Windham band director's love of music pays off

Union Leader Correspondent
August 27. 2014 8:41PM
Windham High School band director Jared Cassedy is a quarterfinalist for the Grammy Foundation's music educator of the year award. (Courtesy)

WINDHAM — Jared Cassedy’s parents instilled a love of music in him and his siblings that has lasted a lifetime.

That love of music could carry Cassedy, the Windham High School band and district fine arts director, to the stage of the Grammy Awards in Los Angeles later this year.

Cassedy was nominated by a former student for the Grammy Foundation’s music educator of the year award. More than 7,000 music educators were nominated. Cassedy now stands as one of 220 quarterfinalists nationwide and the only one from New Hampshire.

“I have two sisters and a brother, and our parents wanted us all to be musically involved,” said Cassedy, a Salem High School graduate.

Cassedy began playing piano at the age of 6 and later picked up the clarinet. At Salem High, his passion for music and education was further fueled by band director Martin Claussen.

It is that passion that Cassedy said he hopes to share with his students.

“I love my job, I love music, and I love teaching music,” he said. “Music and fine arts are a great conduit for students to be able to find themselves.”

Cassedy taught at Windham Middle School for four years before moving to the new Windham High School when it opened six years ago.

Music and the arts provide a mix of collaboration and introspection and create an outlet for expression that cannot be reached in other ways, Cassedy said.

And while Cassedy said he knows that most of his students will not go on to a career in music or music education, he said he hopes that the passion he has for the subject will inspire the students to find their own passion, even if it is in a different area.

As for being recognized by the Grammys, Cassedy said he has gotten an overwhelmingly warm and positive reaction from students, faculty, and the community.

“It reminds me of how lucky I am to work in a district that supports the arts,” he said.

Next month, Cassedy will find out if he is one of 10 semifinalists for the Grammy honor.

Each semifinalist receives a $1,000 honorarium and a $1,000 donation to his or her district’s music program.

The winner is flown to Los Angeles for the Grammy Awards and receives a $10,000 honorarium and the same amount donated to the music program.

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