CLICK HERE to submit a nomination for the OVATION AWARD.

Every participant in the PYO Music Institute – students and directors alike – know that music makes a profound impact on a person’s life and it is often the music teacher who deserves the credit for this. Now, for the fourth year, the PYO Music Institute is proud to present The Fourth Annual “PYO OVATION Award – for Inspiration and Outstanding Leadership in Music Education.” It is endowed by H.E.L.P.® Foundation and sponsored by Jacobs Music Company, J.W. Pepper and WRTI-90.1 FM.

Nominations open on February 20, 2017 with the deadline being March 30, 2017. The nomination process is simple. Anyone, of any age, can nominate a music teacher who has made a positive impact in his or her life. This could be a current or former student, parents, musicians – someone with fond memories of a music teacher. In 250 words or less, nominators answer this question, “How Has My Music Teacher Changed My Life.” Nominees should have imparted musical skills and knowledge, but also helped build students’ character, self confidence, and capabilities that have impacted overall development and achievements. To nominate a music teacher for the PYO Ovation Award, essays should be submitted online at Nominees from prior years are still eligible and nominators are welcomed and strongly encouraged to nominate them again. A blue-ribbon panel of representatives from major music organizations and music departments of area universities will choose ten finalists and the award winner. All finalists win prizes with the grand prize winner also receiving a $1,000 honorarium. And, the nominator of the grand prize winner will receive a $250 gift card.

Louis Scaglione, president and music director of PYO, is very proud of this award. He said, “It is our honor to present the Ovation Award knowing that music educators do not get the recognition they deserve. As a music education institution, we at PYO Music Institute witness the positive impact teachers have on their students every day. They share their passion for music and inspire students to strive to do their best. We applaud all music educators and are pleased to have this opportunity to shine the light on those who are selected for this recognition.”

Each of the honorees from the past three years is unique in their own way. The first recipient of the Ovation Award, who was honored in June 2014, is Bill Cain, a music teacher and Band Director at Wissahickon Middle School in the Wissahickon School District. When he received this award he said, “This is the best recognition for an educator that anyone could ever have! Thank you for reminding all music teachers that we are not alone in this battle for music to survive and how important it is for music to stay on the daily schedule in our schools. Schools must teach the whole child and exercise both sides of the brain.” His nominator was Michael Brookshire, who knew Bill for 30 years. Bill taught him when he was the percussion instructor for Upper Moreland High School Band.

The second recipient was 83-year-old saxophonist, teacher and mentor Tony Williams. His nominator was Mark Mitchell. In his essay, Mitchell explained that Williams not only introduced him to new techniques of playing saxophone, live performances in front of an audience, and jazz music at the Mount Airy Cultural Center that Williams founded, but he also “inspired me to see the importance and desire to give back through volunteerism, he showed me examples of leadership, and he always stated that he uses music as the vehicle to unlock a young person’s potential.” When Williams was presented the award, he beamed. He later said, “Of all the honors I have received, this captures me the most. I am so amazed to be the one chosen among so many outstanding people standing around me.”

Last year, the winner was cello teacher Jennifer Jie Jin who is the Director of the Honor String Ensemble at Archbishop John Carroll High School, Co-Director of Chamber Strings Summer Music Festival, Vivace Music Competition and Vivace Orchestra. Jin’s nominator was Jessica Zhang, a private cello student who plays cello in the Philadelphia Young Artists Orchestra. She not only enhanced her cello skills under the guidance of Jin, she also learned to perform in front of an audience. She said, “Mrs. Jin is a super teacher. My cello skill improved quickly under her mentorship and I was so proud to perform (annually) for a group of seniors. They all looked at me with love, like looking at their grandchild. I suddenly understood why we were here to play.” Jin was honored to be a finalist and totally surprised to receive the grand prize honor. She said, “This honor is a tribute to all music educators who work tirelessly and passionately each and every day. I know that music is more than an interest or hobby. It has a significant impact on all of life as it builds self-esteem, cultural awareness and the desire to achieve.”

The PYO organization is one of the nation’s oldest and most highly respected youth orchestral and college preparatory music education institutions for gifted and talented students. The Ovation Award is endowed by the H.E.L.P.® Foundation, which was established to assist non-profit community-focused endeavors. Gary Frank, CEO of H.E.L.P.® Foundation and LCG, Ltd., and member of the PYO Board of Trustees, is pleased with the legacy of this award. He said, “It is our honor to again endow the Fourth Annual PYO Music Institute Ovation Award, recognizing the finest music teachers in the Delaware Valley. We are delighted to honor these talented individuals who are devoted to educating youth, and we share their inviable passion and commitment to the musical arts.”

Three renowned music organizations with historic ties to the Philadelphia community are partnering with PYO as sponsors of The Ovation Award: Jacobs Music, one of the nation’s most respected piano merchants and the Tri-state region’s exclusive representative for new and authentically restored Steinway & Sons, Yamaha and many other fine pianos, J.W. Pepper, one of the leading sheet music merchants in the world and WRTI, broadcaster of the region’s most comprehensive classical and jazz radio programming. Chris Rinaldi, President of Jacobs Music Company and member of the PYO Board of Trustees, is happy to continue their support of the PYO Ovation Award. He said, “The tremendous life-changing impact of a music education on every facet of a student’s development has long been documented. We are very pleased to have this opportunity to show our appreciation for the invaluable contributions of the many outstanding music teachers who make this possible.  Jacobs Music has been honored to support the PYO Ovation Award since its inception; as a new PYO board member, it is especially meaning to me this year.”

For more information and to access the Ovation Award application, visit, or email questions to the PYO Music Institute at


About H.E.L.P.® Foundation and LCG, Ltd.: H.E.L.P.® Foundation, the philanthropic division of LCG, Ltd., dedicates time and resources in furtherance of community service and in support of charitable causes and non-profit organizations, both regional and nationwide. LCG fosters an organizational commitment to compassionate service as the nation’s largest privately held employee legal plan provider. LCG maintains its national headquarters in Bala Cynwyd, PA, and has been implementing its exclusive H.E.L.P.® legal plan for worksites of all sizes and industries since 1995. For more information, please visit

About Jacobs Music Company: Jacobs Music Company is the area’s exclusive representative for new and authentically restored Steinway & Sons, and Steinway designed Boston and Essex pianos. Jacobs also represents many other highly respected new and used piano manufacturers from around the world, including Yamaha, Disklavier, Clavinova, and Roland, all at great values.  Jacobs Music Company has seven showrooms, including its flagship Steinway Selection Center at 1718 Chestnut Street in center city Philadelphia, as well as Ephrata, West Chester, Whitehall and Willow Grove and PA and Cherry Hill and Lawrenceville, NJ.

About J.W. Pepper: J.W. Pepper®, based in Exton, PA, is the leading retailer of sheet music in the world. In business for over 140 years, they have 12 store locations and two distribution centers across the country.  Customer care is at the heart of their services for school music programs, private studios and all levels of performing musicians. For more information, visit

About WRTI: WRTI is a member-supported, public radio station that broadcasts the very best classical music and jazz recordings, and produces innovative, entertaining, and informative content. The station has 14 frequencies, extends west to Harrisburg and north to Scranton and Wilkes-Barre, and reaches as far south as Dover, DE and to the South Jersey shore area.

About the PYO Music Institute: Now in its 77th year, training tomorrow’s leaders, the renowned PYO Music Institute organization, led by President and Music Director, Maestro Louis Scaglione, is one of the nation’s oldest and most respected community music education and youth orchestra performance programs, providing talented young musicians from across the tri-state area with exceptional musical training. Students go on to excel in many diverse fields, and it is with pride that PYO Music Institute notes that many members of the prestigious Philadelphia Orchestra are alumni.  The organization is comprised of six program ensembles designed to meet specific needs and experience levels of students selected through a competitive audition process. The anchor group is the PYO Music Institute (PYO), conducted by President and Music Director Louis Scaglione, featuring 120 gifted instrumentalists who range in age from 14-21. Young musicians 12-18 years old are featured in PYO’s companion ensemble, the Philadelphia Young Artists Orchestra, which is led by Director and Conductor Maestra Rosalind Erwin, who is Music Director and Conductor of Drexel University Orchestra. Philadelphia Young Musicians Orchestra (PYMO), directed by Maestro Kenneth Bean, is a beginning to intermediate-level full symphonic orchestra that provides most students with their first introduction to large orchestral playing featuring students age 10-17 years old.  Bravo Brass, directed by Curtis Institute Dean of Faculty and Students, Paul Bryan, is an all brass ensemble for promising middle and high-school instrumentalists. PRYSM (Philadelphia Region Youth String Music) and PRYSM Young Artists ensembles provide string large ensemble and sectional master class instruction for beginning and intermediate musicians ages 6-14. The director and conductor of PRYSM is Gloria DePasquale, cellist with The Philadelphia Orchestra, and conductor of PRSYM Young Artists is Andrea Weber. Tune Up Philly (TUP) is PYO’s engagement program, directed by Paul Smith, that focuses on the creating and inspiring true community by providing children in underserved communities with invaluable opportunities to learn and perform a differentiated orchestral music curriculum.