KENMORE, N.Y. (WIVB) — Kenmore East High School band director Phil Aguglia has been named one of the top-10 finalists for this year’s Music Educator of the Year Award.

Aguglia has been named a semifinalist once before, in 2015, but this is his first time being named a finalist. There were over 1,200 initial nominations for the award and

“It’s an honor and it’s really exciting,” Aguglia told News 4. “To me, this is equivalent to a lifetime achievement award, so it’s really cool.”

In October, Aguglia said he wanted to get his students more involved with this GRAMMY run than he did with his run in 2015. “I’ve made this a ride for us all to be on,” he told News 4.

Aguglia, known for his trademark teaching style, keeping students engaged by making learning fun.

“My energy, my ‘batteries’ are the students,” he said in October. “Everything I do all day long, that energy and enthusiasm, comes from seeing a smile on a kid’s face. I’m not here to breed the next philharmonic musician. I’m here to give 100% of these kids a positive experience that they will then want their children to enjoy.”

He is also a member of local nonprofit Music is Art and crafts batons for conductors.

To learn more about the Music Educator of the Year Award, click here. To see more about Aguglia’s mission as band director at Kenmore East, click here.

The Kenmore East band will be playing its holiday concert Thursday at 7 p.m.

Adam Duke is a digital producer who has been part of the News 4 team since 2021. See more of his work here.