UMSL’s Jim Henry wins national music award

Jim Henry

Jim Henry, associate professor and chair of the Department of Music, and the Crossroads Quartet he co-founded nearly a decade ago will be recognized this summer by the National Association for Music Education. (Photos by August Jennewein)

No one commands a stage like Jim Henry.

The award-winning singer, choral director and music instructor is receiving further affirmation of his excellence this summer when Crossroads Quartet – the group he co-founded – receives the 2016 Stand for Music Award from the National Association for Music Education.

“We are extremely honored to receive this recognition,” Henry, an associate professor and chair of the Department of Music at the University of Missouri–St. Louis, said. “It is the most prestigious music education advocacy award [the organization] gives. It’s especially rewarding because it highlights the importance of music education to our country and culture.”

Jim Henry

Jim Henry has a passion for “the value of music education in the lives of people of all ages, regardless of whether or not they pursue music for a living.”

NAfME, among the world’s largest arts education organizations, is the only association that addresses all aspects of music education. The organization’s Stand for Music Award is presented to individuals or groups who have made significant contributions to music education.

Henry and his colleagues formed Crossroads in 2007 as a traditional barbershop music performance group. Since then, Crossroads has expanded its repertoire to include a broad spectrum of a cappella music styles. The group previously won Barbershop Harmony Society’s International Championship in 2009 and has three recordings.

Henry said Crossroads attracted the attention of officials at NAfME during the organization’s national conference in November – where the group gave an opening event performance.

“I think one of the things that attracted NAfME to us is the way in which we represent the value of music education in the lives of people of all ages, regardless of whether or not they pursue music for a living,” Henry said, noting that he is the only music educator in the group. The other members include two individuals from the telecommunication industry and a recording engineer.

“Crossroads Quartet represents the best in vocal music,” said NAfME Assistant Executive Director Chris Woodside. “But beyond that, Crossroads has advocated for the benefits of lifelong singing, which go far beyond the classroom. These phenomenal singers have taken a stand for including quality music education as a part of every student’s well-rounded education. I am pleased to have them share their story of how they create a better world – singing, when we visit Capitol Hill policymakers in June.”

Crossroads will receive the award during NAfME’s annual Collegiate Advocacy Summit June 22 to 24, an event designed to promote the benefits of music education among elected officials in Washington D.C. Henry and his colleagues will perform for legislators, as well as advocate for support for music programs in schools.

To listen to Crossroads Quartet, click here.

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