Belchertown teacher named Grammy Music Educator Award finalist

  • Geoffrey Gould teaches a first grade music class at Swift River Elementary School in Belchertown in October. STAFF PHOTO/CAROL LOLLIS

  • Geoffrey Gould teaches a first grade music class at Swift River Elementary School in Belchertown in October. GAZETTE FILE PHOTO/CAROL LOLLIS

  • Geoffrey Gould teaches a first grade music class at Swift River Elementary School in Belchertown in October. STAFF PHOTO/CAROL LOLLIS

  • Geoffrey Gould teaches a first grade music class at Swift River Elementary School in Belchertown in October. STAFF PHOTO/CAROL LOLLIS

Staff Writer
Published: 1/23/2020 10:54:15 AM

BELCHERTOWN — Swift River Elementary School teacher Geoffrey Gould is in the running to take home Grammy gold on Sunday after being chosen as a finalist for the Grammy Music Educator Award.

Gould, who was nominated for the award by a colleague, found out last year that he had been chosen from a pool of over 3,300 candidates as one of 189 quarterfinalists in the running for the honor. Now, he remains part of a field that the Recording Academy and Grammy Museum have narrowed to just 10 music educators from around the country, one of whom will take home the Grammy award during Sunday’s ceremony.

Among his recent accomplishments, Gould has taken elementary school music education to new heights with the installation of a college-level piano lab at Swift River, in addition to facilitating a gift of six free pianos from Westfield State University to Belchertown High School and Chestnut Hill Community School — two efforts that Gould believes stood out in the award consideration.

“It really drives home the idea that what we’ve created in Belchertown these past couple years, between our piano lab and the acquisition of these pianos from Westfield State University, is that people are taking notice on a national scale of what Belchertown has been able to do for music education,” Gould said of his nomination.

Gould is the only elementary school teacher to make the finalist cut and the only candidate from Massachusetts.

Gould said that his students don’t quite understand the significance of the Grammy award, but “they know that Mr. Gould is up for a big award” and are eager to find out if their teacher has won.

“They’re all rooting for me,” Gould said. “I get asked 100 times a day if I’ve won the award.”

As a finalist, Gould has already secured an honorarium of at least $1,000 and a matching grant for Swift River Elementary School — the latter of which will go to the Belchertown Music Boosters, he said, which made significant contributions to the piano lab.

If selected as the winner, Gould will be flown to Los Angeles to attend the Grammy Awards and receive a personal honorarium and matching grant of $10,000. With the awards set to air on Sunday, the results should arrive any day now.

While Gould’s name is up for consideration, he says that the nomination is the result of a community-wide effort.

“It speaks to the willingness of my town and the administration and the principals,” Gould said. “Everyone has backed this project and the idea, and I think the Grammy is a result of all this love from the community, rather than just me.”

Jacquelyn Voghel can be reached at jvoghel@gazettenet.com.


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