Grants for High School Performing Arts Teachers

Fostering new generations of artists and arts lovers

Many artists and arts lovers trace their initial spark of interest back to a high school music teacher.

For many high school students, music, drama, dance, orchestra, and chorus were integral to how they learned to express themselves, assert their individuality, collaborate with others—and most of all, discover that distinct sense of excitement and possibility many of us only get from the performing arts. 

And so, Wolf Trap rewards the teachers who make it all possible—particularly those creating innovative new programs. 

Each year, grants to pursue promising, one-of-a-kind programs are awarded to a select number of high school teachers from Washington, DC, Maryland, and Virginia.

2017 Grant Recipients

Amy KurtzAmy Kurtz
Clarksburg High School, Montgomery County, MD

The main act: In an effort to create a meaningful way for the Clarksburg students and the surrounding communities to heal, Amy is using her grant for a choral commission in memory of three Clarksburg High School students who were lost in a tragic car crash last year. Four choirs in the music department including Concert Choir, Treble Choir, Bella Voce’ and Chamber Singers will prepare this work over the course of several months with current professor of music education Dr. Philip Silvey of the Eastman School of Music.

The grand finale: Students will premiere the commissioned piece at the spring choral concert on May 11, 2017, and at graduation on June 5, 2017.

David LuntDavid Lunt
Washington Lee High School, Arlington County, VA

The main act: David Lunt wants to give his students insight into the composing process. He is using his Wolf Trap grant to commission a contemporary piece for the Washington Lee Concert Orchestra by nationally recognized composer Carl Holmquist of HB Woodlawn School. Students will have the unique experience of learning composition structure and providing input regarding the theme, style and title of the piece.


The grand finale: 
The Concert Orchestra will perform the commissioned work at the spring concert on May 24, 2017.

Everett MartinEverett Martin
Parkdale High School, Prince George’s County, MD

The main act: Everett wants to increase the quality of music literature and instruction for his Orchestra and Symphonic Band. He is using the grant to commission a work by composer Chad Hughes, as well as provide a symphonic clinic with various experts and leading educators in the DC area. Through the commissioned work and master classes, students will expand their knowledge of symphony literature at the required grade level, and receive individual attention for upcoming festival assessments.

The grand finale: Students will perform their composition at the school’s spring concert in May 2017 at the Parkdale High School auditorium.

Kerri ShelfoKerri Shelfo
Hayfield Secondary School, Fairfax County, VA

The main act: To provide the opportunity for students to explore alternative styles of music, Kerri Shelfo will use her Wolf Trap grant to establish an electronic rock orchestra for 200 Hayfield High School Orchestra students. Along with equipment that will be purchased, students will also participate in weekly workshops with Mr. Alberto Rodriguez, a local rock bassist and music educator who will teach students how to use the instruments appropriately and perform a variety of musical genres.

The grand finale: On March 23, 2017, the rock orchestra will perform along with members of the five Hayfield Secondary School orchestras at a concert for the elementary students of the Hayfield School Pyramid.

Gregory LewisLori Williams
Woodrow Wilson High School, Washington, DC

The main act: In an effort to get students to analyze the lyrical content in their musical choices, Lori Williams will use her Wolf Trap grant to commission the Positive Music for Positive Minds project. Positive Music for Positive Minds will include a performance-based rehearsal, mentoring workshops, and a concert for an audience of approximately 500 students in Concert Choir, Band, General Music, Media, Art and Drama classes.  Nationally acclaimed musicians who are skilled in Jazz, Rhythm & Blues, and Rock genres will help the music students create an original piece of music with positive lyrics to inspire their peers and surrounding communities.

The grand finale: Students will have an opportunity to present the performance as an instructional-based event on May 25, 2017.

Justin RatcliffJustin Ratcliff
Rock Ridge High School, Loudoun County, VA

The main act: Justin wants to expose his students to high-quality performers and educators. He is using his grant to bring in nationally acclaimed music educator and Director of Bands for Louisiana State University (LSU), Damien Talley, to operate a weekend intensive camp for their pre-assessment concerts. Additionally, to establish the jazz program at Rock Ridge High School, world-renowned jazz educator and former lead trumpeter for the David Lettermen band, Al Chez, will work with the new Rock Ridge High School jazz ensemble on the basic fundamentals and understandings of jazz style and technique.

The grand finale: The Symphonic band and Wind ensemble’s performance assessment will take place on Feb 9 and March 10, 2017, and the inaugural spring Jazz concert will be on May 11, 2017.