the best museums in the world.
  •  In New Orleans, in a nod to their role in the manufacture of D-Day landing craft and to hometown author Stephen Ambrose, the National World War II Museum both outlines the course of the war and pays touching tribute to the Greatest Generation who lived it.
  •  In New York, history and science combine in the Intrepid Air, Sea, and Space Museum. Housed on a decommissioned aircraft carrier, students can learn both the incredible history of the ship and see the wide ranging aircraft on display…from World War II and Vietnam era fighter craft to a Concorde SST airliner and beyond. There is extra “wow” factor this year as we’ll be holding the ceremony in the Space Shuttle Pavilion…literally handing out awards underneath the space shuttle Enterprise.
  • In Philadelphia, the birth of the United States is featured at the National Constitution Center. A highlight of the visit is a multimedia presentation titled Freedom Rising, telling the story of our Founding Fathers and quest to form “a more perfect union.”
  • Washington, D.C. is a city known for museums, and one of the newest is the Newseum. Dedicated to journalism and preservation of freedom of the press, the museum is a treasure trove of artifacts and stories that show how reporting the news has been key to knowing and understanding our history.

These cross-curricular opportunities can help directors more easily justify approval of their plans, combining their music events with experiences that touch on subjects of science, history, and civics…perhaps helping “keep the peace” with their fellow teachers whose students they are taking out of the classroom for a few days for a music-oriented tour.

This is one of many ways we seek to provide you more value and benefit as part of your Festivals of Music experience. Don’t miss out on these incredible locations!

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