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PHS Wins $5,500 Grant to Start Steel Drum Band

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PHS Wins $5,500 Grant to Start Steel Drum Band
Posted on 05/10/2016
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Portland High School has won a $5,500 grant to start a percussion ensemble.

The award will be presented to the school on Thursday, May 12, by the GRAMMY Foundation and the Ford Motor Company Fund. The two organizations will sponsor a careers-in-music presentation at 11:10 a.m. at the school that day and then will present the 2016 GRAMMY Signature Schools Enterprise Award grant at a concert at 6:30 p.m. that evening.

Jayne Sawtelle, the PHS music teacher who applied for the grant, said it will greatly benefit the school. “We are planning to have a percussion ensemble and, specifically, purchase Caribbean steel drums and start a steel drum band,” she said.

The mission of the California-based GRAMMY Foundation is to cultivate the understanding, appreciation and advancement of the contribution of recorded music to American culture. The foundation works in partnership with The Recording Academy to bring national attention to important issues such as the value and impact of music and arts education. The GRAMMY Signature Schools program is made possible in part through the support of the Ford Motor Company Fund, a longtime advocate for music programs in schools.

PHS is one of 13 top U.S. public high schools to become a 2016 GRAMMY Signature School and receive a grant for excellence in music education. PHS was one of eight schools among that group whose grant was an Enterprise Award, which goes to economically underserved schools. “In essence, (being) an Enterprise School means we are doing the best we can with what limited resources we have,” Sawtelle said.

The selection process for GRAMMY Signature Schools begins each year in August when the GRAMMY Foundation mails notifications to more than 20,000 public high schools around the country, requesting information about their music programs. Applications are submitted online in October via www.grammyintheschools.com. After the applications are scored, finalists are identified and asked to submit additional documentation, such as recordings of school concerts, sample concert programs and repertoire, which is then reviewed by an independent blue-ribbon committee of top music educators and professionals to determine the schools that merit GRAMMY Signature Schools status.

Sawtelle credited Cathie Martin, PHS administrative secretary, with alerting her to the grant opportunity.

The evening concert on May 12  is free and open to the public. It will take place in multiple locations on the first floor of PHS and feature string ensembles, band, chorus, an acapella group and orchestra.