Williamson sans mask.

GORHAM — A middle school teacher is a semifinalist for a national award that would give a financial boost to the school’s music program and give her a trip to the Grammy Awards ceremony next year in Los Angeles.

Meanwhile, Tracy Williamson is happily holding classes outside under a tent because of pandemic safety protocols.

“I have three classes a day out here,” Williamson said Monday as the temperature dropped and drizzle fell.

If selected as the winner of the Grammy Music Educator Award among 25 semifinalists nationwide, Williamson would receive an honorarium of $10,000 and a matching grant from Ford Motor Company for her school’s music program. And she’d also get a trip to the 63rd Grammy Awards in Los Angeles in early 2021.

“It sounds surreal right now,” Williamson said.

The award “recognizes educators who have made a significant and lasting contribution to the field of music education and who demonstrate a commitment to the broader cause of maintaining music education in the schools,” according to its website.

The 25 semifinalists were selected from 1,989 nominees. Ten finalists will be named in December.

“I’m super honored to be selected and represent Gorham,” Williamson said.

She teaches music to sixth- and seventh graders and chorus to grades 6-8.

Gorham Superintendent Heather Perry said Williamson, who has taught in Gorham since 2003, is a “tremendously creative and passionate educator who works tirelessly to instill the love she has for all things musical into her middle level students in whatever fun and engaging way she can.”

Williamson has a knack for connecting with early musicians, Perry said.

Gorham Middle School Principal Quinton Donahue said Williamson finds creative ways to engage students and “jumped” right into the opportunity to teach under a tent.
“She’s a great teacher,” Donahue said.
She helped found and directs Gorham’s steel drum band for grades 6 through 12. The band has performed locally and in Blue Hill and she hopes it can travel to a festival in Virginia Beach, Virginia, this school year.

A graduate of Boston University and Boston Conservatory with a master’s degree in flute performance, Williamson previously performed with the Southern Maine Symphony.

With an eye these days on a thermometer, Williamson has asked her students, who sing and play wind instruments outside, to wear coats, hats and gloves while under the tent, where spacing is 14 feet apart.

Once snow flies, she said, “We’re going to play it by ear.”

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