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Humans of the Rocky Mountain Southwest January 31, 2019

From his acceptance speech for receiving the 2019 Young Music Educator of the Year Award at the ceremony at the Broadmoor, Tuesday, January 22, 2019.

“Good morning ladies and gentlemen. It is truly an honor and a privilege to be standing here in front of you this morning.  It is hard to believe that four years ago I was sitting in this same hall; listening to the speech and thinking to myself, that is an award I want to aspire to. This is an honor that has brought perspective to my life, in how truly fortunate I am to be standing here today.

After a difficult first year of teaching … I found a home in Walsenburg, a community desperate for a musical leader to recapture the magic of a defunct music program.

These past four years have shown me how truly wonderful the teaching profession can be. Watching this program grow has been a remarkable journey, one I have often likened to pushing a snowball down a hill, and now I am chasing after it. I would not be standing here if it were not for the slew of private lesson teachers on piano, trumpet, euphonium, and trombone who started my musical career. …

Thank you to George Purnell, Gunnison Pagnotta, Heidi Dasko, Josh Vialpando, and Mike Moore for the overwhelming support they have given me to build a music program in Walsenburg.

Last and most certainly not least, thank you to my family. My grandparents Bud and Jane who drove down here from Steamboat Springs, and my parents Janet and Larry who flew out here from San Diego to be here this morning. It is with your unconditional love and support I am able to grow and become the music educator I am today.

I have been extremely fortunate to have found my passion at 16 years old.  This award affirms every decision I have made since then.  Thank you to the Colorado Music Educators Association for bestowing this honor on me. I will continue to grow, and hone my craft, to become the best music educator I can be for myself and my students.  Thank you very much.”

Ben Pollack, Huerfano RE-1 Music Director

Ben Pollack, Huerfano RE-1 Music Director. Photo by Brian Orr