UNCG Campus Weekly

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GRAMMY nominee Danny Yancey plays the music forward

Photo of Yancey and some of his studentsFor 13 years, Danny Yancey  ’07 M.M.Ed has given the gift of music to his students. Now one of them has returned the favor.

In May, Yancey, music director at Martin Gifted and Talented Magnet School in Raleigh, found out a student had nominated him for the 2015 GRAMMY Music Educator Award.

Yancey is a finalist for the second annual award to honor educators who have made lasting contributions to music education. The winner will be announced in February during GRAMMY Week.

Yancey, also music director for Monument of Faith Church in Durham, says his job is a way of paying forward the impact of the “amazing music teachers” who touched his own life.

“The most important thing for me is the ability and joy of sharing music with other people,” he says. “Growing up, I had the tutelage of wonderful role models who shared music in amazing ways.”

The Music Educator Award is presented by the Recording Academy and the GRAMMY Foundation. This year, more than 7,000  nominations came from all 50 states.

If he wins, Yancey will fly to Los Angeles to receive the award during a Special Merit Awards ceremony that will be excerpted on GRAMMY night. Of course, he will also attend the GRAMMY Awards.

Winning the award would also mean a $10,000 honorarium for Yancey, who starts his doctorate in music education at UNCG in the fall.

Yancey lobbies for more music education funding for public schools. “Music education supports almost any area of life,” he says. “It supports math, reading and standardized testing. It teaches life skills like teamwork, collaboration, and sticking to a goal.”

Meanwhile, two vocalists with UNCG ties are also GRAMMY hopefuls.

Singer Craig Phillips, currently a doctoral student in the UNCG School of Music, Theatre and Dance, is also nominated for a GRAMMY this year. “Sing Thee Nowell,” the latest recording by Phillips’ quartet New York Polyphony,  is a finalist for Best Chamber Music/Small Ensemble Performance.

Baritone Sidney Outlaw ’04 is a featured artist on “L’Orestie d’Eschyle,” a finalist for Best Opera Recording. This first-ever recording of Darius Milhaud’s 1922 opera trilogy was produced by the University Musical Society  at the University of Michigan.

Peter Alexander, dean of the school, says the three nominations, remarkable for any music school, represent a “notable high water mark” for SMTD.

“This is an incredible moment because it once again confirms the School of Music, Theatre and Dance’s ability to attract exceptionally talented students and then provide those students with the kind of education that catapults them to the top of their professions,” Alexander says. “The graduates of the UNCG School of Music, Theatre and Dance have an amazing and longstanding record of career success. Some have won Tony Awards or Oscars, others are performing with major orchestras, dance ensembles, theatre companies or on Broadway. Still others are faculty members at major universities or are leading prominent arts organizations across the nation.”

Watch the GRAMMY Awards live Sunday, Feb. 8, 2015, beginning at 8 p.m. on CBS.

By Michelle Hines
Visual: A “selfie” of Yancey and some of his students.