BMI composer Chris Cerf (center) is congratulated by MENC Chairman Dr. Willy Hill and BMI's Robbin Ahrold. Photo by Robert N. Blanken, CPP, Cr.Photog.
"We all know that music education is essential for all our children. We know that it helps kids become literate participants in our culture," said Dr. Mahlmann. "Through the FAME awards, we recognize the best of those who support teachers' efforts to bring music to our nation's students - individuals like Chris Cerf."
Cerf has played a pivotal role in the creation and production of the Sesame Street television program, most notably as a regular contributor of lyrics and music. He currently serves as Creative Director and Music Director of Between The Lions, the highly acclaimed children's literacy series on PBS. That program has already amassed six Emmy Awards in its three seasons on the air and last week was nominated for seven more Emmys. Cerf is also the recipient of two Grammy Awards and two Emmy Awards for his work with Sesame Street.
In making the presentation to Cerf, BMI's Corporate Relations Vice President Robbin Ahrold said, "It's fair to say that in the world of television, no one working today creates music to teach literacy to better effect than Chris Cerf."
Cerf received a musical salute from Sesame Street's Grover and Between The Lions' Cleo, who performed several of his award-winning compositions.
BMI was the founding sponsor of the FAME Awards, which annually acknowledge educators for accomplishments in groundbreaking programs, as well as public figures for their support of music and the arts. Past honorees include members of the House and Senate from both sides of the aisle who have fought to maintain and expand support for music education.
MENC: The National Association for Music Education, the world's largest arts education organization, is the only association that addresses all aspects of music education. More than 100,000 members represent all levels of teaching from preschool to graduate school. Since 1907, MENC has worked to ensure that every student has access to a well-balanced, comprehensive, and high-quality program of music instruction taught by qualified teachers. MENC's activities and resources have been largely responsible for the establishment of music education as a profession, for the promotion and guidance of music study as an integral part of the school curriculum, and for the development of the National Standards for Arts Education.