KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — Through melodies, chords and the hum of a violin one Knoxville musician has been working to change lives and bring smiles to the community. On Thursday, he earned a national award for it — the Ford Musician Award for Excellence in Community Service from the League of American Orchestras.
The award is meant to recognize musicians and the work they do outside the concert hall. Sean Claire, who plays violin with the Knoxville Symphony Orchestra, is one of five musicians across the U.S. chosen for the award.
He played with the Knoxville Symphony Orchestra ever since joining the group in 1990. After more than 30 years with them, he has played as a soloist, a concertmaster and was chosen to participate in the orchestra's Music and Wellness Program.
As part of the program, the orchestra gives live performances to help patients and enhance their experiences while being treated in a variety of healthcare settings. In 2018, Claire turned the Cancer Institute at the University of Tennessee Medical Center into an impromptu music hall through the program.
It's just one example of the work he has done to benefit the community through the Music and Wellness program, along with his usual performances filling Knoxville with music.
Since 2016, only 25 musicians across the U.S. have received the Ford Musician Award. Every person who receives it also gets a $2,500 cash award and a complimentary registration to the League of American Orchestra's national conference.
The Knoxville Symphony Orchestra will also get a $2,500 grant to support its development.
Claire will be presented with the award at the virtual 2021 League Conference from June 7 - 17. After the conference, videos of his work will be available on the league's website.