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Dedication to students leads to Grammy nomination for Noblesville teacher

Noblesville High School's top jazz band
Posted at 7:56 AM, Jan 21, 2022
and last updated 2022-01-21 07:56:19-05

NOBLESVILLE — Throughout the pandemic, educators have had to adapt. From online learning, to hybrid schedules, teachers have tirelessly continued doing their job.

It has been especially hard for the arts. Those disciplines bring their own unique challenges during normal school years and have been amplified during this pandemic.

However, Bethany Robinson, has met those challenges head-on. Robinson is Noblesville High School's Jazz Band Director. She explains how she had to teach during the early parts of the pandemic.

"Half of the students were here the first part of the week, the other half were here at the end of the week. I only saw them one time a week essentially," Robinson said.

To keep students engaged, she didn't just focus on music during these online learning sessions.

"I would say all I can see are ceiling fans, is anyone at home. They had their Zoom cams up. I'd try just simple things. Make jokes in the chat so they were connected. You could see some of them laugh."

The work she did over the 2020-2021 school year was rewarded with national recognition.

Noblesville High School's top jazz band placed second at the 2021 National Jazz Festival in their division. They also earned a spot at the prestigious Essentially Ellington Jazz Festival. Only one of 15 bands in the country to make it.

"When I first learned about it ten years ago, I knew I wanted to have a band make it to the Essentially Ellington Jazz Festival. It has probably been the biggest accomplishment of my life."

These accomplishments have made it even sweeter for Robinson after learning she's in the running for the Grammy's 2022 Music Educator Award.

"To be nominated by a student is something really incredible. It kind of shows you that what you're doing is impacting their life in some way."

Connor Meinderding and Nate Cook are two of Robinson's students. The seniors said Robinson receiving the Grammy nod isn't surprising because of the excellence she has cultivated in her 17 years with Noblesville schools.

"When you're in one of her bands, you feel welcome and you feel pushed to do better and it creates proficiency and excellence," Cook said.

"She treats these jazz bands as if they're her life. She gives everything in it and make us want to be in it just as much as she does," Meinerding said.

The Grammy's will take place in April, pushed back because of COVID. Robinson says whatever happens, she's just grateful to be nominated for the honor and plans to continue this tradition of creating a welcoming, nurturing, and educating environment.