DBHS’ Head Conductor Nominated for Distinguished Music Award

Lilly Ball, Asst. A&E Editor

After ending the year with a Grammy award, Diamond Bar High School’s musical department has another feat to celebrate. Steven Acciani, head conductor of the award winning department, has been nominated for the distinguished Music Educator Award presented by The Recording Academy and the Grammy Foundation. Acciani was picked out of 7,000 nominations from all over the country and is among 200 other teachers from 41 states who have been nominated.

“I felt honored to be nominated, but also humbled because I know that it is a reflection of the talent and dedication of our students,” Acciani said via email about his nomination.

The current nominees now await for September, when the foundation will announce which teachers have moved on to become semifinalists. After this announcement, 10 teachers will move on to the final round, in which the winner will receive a $10,000 honorarium and a ticket to one of LA’s hottest events, the Grammy Awards ceremony. The nine other teachers who make it to the finals will each receive a $1,000 honorarium, as well as a matching grant to each of their schools.

“For me, it is not about the prize; it is a validation that we have moved the program in the right direction, and the kids and the community [believe] in what we are doing,” Acciani said about the honorarium.

As a quarter finalist, Acciani is recognized by The Recording Academy and the Grammy Foundation. The Music Educator Award was created to recognize the dedicated teachers who have made a contribution to the field of music in schools across America, and shown their dedication to the maintenance of musical education. Other local nominees include Anthony Allmond of Kaiser High in Fontana, Buddy Clements of Walnut High, and Eufemio Escalante of VinaDanks Middle School in Ontario.

Acciani has been a music teacher for 25 years and thoroughly enjoys his job. He is a lover of music, but he also enjoys working with his students and helping them become the best that they can be.

“I love all aspects of teaching, but my favorite part is helping get students into the best colleges,” he said about his students.

The music director’s work with the department is what led to his esteemed nomination. He dedicates much of his time to his band and orchestra students. Symphony level classes have many afterschool rehearsals to maintain the certain playing level that comes with a Grammy award. However, Acciani makes sure to maintain a connection with music students from all levels, and motivates them to work hard.

While Acciani’s many years of teaching and dedication has brought the school’s orchestra and band department to award winning levels, the conductor still insists that it is not all his work that made DBHS’ music program so successful.

“It’s very exciting, but it really is a reflection on how amazing the students at DBHS are, and how supportive the administration is,” Acciani said.