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Valley choir director gains national recognition

PHOENIX — When the 56th Annual Grammy Awards are broadcast this Sunday, it will include the first Music Educator Award presented by the Grammy Foundation. And out of more than 30,000 nominations from across the country, they narrowed the list to 10 finalists, including former Horizon High School Choral Director Kathrine Kouns.

“Seeing these students become people that not only I was proud of them, but then they were proud to be those people and that they could even credit being involved in the program as part of the reason for that,” Kouns said. “That’s pretty amazing.”

Earlier this month, Kouns learned she will not receive a trip to Los Angeles and receive the award during the Grammy show, but she hopes the exposure will open people’s eyes to the value of music education.

“You know there’s always a higher importance placed on standardized testing and I’m certainly not saying those things aren’t important, but I think there’s a lot of people unfortunately that disregard the importance of other areas in just developing those kids as human beings and well-rounded people.”

Kouns is now living out of state, but plans to return to Scottsdale in a couple of months, when the Grammy Foundation will hold a ceremony at Horizon High and present the choir with a $1000 check.