Three Win Regional Music Education Awards

Posted: Thursday, January 30th 2020

All CMEA-SBS award winners at the Fortissimo event on January 25

The Southern Border Section of the California Music Educators Association (CMEA) recently recognized its 2019 Fortissimo awards winners. These awards honor Imperial Valley and San Diego County music educators, industry leaders, and school administrators for exceptional work in music education. Among the recipients were three San Diego Unified current or former employees.

  • John Aguilar, principal at Normal Heights Elementary, was selected for an Outstanding Administrator Award. This award honors a non-music educator who, as a school administrator, has contributed powerfully to the support of music education.
  • Stephen Luchs, VAPA Department instrumental music teacher, was selected for a Hall of Fame Award, honoring lifetime achievement in music education. Mr. Luchs currently teaches Suzuki violin at Crown Point Junior Music Academy and Sequoia Elementary School.
  • Harvey Tellinghuisen, now retired from San Diego Unified, taught elementary instrumental music for many years, and continues to work with music credential students at San Diego State University. For his continued influence in developing teachers, Mr. Tellinghuisen was selected for the Aubrey Penman Retired Music Educator Award. 

Fortissimo was celebrated this year on January 25, 2020 at Stone Brewery in Point Loma at Liberty Station. The event included a luncheon, dessert, and awards​.

The Fortissimo Awards are selected through an open nomination process, followed by a selection process from the CMEA-SBS Executive Board.  A complete list of award winners for 2019 can be found at 


John Aguilar receives his award from Ted Foster, CMEA-SBS Vice President of Instrumental Education.


Stephen Luchs (left) and Harvey Tellinghuisen (right) with their awards.

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