Music Teacher Ambler Receives Ovation Award | Amblergazette


AMBLER – Celebrating music teachers, the Philadelphia Youth Orchestra Music Institute’s 8th annual Ovation Award took place this spring with over 50 nominations for music teachers by current and former music students. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, there was a surprise presentation outside the home of this year’s recipient Charles Salinger in Ambler.

Sponsoring Partners – Lee Paynter, COO of JW Pepper; Chris Rinaldi, president of Jacobs Music Company; and Bill Johnson, Managing Director of WRTI 90.1, presented the award to Salinger.

Established by the PYO Music Institute in 2014, the award recognizes inspiration and outstanding leadership in music education. There have been hundreds of applicants over the years, demonstrating the respect and dedication that students have for their music teachers in the Delaware Valley, who not only successfully teach music to their students, but their also inspire confidence. Nominees were reviewed by a panel of judges including Debra Lew Harder, classic midday host and Saturday morning Classical Coffeehouse host on WRTI 90.1; Christine Witkowski, non-profit consultant; and Dennis Creedon, former deputy superintendent of the Philadelphia School District.

Salinger, clarinetist, PYO alumnus and tutor, was one of the 10 finalists. They were all awarded on June 10 at the 2021 PYO Music Institute virtual gala entitled “More Than Music”. In the Ovation Award video presentation, produced by JW Pepper and hosted by WRTI on-air host Kevin Gordon, it was publicly announced that Salinger was this year’s Ovation Award recipient. He was also a finalist in 2016 and 2019. Salinger has received seven nominations from past and current students, including Ian Abrahams, Max Reese, Kristin Nelson, Andrew Battaglia, Kimberly Birk, Ken Silvers and Michael Evans. Michael Evans wrote: “Mr. Salinger is more than a teacher. He is a friend, a mentor and a source of inspiration. His mastery of the study of music and his caring personality have made him one of the best figures of my life. In addition, in keeping with the theme of this year’s gala, “My teacher has changed my life by showing that music is more than just notes on a piece of paper.

Salinger was totally surprised when he received the award. He said: “It’s such a surprise and so surreal. It is a wonderful feeling that music has left such an imprint on the lives of my students that they want to talk about it and take the time to write about me. When I teach, I don’t care if the students turn into professional musicians. But I hope they will love music for the rest of their lives and support the arts. After all, that’s what really matters. He shared a story about one of his former students, Terry Gross, host of “Fresh Air” on NPR. “I recently asked Terry if she still plays the clarinet, and what she said to me shocked me. While she admitted not playing anymore, she said what she learned from me helped her figure out what to ask for in her interviews with musicians. Right there, that’s the teaching!

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