Updated 1.24.20, 11:51 a.m.
Arvada West choir director did not win the music educator Grammy. That honor went to Mickey Smith Jr. of Maplewood Middle School in Sulphur, Louisiana. Our original story continues below.
While music superstars like Lizzo and Ariana Grande hope to win top prizes at the Grammy Awards, a Colorado high school teacher could also take home a prized golden gramophone.
Arvada West High School choir director Chris Maunu is one of 10 finalists nominated for the Grammy's Music Educator Award. The prize recognizes U.S. teachers who have made "a significant and lasting contribution to the field of music education."
The winner will be announced in advance of the 62nd Grammy Awards ceremony on Jan. 26.
Maunu was also a finalist for the Music Educator Award in 2018. If he wins this year, he'll receive a $10,000 award.
"I really think of this honor as a celebration of my students' fine work," Maunu told CPR's Colorado Matters. "Because teachers are nothing without amazing students."
Arvada West's choir program has tripled during Maunu's 13 years there, and his students have performed at Carnegie Hall and St. Peter's Basilica. Maunu was recently honored as a National Music Teacher of Excellence by the Country Music Association and received a commendation from the U.S. House of Representatives.
One of Arvada West's student choirs recently performed "Hive of Frightened Bees," an original work inspired by a poem by one of Maunu's students.
Maunu spoke with Colorado Matters about his acclaimed teaching methods and how choir has become one of the most popular programs at Arvada West. Listen to the interview via play button in the upper right corner.