Chris Behrens

BELOIT—The School District of Beloit announced that Chris Behrens, Beloit Memorial High School band director, is a quarterfinalist for the National 2021 Music Educator Award presented by the Recording Academy and Grammy Museum.

The Music Educator Award was established to recognize current educators (kindergarten through college, public and private schools) who have made a significant and lasting contribution to the field of music education and who demonstrate a commitment to the broader cause of maintaining music education in the schools.

A total of 216 music teachers from 199 cities nation-wide have been announced as quarterfinalists for this award. In total, nearly 2,000 initial nominations were submitted.

“This is a remarkable honor for Mr. Behrens. He is so deserving of this recognition,” said School District of Beloit Interim Superintendent Sue Green. “He is so passionate about his work with his students; he sets the bar very high for himself, his students and our District.”

Several of Behrens’ students were contacted to share their thoughts on his recognition and were happy to respond. “The music program at Beloit Memorial has built a great reputation not only in Beloit, but across the country thanks to Mr. Behrens’ dedication,” said Kai Wong, sophomore at Beloit Memorial High School. “The music program has, and continues to have, a positive impact on Beloit. I never really thought I’d get so deeply interested in something like I did with jazz this year. I can’t thank Mr. Behrens enough for helping teach me this incredible music.”

Beloit Memorial High School senior Piper Mitchell agrees with Wong, “As a member of Beloit Memorial Jazz Orchestra, I can say that we have accomplished and experienced so much as a band under the direction of Mr. Behrens.” She continued, “he sacrifices a lot of his personal time, including many times throughout the year when he spends his entire weekend taking us to competitions and festivals that expose us to the talents of our peer musicians, gives us feedback from other musical professionals, and provides us opportunities to play to the next level.”

Beloit Memorial High School senior Jack Johnson says, “Mr. Behrens is an inspirational leader for all the musicians he instructs. Leading our band as a national finalist nine out of the last 10 years is an exceptional accomplishment. So, it comes to no surprise that he has received this recognition. As a member of the Beloit Memorial Jazz program, I have learned the value of work, the value of friendship and unity, and have found a lifelong passion.”