D97’s music program scores three-peat

When Thomas Kanwischer was a middle schooler, he had a band director who urged him to hone his talents, study and play. Kanwischer did just that, carving out an 18-year career as a music educator at Oak Park School District 97, sharing his former teacher’s message to inspire the next generation of young musicians. 

“Since I was in the sixth grade, I couldn’t even think of doing anything else because this is what I’m good at,” said Kanwischer, who serves as the district’s band director. He has called upon a fleet of music teachers to cultivate a space for students to discover themselves through songs, scales and rhythms, and their efforts are being recognized yet again as one of the country’s best programs.

For the third year in a row, D97’s music program was awarded the “Best Communities for Music Education” by the National Association of Music Merchants (NAMM) Foundation. D97 was one of 738 school districts which received the honor, drawing attention to the work of teachers, administrators, families and local leaders to support a music program. A total of 22 Illinois school districts were named, including D97, Riverside School District 96 and Berwyn North School District 98.

Anita Shire

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