In recognition of more than 20 years of supporting music education in Medfield Public Schools, Superintendent Robert Maguire was honored with the prestigious Music Advocate Award from the Massachusetts Music Educators Association (MMEA) at its annual conference in Boston today, Feb. 28.
Medfield Music Director Doug Olsen nominated Maguire for the award.
“In 1991, the year Bob was hired as high school principal, the Medfield music program was in shambles. Lack of a department head, and budget and staffing cuts had pushed much of the instrumental music classes out of the school day. Enrollment in our ensembles was at an all-time low -- the high school band had just five students, and only 15 students in grades 5 through 12 were in Orchestra,” said Olsen.
Today, thanks to Maguire’s leadership and commitment as both high school principal for eight years, then 14 years as superintendent, participation in the Medfield Music Program has increased exponentially with more than 800 students enrolled in band, orchestra, chorus or other music studies at Dale Street, Blake Middle School, and Medfield High School.
During Maguire’s tenure, the Medfield Music Program has also earned more than 300 awards over the years. Those awards include gold medals for Concert Band, Jazz Band, String Orchestra, Concert Choir, and the Blake Concert Band and Wind Ensemble at the Massachusetts Instrumental & Choral Conductors Association (MICCA) annual festival.
In addition, the Medfield High School Jazz Band has earned prestigious spots at highly-competitive national jazz festivals in New York City, taking home soloist awards from Essentially Ellington at Lincoln Center last year, and the top “Big Band” award at the Mingus Festival in 2011.
“We could not have achieved this level of excellence without a superintendent who cares about creating and sustaining a high-quality music program,” Olsen said.
“From putting music classes back into the school day, to increasing the department budget, and ensuring sufficient staffing over the years, Bob Maguire’s commitment to the music program has been critical to our long-term success. I can think of no better way to recognize his accomplishments than with the Music Advocate award," Olsen said.
Maguire says he is honored to have been selected for the award.
"Our program has come a long way since I first joined the school system, and as I prepare to retire this year, I’m especially proud of where it is today," said Maguire. "Our music program has contributed greatly to the vitality and excellence of the entire Medfield school system, and as an administrator here for the past 22 years, it’s been wonderful to play a role in its success.”
The MMEA is comprised of 1,700 music educators across Massachusetts, and is an official affiliate of the National Association for Music Educators.
According to the MMEA, the annual Music Advocate Award is given to an individual, organization, or community leader who exemplifies the organization’s mission of demonstrating advocacy for music education in Massachusetts schools.
The advocate’s work is demonstrated through a financial commitment to music education, and actions that have led to improvements in curriculum, budget, or enrollment in the music program.
The Music Advocate Award is one of several presented each year at the “All-State” Conference and Festival held in Boston. Students from across the state who audition and are selected for the All-State Festival are also invited to attend the conference, and perform at Boston Symphony Hall.
Medfield has three students who made it into this year’s festival and will be performing at Symphony Hall on Saturday, March 2.