ASO selects Steven Cocchiola as Music Educator of the Year
The Akron Symphony Orchestra is pleased to announce that Steven Cocchiola is the first recipient of the Akron Symphony Orchestra’s Music Educator of the Year Award.
Cocchiola, Orchestra Director at Brecksville-Broadview Heights High School, will be honored at the Akron Symphony’s performance of Pictures at an Exhibition at The University of Akron’s E.J. Thomas Hall on Nov. 18.
“When I received the word that the Brecksville-Broadview Heights High School orchestra boosters nominated me for the Akron Symphony Orchestra Music Educator of the Year, I felt very honored,” said Cocchiola, who is also on the artistic staff at Summit Chorale Society. “When I was informed that I was the recipient of the award and this was the inaugural year of it, I was left speechless. It is always nice to be recognized for your efforts, but when I heard the amount of work that was put into this, and the amount of people who took the time out of their lives to write a letter on my behalf, it was humbling.
“I cannot thank them enough, and the Akron Symphony for this honor. I am grateful to be working with such wonderful students and parents at Brecksville-Broadview Heights High School. It is not a place where I think ‘I have to go to work today,’ but instead ‘I get to go to work today.’ ”
In addition to his duties as Orchestra Director, Cocchiola conducts the school’s Chamber Orchestra, Concert Orchestra, String Orchestra, 7th and 8th grade Orchestra, and teaches music theory. He is also currently the All-Region Orchestra Chair for the Ohio Music Education Association, as well as the 2017 All-State Orchestra Coordinator.
“Steven had advocates from so many corners of the community, which shows that he is connecting with not only his students in the classroom but with the broader community,” said Sally Schneider, a member of the selection committee. “His students, administrators, colleagues and professional organizations made such a compelling case for him that Steven was a clear choice to be the first recipient.”
Cocchiola will receive the award from Music Director Christopher Wilkins on Nov. 18 at E. J. Thomas Hall. In addition, a $500 prize, sponsored by the Fairlawn School of Music, will be awarded to the Brecksville-Broadview Heights music program in Cocchiola’s name.
The following eight finalists for the award will also be recognized at the concert:
- Brian Campbell, St. Vincent-St. Mary High School Music Director
- Damon Conn, Twinsburg City Schools Orchestras Director
- Angela Feller, Canton Local Schools Middle School Band Director and Assistant High School Band Director
- Emily Garlock, Brecksville-Broadview Heights High School Choir Director
- Courtney Hall, Creative Canton Music Studio Director
- Marissa Lange, Homeschool Music Teacher
- Marlene Moses, Western Reserve Suzuki School Director
- Suzanne Walters, Strausser Elementary School (Jackson Local Schools) Music Teacher and Choir Director
The Music Educator of the Year Award promotes a greater understanding of and appreciation for the value of music education in schools. The award honors those music teachers who make a real difference through their dedication and involvement to the stability and growth of music education in their communities.
The award is open to any certified/licensed music teacher in a public, private or parochial classroom setting in Grades K-12. Nominees must teach in Cuyahoga, Medina, Portage, Stark or Summit counties.
(Photo courtesy of Rachel Jervis)