Lydia Smith-Lockwood has performed internationally and received awards from institutions such as Yale University during her teaching career.
Her latest recognition has a special meaning for Shawnee High School’s director of choral and orchestral music.
Smith-Lockwood is the recipient of the Springfield Symphony Orchestra’s sixth annual Music Educator of the Year Award.
The award recognizes outstanding service through commitment to music in schools and the community for educators in Clark, Champaign or Greene counties.
“It is a true honor to be associated with an organization that has such a rich tradition of musical excellence,” Smith-Lockwood said.
She’ll receive the award during the symphony’s Saturday concert at the Clark State Performing Arts Center.
Each year the symphony receives numerous nominations for music educators, and its education committee found Smith-Lockwood the standout in 2016.
“She embodies everything this award was created to honor: excellence in the field of music education, devotion to her students and making the community a better place through their musical growth,” said Alek Peugh, Springfield Symphony Orchestra director of operations and education.
More than 1,000 students have learned from Smith-Lockwood since 1997 when she moved to Springfield, starting at Hayward Middle School, helping its program before going to Shawnee in 2006 seeing that program grow, which she spreads the credit for.
“The music program at Shawnee has grown due to the support of our administration, my colleagues and the Springfield community,” Smith-Lockwood said. “The music programs in almost each school system have grown. When the community at large invests in its students, the community benefits. Investment in the arts is essential to the future of our country.”
Her Shawnee students have backed nationally-recognized performers Kenny Rogers and Sandi Patty during performances at the Performing Arts Center.
Smith-Lockwood has also been active in other area arts, including the Ohio Lyric Theatre and Springfield Children’s Chorus. She is the music director at Covenant Presbyterian Church and is an accompanist for the Springfield Symphony Chorale.
She credits Springfield for having a rich arts community with numerous opportunities and for having interested donors to help keep it going. She encourages people who find the arts important to consider donating to local arts programs.
“If one wishes to get involved in the arts, there are no excuses for not doing so,” Smith-Lockwood said.
Smith-Lockwood has performed and been an accompanist in musicals, operas and other programs domestically and in Japan, Italy and France.
She has degrees from Willamette University and Wright State University and also studied at the Mozarteum in Austria. Professionally, she’s received the Yale Distinguished Music Educator Award for Ohio and the Clark County Excellence in Teaching Award, and is currently pursuing her doctorate in educational leadership.
“I never want to fail to acknowledge all of the educators who work so hard and forever grateful for the opportunity to make music every day.”