Neuqua, Waubonsie capture Grammy honors

  • Neuqua Valley High School's music department has now won nine Grammy Awards, including this one in 2004 delivered by Billy Corgan.

    Neuqua Valley High School's music department has now won nine Grammy Awards, including this one in 2004 delivered by Billy Corgan. Daily Herald File Photo

Updated 4/21/2011 4:35 PM

High school musicians in Indian Prairie Unit District 204 are singing a happy tune these days.

The Grammy Foundation announced that Neuqua Valley and Waubonsie Valley high schools are among six from across the country selected as Grammy Signature Gold Schools for 2011. The prestigious honor recognizes top music education programs at U.S. public high schools.


Neuqua and Waubonsie will receive $5,500 each to benefit their music programs.

School board President Curt Bradshaw is thrilled.

"I'm extremely proud our district is not only best in the state, but among the best in the nation," Bradshaw said. "It's certainly rare that one district can boast of having two of the top six high schools in the nation."

This is the seventh time Waubonsie has received a Grammy award, and it's Neuqua's ninth award, including being named the top music program in the country in 2005.

"We're very proud of our program and we were delighted to hear Waubonsie was also recognized," said Neuqua Music Department Chairman Charles Staley. "It's great to continue the tradition and work in a district with a proven strength for providing the best education and music programs for our students."

Despite having now won nine awards, Staley refused to say the award is expected every year but said the submission process has been helpful to keep the students performing at their best.

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"Part of our professional growth is to listen to a full year of performances and find the best and that's what we submit," Staley said. "The result is an indication of what happens day after day and pursuit of excellent music making."

Both schools will receive their award at events this spring. Waubonsie will receive the honor during District 204's Fine Arts Festival on May 21, and Neuqua's event is at 8 p.m. May 19 in the school's auditorium.

The selection process for Grammy Signature Schools begins each year in August when the Grammy Foundation mails notification to more than 20,000 public high schools requesting information about each school's music program.

After the applications are scored, finalists are 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 status.