The 2017 Music In Our Schools Tour Honored Music Educators

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During Teacher Appreciation Week, Give a Note Foundation spotlights music teachers’ dedication to students. Six teachers share the impact of the Music In Our Schools Tour and how it helps their music programs and what music has done for their students.

music teacher

Music educator Angela Mangum and Tar River Elementary School (Franklinton, NC) students

These six teachers represent the thousands of music educators making a difference every day in the lives of their students.

As National Teacher Appreciation Week takes place May 1-5, Give a Note Foundation looks back on another success Music In Our Schools Tour. This past March-April, Give a Note, along with Radio Disney, Radio Disney Country, and the CMA Foundation, put a spotlight on the music teachers of six schools across the nation selected for the Tour. With the CMA Foundation matching grants to the six schools, a total of $30,000 was presented to the schools for their music programs. On April 26, the CMA Foundation honored those teachers by naming them among the 2017 CMA Music Teachers of Excellence in a ceremony in Nashville, TN, that was hosted by CMA Vocal Group of the Year Little Big Town. CMA Music Teachers of Excellence honors music educators and their indelible impact on students and school communities through the power of music.

The six schools and their teachers on the 2017 Tour were:

  • Brian Gallagher, Ramona High School, Riverside, CA
  • Don Stinson, Joliet Central High School, Joliet, IL
  • Matt Gerry, Salina South Middle School, Salina, KS
  • Colin O’Dwyer, James Otis Elementary School, Boston, MA
  • Angela Mangum, Tar River Elementary School, Franklinton, NC
  • Ramon Rivera, Wenatchee High School, Wenatchee, WA

“These six teachers represent the thousands of music educators making a difference every day in the lives of their students,” said Beth Slusher, President and Board Chair of Give a Note Foundation. “Thanks to the generosity of the CMA Foundation, Radio Disney, and others who have worked with Give a Note over the past five years, Give a Note has provided over $1.2 million in grants to reach more than 50,000 students in communities across the United States.”

"As another successful Music In Our Schools Tour comes to a close, we reflect on this incredible journey with Give a Note Foundation/NAfME and are so appreciative to the educators, students, and Radio Disney and Radio Disney Country artists who made these events an incredible experience for all," said Phil Guerini, Vice President, Music Strategy, Disney Channels Worldwide and General Manager, Radio Disney Network.

This year’s Music In Our Schools Tour, featuring performances at the six selected schools by Radio Disney and Radio Disney Country artists along with presentations of the grant checks, made a powerful impact on the teachers, as well as the performing artists.

“Thank you to Give a Note Foundation, Radio Disney, and the CMA Foundation for giving this once-in-lifetime opportunity for my students,” said Mariachi Director Ramon Rivera of Wenatchee High School. “They will never forget the day the Wenatchee High School Mariachi won an ARDY Award. This is a memory that will be with my students for the rest of their lives.”

“The Give a Note Foundation grant and Tour stop made my students feel like celebrities,” added Don Stinson, Director of Bands at Joliet Central High School. “The performance by [Radio Disney artist] Los 5, recognition from [my professional association] NAfME and our community, and receiving the grant is something my students—and I!—appreciate very much, and will never forget.”

“We think that one of the most important things in human development is the ability to express yourself in different mediums. For us, that medium is music,” shared Radio Disney artist Los 5. “Being part of the Music In Our Schools Tour and sharing the stage with such a talented group of kids was an honor. We can't wait to see what the future holds for every one of them.”

“I want to thank NAfME, Give a Note, the CMA Foundation, Radio Disney, Temecula Road, Savannah Keyes and all of the donors who believed that they could make a difference in the musical lives of children,” added Angela Mangum, music educator at Tar River Elementary School. “Having the Tour come to Tar River was like a fairy-tale ending, a dream come true! The children will follow up with hands-on music-making activities with new instruments for the classroom, including xylophones, guitars, and drums!”

“Words alone cannot describe the significant impact Give a Note Foundation and the Music In Our Schools Tour has made on our program here at Ramona,” said Brian Gallagher, Director of Bands at Ramona High School. “The sense of community, team work, and pride that came from this event is inspiring and will help motivate our students to keep reaching for their goals in music. The grant will help purchase and replace some much needed instruments for our students to help sound their best and will be the consistent reminder of this truly remarkable event. Thank you, Give a Note Foundation, CMA Foundation, and Radio Disney for believing in our students.”

“So thrilled to have been invited to perform at two stops of the Music In Our Schools Tour,” said Radio Disney artist Erin Bowman, who performed at Ramona High School as well as the University of Central Missouri, whose NAfME chapter raised donations for Give a Note. “To get to perform for crowds so passionate about music is the best. I don't know where'd I'd be without music, and I can't imagine not having it in school. That was one of the highlights of my school day! What Give a Note and Radio Disney are doing is amazing, and I couldn’t be happier to be a part of it!”

“The entire experience of being a stop on the Music In Our Schools Tour was so inspirational not only for our students, but also for our entire school building and community,” shared Matt Gerry, music educator at Salina South Middle School. “My students left the entire experience with a newfound energy and passion for the music we're making together.”

“Give a Note Foundation and Radio Disney combined to create a memorable event not only for the James Otis School but the East Boston community as a whole!” added Colin O’Dwyer, music educator at James Otis Elementary School. “The grant money from Give a Note and the CMA Foundation will allow me to further augment the musical offerings at my school including ukuleles, keyboards, and music technology! We are filled with gratitude!”

To learn more about Give a Note Foundation and the Music In Our Schools Tour, visit View highlights of the Tour by following the hashtags #MusicInspires and #MIOStour on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook.


Media contacts:

For Give a Note Foundation
Lindsay Sheldon
(703) 860-4000 ext. 230

For CMA Foundation
Courtney Beebe

About Give a Note Foundation: Since 2011, Give a Note Foundation, an affiliate of the National Association for Music Education (NAfME), has conducted national awareness campaigns and raised funds to support and strengthen music education programs across the U.S. The programs have reached millions of parents and students and provided more than $1.2 million in direct grants to schools. Learn more about Give a Note Foundation at You can follow Give a Note on Twitter and on Facebook.

About the CMA Foundation: CMA created the nonprofit 501(c)(3) CMA Foundation in 2011. Guided by the generosity of the Country Music community, the CMA Foundation focuses on improving and sustaining music education programs everywhere while supporting worthwhile causes important to the Country Music Association. In 2017, the CMA Foundation has earmarked a record $3.1 million to 44 in- and after-school music education programs across the country, bringing the Foundation’s total contributions to date to $17.5 million.

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