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North Carolina Symphony Now Accepting Nominations for Maxine Swalin Award

North Carolina Symphony Now Accepting Nominations for Maxine Swalin Award for Outstanding Music Educator

Application also Includes Jackson Parkhurst Award for Special Achievement

Nominations are currently being accepted for a pair of esteemed educator awards presented annually by the North Carolina Symphony.

Maxine Swalin

Maxine Swalin, at age 101, in the Coker Arboretum / Photo by Valarie Schwartz.

North Carolina students, parents, colleagues and community members can recommend their local music teacher for the 2013 Maxine Swalin Award for Outstanding Music Educator and Jackson Parkhurst Award for Special Achievement now through Monday, May 6.

Download the application to nominate a local music teacher who has made a difference under “Competitions & Awards” at or contact Symphony Artistic Administrator Amy Russell at, or 919) 789-5463. One application applies to both awards.

The Maxine Swalin Award for Outstanding Music Educator celebrates a North Carolina music teacher who makes a lasting difference in the lives of students of all abilities and backgrounds, serves the community in an exemplary manner as a role model in music education, instills a love for music in children and inspires students to reach appropriately high musical standards.

The $1,000 recognition is made in honor of Maxine Swalin, wife of Dr. Benjamin Swalin, North Carolina Symphony music director from 1939 to 1972. Together they lobbied for the passage of North Carolina Senate Bill No. 248, “The Horn Tootin’ Bill,” providing state financial support for the Symphony’s education program, and in 1945 established the children’s concert division of the Symphony. Over 60 years later, the North Carolina Symphony’s education program remains one of the finest and most extensive in the country, bringing free live symphonic music to school children across the state.

In 2009, the Symphony created a new prize, the Jackson Parkhurst Award for Special Achievement, to be granted in the years in which a strong second candidate for the Swalin Award demands recognition. The prize, which includes a $500 recognition, is named after the Symphony’s former director of education, in honor of his longstanding service to the students of North Carolina.

Dr. Timothy Babb, band director at Mountain Heritage High School in Burnsville, N.C., and David Deese, band director of East Davidson High School in Thomasville, N.C., were last year’s winners of the Swalin and Parkhurst Awards, respectively.

Babb served 32 years as band director at Mountain Heritage High School in Burnsville until his retirement at the end of the last school year. Displaying an extraordinary commitment to his school, he established numerous musical programs and inspired many of his students to pursue careers in music. He opened up countless musical opportunities to students experiencing economic hardship and is a model for special education and inclusion in his own classroom.

Additionally, Babb mentored colleagues through the prestigious National Board Certification process. Nominators described him as a “professional leader who inspires fellow teachers to expand their personal educational horizons.”

Deese has transformed his high school band into one of national distinction and is a recognizable figure and force within his community. A fixture in the lives of his students, Deese displays a leadership and motivation that, in the words of one nominator, “speaks for itself through the individual and corporate success that [his students] achieve.”

For complete information on the Symphony’s music education offerings for young students, adult learners and teachers, visit

About the North Carolina Symphony
Founded in 1932, the North Carolina Symphony performs over 175 concerts annually to adults and school children in more than 50 North Carolina counties. An entity of the North Carolina Department of Cultural Resources, the orchestra employs 65 professional musicians, under the artistic leadership of Music Director and Conductor Grant Llewellyn and Resident Conductor William Henry Curry.

Based in downtown Raleigh’s spectacular Meymandi Concert Hall at the Duke Energy Center for the Performing Arts and an outdoor summer venue at Booth Amphitheatre in Cary, N.C., the Symphony performs about 60 concerts annually in the Raleigh, Durham, Chapel Hill and Cary metropolitan area. It holds regular concert series in Fayetteville, New Bern, Southern Pines and Wilmington—as well as individual concerts in many other North Carolina communities throughout the year—and conducts one of the most extensive education programs of any U.S. orchestra.

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