2016 Grammy Music Educator Award semifinalists revealed

Millions of Americans tune in to the Grammy Awards each year to watch their favorite artists put on their best, jaw-breaking performances and be awarded for their musical achievements. But behind every performer was a teacher who helped them get to the big stage.

That is the idea behind the Music Educator Award, created by the Recording Academy and Grammy Foundation to recognize "current educators who have made a significant and lasting contribution to the field of music education."

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Jared Cassedy poses with the Music Educator Award at the 57th Annual Grammy Awards.
(Photo by Dan MacMedan/WireImage)

Last year's recipient, band director Jared Cassedy of Windam High School in New Hampshire, said the Grammys was more than a "once-in-a-lifetime experience," and still serves as a reminder of his role in the "greater cause of music education."

"It's so much more than just teaching kids to perform and collaborate, it's really looking at my students and my program as a means for instilling a passion to work towards their own individual goals and interests," Cassedy said.

As for his own goals, Cassedy said the experience has allowed him to reflect on his role as a teacher from a broader platform. Cassedy has expanded his influence beyond his high school band, bringing the music buzz to elementary and middle school students in his school district. His high school band has also continued to see an increase in students, especially among those who are first-time or returning musical instrument players.

While Cassedy admitted some sadness that the year was coming to an end, he expressed excitement for the next recipient to carry on the legacy.

"I think it's really important that we reflect on the experiences and what we gained our of them, reinvigorate them...in a way that is going to be impactful to the students, because it's all about the students and the community that we work with," Cassedy said.

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Jared Cassedy and musician Paul McCartney
(Photo by Mark Davis/WireImage)

This year, more than 4,500 nominations were submitted nationwide. The 25 semifinalists come from 25 cities across 15 states. The list will be whittled down to 10 finalists in December, who will each receive a $1,000 honorarium as well as matching grants for their schools.

The lucky winner will be flown to Los Angeles during Grammy Week in February to accept the award, attend the Grammy Award ceremony and receive a $10,000 honorarium.

CBS News is happy to announce the semifinalists of the 2016 Music Educator Award:

Bonnie Anderson

Coronado Village Elementary School, Universal City, Texas


Ben Case

Northwood High School, Irvine, California


Caleb Chapman

Pioneer High School for the Performing Arts, American Fork, Utah


Joyce Click

North Central High School, Indianapolis, Indiana


James Russell Cooper

Henry County High School, New Castle, Kentucky


Mike Dana

Fresno City College, Fresno, California


Krista Fanning

Caddo Middle Magnet, Shreveport, Louisiana


Anne Fennell

Mission Vista High School, Oceanside, California


Doreen Fryling

South Side High School, Rockville Centre, New York


Frank Gawle

Wilton High School, Wilton, Connecticut


Alan Guckian

Eastside Memorial High School, Austin, Texas


Keith Hancock

Tesoro High School, Rancho Santa Margarita, California


Peter Holsberg

The Berkeley Carroll School, Brooklyn, New York


Kathryn Ingerson

Thousand Islands High/Middle School, Clayton New York


Darren McCoy

Oak Harbor High School, Oak Harbor, Washington


Richard McCready

River Hill High School, Clarksville, Maryland


DiAnne Mott

Oppenheim-Ephratah-St. Johnsville Central District, St. Johnsville, New York


Timothy Powell

Martin Methodist College, Pulaski, Tennessee


Penelope Quesada

Lincoln Elementary School, Louisville, Kentucky


Ulli Reiner

Poway Unified School District, San Diego, California


Phillip Riggs

North Carolina School of Science and Mathematics, Durham, North Carolina


Bill Swick

Las Vegas Academy of the Arts, Las Vegas, Nevada


Brayer Teague

Downers Grove North High School, Downers Grove, Illinois


Linda Versprille

Cane Bay High School, Summerville, South Carolina


Lois Wiggins

Edythe J. Hayes Middle School, Lexington, Kentucky