Rio Americano High School

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Rio Americano High School

The Mirada

Rio Americano High School

The Mirada

Rio Americano Music Director Selected as California Jazz Educator of the Year

Josh Murray will receive award at upcoming California Music Educators Association Conference
Photo By Rio Band Boosters
Josh Murray directs a Rio Americano band. Murray has been selected as California jazz teacher of the year.

Music director Josh Murray has won the California Music Educators Paul A. Shaghoian Jazz Educator Award.

The award, which is named for Paul Shaghoian, who taught in the Clovis area and passed away too soon, is essentially the CMEA “Jazz Educator of the Year” award. It honors excellence in Jazz Education and Performance.

The CMEA is hosting their annual conference in Sacramento in a few weeks where Murray will receive the award as part of an award ceremony honoring the other statewide award winners.

“With a storied career spanning 27 years (26 of it here at Rio and more to come!) this award is well deserved,” his music colleague Mitch Evett said in an email. “I’m lucky to share an office with this excellent educator and we are lucky to have him at our school.”

Murray has racked up numerous honors for the band program over the years, including repeat performances at the prestigious Essentially Ellington Jazz Festival at Lincoln Center in New York, top awards at the Monterey Jazz Festival and recognition as the best high school jazz program from Downbeat Magazine.

Earlier this month a small Rio Jazz group was selected as one of only three high school combos nationally to perform and compete at the Charles Mingus Festival, to be held in February at the New School, in New York City. Students participating are Aidan Barnes, Liv Bacchi, Colin Thowtho, Salome Ospina, Miles Rothman and Zack Long.

At the same conference where Murray will receive his award, two Rio Americano students will perform in All-State groups. Freshman Gabriel Huang will play clarinet in the All-State Wind Ensemble and sophomore Madison Lazark will be in the All-State Jazz Choir.


Josh Murray plays saxophone. Photo from Rio Band Boosters.
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  • KadeFeb 5, 2024 at 8:54 PM

    Nice quick and informative read

  • SamFeb 4, 2024 at 10:15 PM

    Even though this article was not too long, there was still lots of detail packed into it which I liked.

  • Olivia HuangFeb 2, 2024 at 5:56 PM

    Congratulations to Mr. Murray! Our band program has made so much progress over the years, thanks to his hard work and dedication. He most certainly deserves these awards. Great job, All-State kids, too. Your hard work has paid off. Have fun!

  • Jazmin CFeb 2, 2024 at 12:18 PM

    This article was quite interesting, and informed me a lot about Josh Murray and his background! Congrats to him.

  • Julia CarpenterJan 25, 2024 at 10:01 AM

    Great article, it was very easy to follow and engaging. Congratulations Mr. Murray!

  • Bailey TolerJan 23, 2024 at 10:18 AM

    This article is very well written and informational because I now know a lot about Josh Murray and what he’s done to win this award.

  • stella plainJan 23, 2024 at 9:36 AM

    Well informed short article. The fact that it is shorter makes me want to read it more.