Mendelssohn presents 2010 Starr of Excellence Award to Leah Baskin
From press release
Mendelssohn Performing Arts Center (MPAC) presented Leah Baskin with the 2010 Starr of Excellence Award March 12 at Mendelssohn’s concert with violinist Margaret Batjer at Court Street United Methodist Church in Rockford.
Baskin has been active in the Rockford community for many years as a teacher, volunteer and philanthropist. For more than 35 years, she has been dedicated to serving the music education needs of children in school, in church and in the community.
Baskin has worked as a music teacher at several Rockford public schools and is the music and movement director of Montessori Private Academy.
Baskin is the founder and director of the Rock Valley Children’s Choirs, which began in 2002 as one small choir and has grown to four separate choirs encompassing grades 1 through 12. She served for 10 years on the Illinois Music Educators Association State Board and founded the IMEA Children’s Music Festival for northern Illinois.
As a clinician, Baskin has conducted workshops for music educators in Illinois, Wisconsin, and Virginia, and presented clinics for the IMEA at both district and state conferences.
Baskin is also an active member of First Presbyterian Church and has acted as director of the church choir, bell choir and children’s music.
Baskin is a member of the Sigma Alpha Iota music fraternity, the Organization of American Kodaly Educators, the American Choral Directors Association, Chorus America, Choristers Guild, National Association for Music Education, Illinois Music Educators Association, American Orff-Schulwerk Association for music and movement education, and the American Guild of English Handbell Ringers.
Baskin has received music education at Augustana College and elementary education at Western Illinois University.
Baskin is married to Dr. William Baskin, an associate at Rockford Gastroenterology. Together, they enjoy performing in, attending, and supporting arts organizations such as the Rockford Area Arts Council, Mendelssohn Performing Arts Center, Children’s Theater Project, Christian Youth Project, Rockford Coronado Concert Association, Artists’ Ensemble Theater, Rock Valley College Starlight Theatre, Rockford Symphony Orchestra, Kantorei, the Singing Boys of Rockford, and the American Guild of Organists.
Mendelssohn Performing Arts Center initiated the annual Starr of Excellence Award in 1985. The award is named after Chandler Starr, who established the Mendelssohn Club in 1884 and was also its president for many years. The award is given to those who have made a major contribution to the advancement of quality music in the Rockford area, is significantly involved in the community, and can be held up as a role model, particularly to youth.
For more information, call (815) 964-9713 or visit www.mendelssohnpac.org.
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