Here at the Community Arts Center we’re lucky to share our building with a number of music instructors who rent studio space to teach lessons in guitar, violin, piano, voice, saxophone, improvisation… just about anything, really! One such music educator is Jack Covell, who has been teaching here practically since we opened as the Community Arts Center 10 years ago. He has played an integral role in hundreds of students’ lives locally and across the country (he worked for years in Florida and New Jersey prior to arriving in central Kentucky).
He’s used to performing solo and in groups (you may have seen him Thursday Nights at Cue on Main, or with his most recent project, a small jazz ensemble named FIVE), BUT, he recently thrown into the spotlight for a different reason: the Kentucky chapter of the National Society of Arts and Letters presented him with the Distinguished Music Educator of the Year award!
The chapter presented the award to him earlier this month in Lexington at their annual Red Rose Luncheon, where they honor area educators and award scholarships to talented young musicians.
The award committee might not have heard of Jack if it weren’t for a former student of his, Chase Miller. Chase is aStanford native who performed for them at a National Society of Arts and Letters scholarship competition earlier this year. (He’s currently studying music performance in clarinet at the University of Kentucky). The committee was blown away with Chase’s skills, and they asked who he had studied with in the past.
â€œI taught Chase for his entire high school career. Chase was determined right from the start to reach for the stars. He set lofty goals and fulfilled them all â€“ three-time All State Band, a Governor’s Scholar, and a full music scholarship to UK.â€
â€œChase is a master of how to practice. His approach is well thought out, applied intelligently, and he is patient enough to discipline himself correctly so the best results are achieved in the shortest amount of time. He has an exciting future in front of him.â€
Based on Millerâ€™s performance and the committeeâ€™s own research into Jack’s career and accomplishments, it was soon obvious that he was the best candidate for 2014 Distinguished Music Educator of the Year.
Jack was shocked that he had received the honor, and did not even know he was in the running. He knows not to take full credit for his studentsâ€™ successes, though: â€œA great teacher must have students who are willing to do the work. I have been blessed with quite a few of them since coming to Danville.â€
Chase Miller just happens to be performing in Danville this week! He and an accompanist will be playing a free recital Tuesday, May 20 at 7 p.m. at the Presbyterian Church of Danville. (Donations will be accepted to support Chase’s tuition to a music program in BayView Chamber Music Festival this summer in Michigan.)
Let’s continue to support music educators like Jack and their students, the local-grown talents like Chase Miller, whether they’re studying at the Community Arts Center or elsewhere throughout Kentucky!