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MiraCosta College Music Department Receives Prestigious Awards, Nominations

Oceanside CA—It has been a good year for the MiraCosta College Music Department. First, the MiraCosta Oceanside Jazz Orchestra (MOJO) received the award for Best Large Jazz Ensemble in the 38th Annual Student Music Awards presented by the nation’s premier magazine for jazz music, DownBeat.

“I could not be more excited!  DownBeat is an international publication and really lends credibility and a big thumbs up to what MOJO and the college’s music department is doing,” said MiraCosta College music instructor, Steve Torok.

DownBeat magazine was first published in 1934 and is the most prominent jazz publication in the world. Every year the magazine selects the best student bands from around the country in a number of divisions. The bands submit recordings, which are then evaluated by a panel of internationally celebrated jazz performers and educators. The recordings are anonymous and ranked by the panel based solely on musicality.

To see the full list of this year’s winners, view the June 2015 issue at downbeat.com.

Adding to the department’s achievement this year is the selection of music department chair and instructor, Matt Falker, as a quarterfinalist in The Recording Academy and GRAMMY Foundation’s Music Educator Award. Falker is one of the five San Diego County teachers to make the list.

Falker teaches piano, theory and vocal jazz, and directs the Frequency vocal jazz ensemble at the college. He is also the founder and director of the Oceanside Jazz Festival.

“This is an unexpected honor and it is a thrill to be selected as a quarterfinalist for this national award,” said Falker. “Like so many other teachers, I try to keep my focus on serving each student’s individual needs, and don’t stop to think about how many students I have gotten the opportunity to help over my nine years at MiraCosta and will hopefully get to help in the future.”

The Music Educator Award was established to recognize current educators 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. The award is open to current U.S. music teachers and one recipient will be selected from 10 finalists, and will be recognized for his/her remarkable impact on students’ lives. The winner will be flown to host city of the GRAMMY Awards to accept the award, attend the GRAMMY Awards ceremony, and receive a $10,000 honorarium.

Visit grammyintheschools.com to see the full list of quarterfinalists. The list will be narrowed to 10 semifinalists in September.