MJA Congratulates Tom Lizotte!

Master Music Adjudicator Thomas Lizotte recently was awarded the prestigious “John LaPorta” award which was given jointly by Jazz Education Network (the national jazz educators’ association) and the Berklee College of Music. John LaPorta was one of the founders of jazz in the public schools. With the award came a cash grant and expense paid trip to the JEN conference in Reno, NV, at which they presented the award to Tom. We all want to wish Tom a huge congratulations on the award, well deserved!

Read more from the Dec-Jan Cape Courier:


Cape Elizabeth High School music teacher Thomas Lizotte was selected to be the recipient of the John LaPorta 2019 Jazz Educator of the Year Award, given by Berklee College of Music and the Jazz Educators Network. The award was presented at the JEN conference in Reno, Nevada on January 9, 2019.  Lizotte was nominated by several fellow music educators. According to a statement from the Berklee College of Music, Lizotte is an accomplished music educator who has influenced the artistic lives of thousands of students. He has been in public education for the past 30 years. He is a graduate of the University of Massachusetts, with degrees in music education and wind conducting. Lizotte has taught high school in Massachusetts, Connecticut, Florida and Maine. 

His primary jazz influences have been Dave Sporny, Dave Demsey Paul Alberta, Don Doane and Steve Massey. He is a regular contributor to The Instumentalist magazine. Long active as a teacher and judge in the marching arts, he is a member of three teaching halls of fame – Massachusetts Drum Corps, Boston Crusaders and Maine Music Educators.The award is granted by Berklee College of Music in Boston and the Jazz Educators Network, the national association of jazz educators. John LaPorta, for whom the award is named, was a legendary jazz educator who served as a distinguished professor at Berklee College of Music for more than three decades. LaPorta was an impressive teacher, colleague and musician. He played a pivotal role in the earliest stage of formalized American jazz education—shaping the unique Berklee curriculum and infl uencing the artistic lives of thousands of students.With the award comes a $1,500 cash award and a four-day, all-expenses-paid trip to Reno. The award means a tremendous amount, in that it gives national recognition to Lizotte and the Cape Elizabeth jazz program. The Berklee festival involves over 100 bands from across the United States. Each of those bands’ directors are eligible for the award. Lizotte said, “I am humbled to be chosen from among directors of this quality. For me, jazz education is a very special part of my teaching. Jazz is spiritual and it works on the creative aspect of the brain in a major way. To be honored for doing something that gives one such joy is so fortunate.

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