Two Faculty Members Vote in 2015 GRAMMY Awards

College of Music expertise represented in jazz and classical categories.

Grammy Awards. Source, ©2014
Recording Academy mail room housing 2015 voter ballots. Source, ©2015

Michael Dease and Gwen Dease value the right to vote, particularly when it relates to a profession they live and love.

Last fall, the two faculty members in the MSU College of Music were invited to be voting members in the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences—the founders of the annual GRAMMY award for excellence in the recording arts. 

Membership in the Recording Academy is open to individuals who actively work in music and recording. Both Michael and Gwen were selected as voting members based upon their established bodies of work as musicians, producers, and recording artists. 

“Our job was to listen and to go for what we feel is outstanding,” says Michael, assistant professor of jazz trombone and a two-time GRAMMY Award winning artist. “And there were 100s of recordings and nominations in that first round.”

Each voting member, the Deases explain, is encouraged to vote in categories for which they have the most experience. Gwen voted in classical, Michael in jazz. Both also voted in other categories of interest and were able to cast up to five votes in each of two individual rounds of voting. The process was done through mail and culminated in mid-January—about a month in advance of the early February 2015 GRAMMY Awards.

“Being a voting member definitely involved listening to a lot of works,” says Gwen Dease, associate professor of percussion and chair of the brass and percussion area. “I did a lot of research, too, to make sure I was informed and voting fairly.” 

The Deases regard voting privileges as a high honor, and an additional way to contribute to and support the recording industry. The awards, too, hold special significance for the music educators and performers since Michael has been on the receiving end of the coveted award. 

“We watched from home this year and kept our fingers crossed,” says Michael of the 2015 Grammy Award ceremony. “It was exciting because we had colleagues nominated this year.”

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