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Band director earns award nomination from Grammys

Band director Kameron Radford earns award nomination from the Grammys

It is every musician’s dream to win a Grammy Award.  One band director in Gaston County Schools is a step closer to making that dream come true.

Kameron Radford of Stuart W. Cramer High School is one of 216 quarterfinalists from across the United States to be nominated for the Grammy Music Educator Award.  It’s a recognition that honors K-12 and collegiate music educators who have made a significant contribution to the field of music education and advocate for maintaining music education in schools. 

The winner will be chosen from 10 finalists and attend the 63rd annual Grammy Awards ceremony in Los Angeles.  The finalists will receive $1,000 as well as $1,000 for their school’s music program.  Fifteen semifinalists will receive $500 prizes.

“For me, being nominated is especially humbling because it was a student who secretly submitted the initial application,” said Radford.  “I was extremely surprised to receive the e-mail informing me that I was chosen as a quarterfinalist.”

Selected from more than 2,000 applicants, Radford takes his place as one of the top music educators in the country.  It is a well-deserved acknowledgement for Radford, who always knew that he wanted a career in music.

Radford is “homegrown” in Gaston County Schools.  He graduated from Hunter Huss High School in 2004 and Appalachian State University in 2008.  After earning his degree, he returned to his high school alma mater as the band director.

When Stuart W. Cramer opened in August 2013, he jumped at the opportunity to become the school’s first band director, a job he has thoroughly enjoyed for seven years.

“As a band director, I have the opportunity to work with the most amazing students, and everyone in the Stuart W. Cramer community is so supportive,” said Radford, who has high expectations of his students and wants them to strive for the best not just in band, but in everything they do.

“The best part of my job is teaching students the skills needed to reach the highest level of excellence,” said Radford.  “Many of the skills learned in band like responsibility, commitment, perseverance, and teamwork are the same skills needed to be successful in life.”

Radford’s interest in music began at a young age.  He recalls listening and dancing to music at his grandmother’s house when he was just three years old – his favorite song at the time was “Elvira” by the Oak Ridge Boys.  He enjoyed learning songs while in elementary school at H.H. Beam and began developing his musical talent in middle school.

“I feel like my passion for music took off in the Southwest Middle School band room where learning to play the trumpet was the best thing for me,” said Radford.  “Once I got to high school, I realized that being a part of the band was so important.  It’s where I found a friend group of like-minded people who all supported each other as we worked toward a common goal.”

While in high school and college, he emerged as a band leader, serving in the prestigious role of drum major.

“My experience in high school taught me the skills necessary and gave me the confidence to audition for drum major my freshman year at Appalachian,” said Radford.  “As the drum major at Appalachian, I got the opportunity to travel to three Division 1-AA national championship games, march in the New Year’s Day parade in London, and have a sideline view for our historic upset of the Michigan Wolverines in 2007.”

Radford credits his band and music experiences over the years as well as his high school and college band directors, Andy Washburn and Dr. Scott Tobias, for shaping him into a successful band director who is worthy of the Grammy Music Educator Award.

“Being involved in band during a formative time in my life is what ultimately solidified for me that education would be my life’s work,” explained Radford.  “I will cherish my memories of band for the rest of my life, and they are part of the reason why I strive so hard to give my students similar experiences.”

Radford added, “Through music education, it is my hope that I can give my students the same thing my teachers provided for me – a sense of purpose and a place to feel safe and valued.”