The Mockingbird Foundation is proud to announce the winners of the 2019 DeLucia Awards for music educators, including the recipient of this year’s $1,000 DeLucia Prize. Each of these award winners has demonstrated a passion for music education such as by teaching in an exceptional, innovative, or unique manner; impacting their communities in a substantial way; and/or using unconventional techniques, discourse, or concepts in their roles as music educators:

  • Angelica Durrell (of INTEMPO Music School in Stamford, CT) – DeLucia Prize Winner
    Upon graduating from college in 2011 and using graduation gifts as seed money, Angelica founded INTEMPO (then known as INTAKE Organization), with the intention of creating a music education platform on which folkloric music and instrumentation (charango, cajón) would have equal footing with classical music and instrumentation (violin, viola, cello, guitar), and where children from low-income, predominantly immigrant or first-generation backgrounds and from communities underrepresented in the arts would feel welcome and accepted and would benefit from the music education they so badly needed and deserved. Under Angie’s leadership, INTEMPO has gained national attention for the quality of its music education programs as well as a reputation locally for being a much-needed bridge between the arts sector and marginalized communities in Fairfield County, Connecticut, reaching more than 1,700 students and 7,000 community members since its inception, presenting student-driven concerts that engage diverse audiences, deploying a cross-cultural curriculum that creates a platform for culturally responsive repertoire and instrumentation, and using a student-centered pedagogy that encourages inquiry and agency and meets children where they are.
  • Noah Demland (Arts & College Preparatory Academy in Columbus, OH)
    Noah created Band Lab, a program that guides teen musicians through every aspect of musicianship up to and including recording in real studios and performing their original music in local venues. He connects genuinely with each of his students, helping them become both skilled musicians and capable artists.
  • Rachel Holland (Seven Oaks Classical School in Ellettsville, IN)
    “Miss Holland” single-handedly created a music and theater program, at a newly opened school, with an initial budget of $0. Through creative events, she has since raised hundreds of dollars, and teaches students a great deal, including that everyone can sing.  She teaches classical music through rhythm clapping, books, songs, and dance, in addition to instruments, and also started a “music theatre” club.
  • Mark Unbehagen (Cabrillo Elementary, Ortega Elementary, Sunset Ridge Elementary, Ocean Shores Elementary, Vallemar Elementary in Pacifica, CA)
    Even though he teaches over 900 students at five different schools every week, “Mr. U” manages to keep them all engaged through his creativity, innovation, personal warmth, and terrific sense of humor. He constantly encourages kids to create their own music, especially through the Mystery Box Challenge, where teams of kids are given a set of musical “ingredients” (a rhythmic ostinato, melodic ostinato, crescendo, etc.) and asked to create a piece of music that they perform on xylophones and other instruments. Since he only gets to see each class once a week, he also takes the time to make videos explaining the musical concepts they have been learning, as well as videos featuring student drawings and musical compositions by students, which he emails to parents every week. (The parents learn a lot from them too!)

The DeLucia Awards and DeLucia Prize, created in 2004 with a revised focus in 2017, are named for Mockingbird founder Craig DeLucia and acknowledge outstanding contributions of a creative nature.  The Foundation announces these awards both to celebrate the accomplishments of the winners, and in hope that the awards might inspire others to seek, provide, and support music education, particularly bold and ambitious efforts in the face of uphill hurdles.

The Foundation board is extremely grateful to the volunteers who lent their time, interest, and expertise to serve as the committee reviewing nominees and selecting this year’s winners:

  • David Ahrens – Director of Bands at Bear River High School in Grass Valley, CA
  • John Butte – Vocal General Music and Chorus Director at Gorman Crossing Elementary School in Laurel, MD
  • Ben Denne – Director of Orchestras at Ellicott Mills Middle School in Ellicott City, MD
  • Andrew Hitz – Instructor of Music at Gettysburg College
  • Matt Sexauer – Director of Bands at Chelmsford High School in Chelmsford, MA

The Mockingbird Foundation is the leading provider of historical information about Phish and its music, having cultivated intellectual property through since 1994 and published two editions of the popular trade paperback books The Phish Companion: A Guide to the Band and Their Music. Proceeds from Foundation projects support music education for children. Thanks to its all-volunteer structure, the Foundation is able to disburse more than 98% of the funds raised to important and innovative programs serving diverse populations. Organized by Phish fans in 1996, and formally incorporated as a 501(c)3 nonprofit in 1997, the Foundation has since then distributed $836,593.40 through 272 grants in 45 states.

Phish is a rock band that started in 1983 and grew to become one of the highest-grossing live acts in the nation. The band will perform a summer tour beginning late July, and donates a portion of proceeds from LivePhish downloads to the Mockingbird Foundation. For more information about Phish, please visit and