Award something to sing about

Photos by Cathie Lawrence


On Oct. 21, LMC Choir Director Silvester Henderson was awarded the 2014 Arts Recognition Award by the Contra Costa County Arts Commission during its 18th Annual Arts Awards Ceremony.
“I’m honored for our students, because my life is really about the students.” Henderson said. “And to me, the award really should go to the students, because they allow me to work with them, and to present my leadership skills.”
Henderson was one of three artists who received the 2014 Arts Recognition Award for their dedication to the arts. Each of the three artists represented over 145 years of continuing artistic creativity for Contra Costa County. Famed painter Sylvia Fein of Martinez, and landscape architect and painter Joel Summerhill of Antioch were also awarded.
There are criteria to be considered to become a nominee. They must be, or have been, involved with arts and culture and have contributions or work that has had a significant impact on Contra Costa County. Individuals nominated in previous years cannot be nominated a second time.
“This is a special event for us to present not only the award recipient,” said Karen Mitchoff, Head Supervisor of the board, adding, “but to partake us some culture our self this morning, in the midst of a busy day, a busy week or being busy all the time.”
Each awardee received a glass sculpture made by internationally renowned glass artist Randy Shawn, whose work has even been put up as an exhibit for the Louvre in Paris, France. Depicted as a large ball of fire, the awards symbolize the flame of creativity they bring to our community.
During the ceremony, Henderson thanked not only the students, but the audience who arrived as well. Henderson acknowledges the other award winners, and wants to tell how proud he is that he can sit with the other nominees who have brought so much effort into the district. Henderson had select members of the Gospel Choir sing a selection he dedicated to the art commission.
“Next to my family,” said Henderson, “my students are the most important individuals.”
A graduate of San Francisco State University with a Master’s Degree in Music, Henderson has been teaching for over 52 years, and has been a director for the LMC Choral Department for the past 20 years. In 2013, Henderson was a quarter finalist to the newly created national Music Educator Grammy Award.
The award was presented to Henderson in the County Board of Supervisors meeting in Martinez. For more information about music programs at LMC, visit or call 473-7805.