OAKLAND — Andrew Forster has been tapping his feet since he was a baby in a high chair.

So it was unsurprising to Leona Forster that her son, director of the Messalonskee High School concert and jazz bands, had earned the Maine Music Educators Association’s Music Teacher of the Year award.

Leona Forster and her husband Richard both attended Tuesday morning’s surprise all-school award assembly for their son.

She said music has always been enjoyable and natural for him.

Leona Forster said he didn’t practice the piano all that much as a kid but when it came time for a recital, “he would play like he was Mozart.”

During part of the assembly, students Morgan Clements, Dhivya Singaram and Ashley Nickless played Mozart’s “Minuet and Trio.”

Clements, a junior, described her award-winning teacher as animated, intense and “one of most hardworking and caring people I’ve ever met.”

She said everything Andrew Forster does is for the students.

“He wants to inspire his students,” Clements said. “He’s inspired me to continue with my music.”

Andrew Forster, 45, in turn said his mother is one of his musical inspirations.

“I never remember not having music in my life,” he said. “My mother claims she has no music ability but we grew up listening to her sing to us.”

Andrew Forster said he considered work as an engineer like his father, but it was his mother who encouraged him to do pursue the career that made him most happy, and that was music.

Messalonskee High School Principal Jon Moody said it was a fitting career choice.

He called Forster a “transformative presence” and “one of the most inspiring and dedicated educators I have ever met.”

Kevin Rhein, choral music teacher at the high school, also had high praise for his colleague.

“In my 30 years experience, Andy is one of the finest music educators I’ve ever had the pleasure of working with,” he said.

Rhein credited his peer with initiating a popular music production class to teach studio recording techniques.

He also started a local middle school band camp and the Mid Maine Youth Orchestra for children in grades 7-12.

Andrew Forster performs with a group of Maine music teachers known as the Acadia Wind Ensemble, the Al Corey Orchestra and The Downeast Brass.

He said he likes to encourage “stepping out of the safe zone we live in and doing things we might not think we can do.”

Beth Staples — 861-9252

[email protected]


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