By Sam Hodges*
Kent Knappenberger found himself in the thick of the recent Grammy weekend, being flown to Los Angeles, rubbing tuxedo shoulders with Ringo Starr and other pop legends.
Now he’s back home in rural upstate New York, teaching music in a public school all day and tending his farm before and after.
“I got up and milked the cow this morning,” he said by phone, referring to a registered Guernsey named Giggle. “No more glitz. No more red carpet.”
Knappenerger, son and grandson of United Methodist pastors and a United Methodist himself, won the first Grammy for a music educator. He beat more than 30,000 nominees from all 50 states, though he comes from a small school — 730 students in 12 grades — which can’t match the resources of wealthy suburban districts or private schools.
For 25 years, through innovation and drawing on what others say is uncommon energy and passion, he’s had the majority of upper-grade students at Westfield Academy and Central School in Westfield, N.Y., in music courses and joining music groups he leads.
Read the full story to learn about his mission trips to Brazil, his family, and more!