HARVEY, IL — A south suburban music store owner received a prestigious award recognizing his commitment to teaching the arts at a jazz conference in January last month.
The John LaPorta Jazz Educator of the Year Award is given to teachers and influencers who teach students under the age of 18 the importance of this art form. According to officials, recipients of the award are nationally recognized as some of the best music teachers in the world.
Roosevelt Griffin, a native of Harvey, accepted the award in January and will receive a cash prize and a banquet in his honor in addition to the special honor. Griffin owns the south suburban music consulting firm Griffin Music, LLC and also founded the Griffin Institute of Performing Arts.
“Being an educator isn’t a career, it’s a lifestyle,” Griffin told Patch. “My approach to teaching is intentional and full of care and love. I believe that music education should be a way to promote not only musical excellence, but also unity and diversity.”
Griffin said he gives back to the community he grew up in by working as a student mentor for VanderCook College of Music and co-directing the Chicago Jazz Philharmonic Youth Ensemble. He is also the group director of Harvey School District 152, a group which he says helped him discover his love of music when he was in elementary school.