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Rochester Philharmonic names Minerva DeLand Band teacher “Outstanding Music Educator”

Posted Date: 04/26/2024

Rochester Philharmonic names Minerva DeLand Band teacher “Outstanding Music Educator”

Minerva DeLand Band teacher Matthew Sherrill thought maybe he was the target of a spam call, or a particularly persistent telemarketer. His phone received two calls after 5 p.m. on a Friday night, both from the same number. When call number three came in, he picked up, ready to deal with whoever was on the other side. It’s a good thing he took that call - it was someone from the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra (RPO), calling to let him know he had been named “Outstanding Music Educator” in the Band Category. 

“Needless to say, I'm shocked, speechless,” said Sherrill. “I'll be honest, I think there are so many people that are more deserving than me.”

The "RPO Musicians’ Music Educator Awards" are awarded annually to music educators from across the Rochester area who, according to the RPO, “have shown both educational and musical excellence, and recognize the positive influence they have on the musicians and audiences of the future.” 

Sherrill, a Fairport graduate, has taught music in the District since 1993 and has led the Minerva DeLand band since 2000. He credits the relationships he has built with his fellow music educators across the District and with students over the past 30 years for not only his career, but this recognition from the RPO.

“The thing that really just blew me away is that it is a peer- or colleague-nominated award. And from what I understand, I don't know who exactly, but I know there were some students of mine that actually wrote a letter [to nominate me]...I know my colleagues wrote a letter so that means a lot.”

Sherrill will retire from teaching at the end of this school year, but he isn’t focused on that quite yet - the Minerva DeLand ensemble has two concerts and a competition coming up before the end of June. 

“Ninth grade is a perfect age level, because they are good, they can make good music, and they are still kids at heart and we can joke around.”

Sherrill also teaches lessons in other schools across the District, and says the collegiality with music staff at Minerva and in all the other schools is part of what makes the District unique.

“I truly consider myself blessed that 33 years ago I happened to land in Fairport…we really have an amazing group of people here on staff teaching music,” said Sherrill. “[This award] just solidifies what I've already known; that we've had a good run here and for me to be a part of it is special, and it means a lot.”