North Montgomery High School Principal Michael Cox, representing Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear, recently commissioned director of choirs Sarah Kavanaugh a Kentucky Colonel.
Commissions are the highest honor awarded by the Commonwealth of Kentucky and recognize contributions to the nation. Colonels serve as ambassadors of good will and fellowship around the world.
Therese and Mark Eutsler of Linden, who are also Kentucky Colonels, nominated Kavanaugh for leadership in music education on a national scale. Mark Eutsler, himself a former high school band and choir director who teaches music courses at Indiana Wesleyan University, noted that the “Back to School Means Back to Choir” video Kavanaugh produced for students is outstanding.
“It’s the best I’ve seen from any other director in the country,” he said.
Her nomination noted, “Mrs. Kavanaugh teaches music with a transdisciplinary, student centric approach. During her rehearsals students learn about the artistic, cultural, ethnic, historic, language and style contexts in which music was composed and lyrics were written. She enjoys the respect of colleagues and professional musicians around the state for the level of excellence ensembles under her direction consistently achieve as well as around the country for her work at the Interlochen Center for the Arts. Additionally, she provides students opportunities to perform throughout the community, participate in national music festivals, attend professional performances and engage with guest clinicians of national renown in her classroom.”
Kavanaugh is also music director at Grace Lutheran Church and a cantor at the Roman Catholic Cathedral of Saint Mary of the Immaculate Conception, both in Lafayette.
Kavanaugh’s approach is best described in a message to students after a recent concert, “Thanks for leading us with music through this transformative time. I am still beaming with pride from last week’s performance. Each day of the last 10 weeks has held unique challenges and difficulties. We have used song as our outlet, our purpose, and our hope. Together we have built a choral community unlike any other I have had the privilege to lead. My students displayed a level of ownership that went above and beyond this concert cycle. I am blown away by their artistry and commitment.
In addition to the commission certificate, Kavanaugh received a pin, patch and decal representing her membership into the Honorable Order of Kentucky Colonels.