By Rachel Holt

IPSWICH (CBS) – One listen to the Ipswich High School Orchestra, and it’s obvious whatever their teacher is doing, it’s working.

Michael Coelho is in his seventh year as the Director of Orchestras for Ipswich Public Schools, where he teaches close to 200 students.

“Sharing a passion with them is such a privilege every day. Getting to show them why I think music is so powerful,” said Coelho.

The Fall River native is one of 10 finalists for the 2022 Grammy Music Educator Award, coming as no surprise to his colleagues and students.

“What’s really special is the way he connects with his students. He’ll do whatever it takes for them to be successful,” said Gerry Dolan, Fine Arts Director for Ipswich Public Schools.

Michael Coelho and the Ipswich High School Orchestra (WBZ-TV)

“I think he’s just kind of the perfect mix of like you know pushing you, making sure you’re doing the best you can but also like so encouraging,” said Ava Borgman, a senior who plays the viola.

“You radiate off of his energy because he’s ready, he’s excited, he’s energized. He wants the best for you,” said Behnji Dessources, a Sophomore who plays bass.

“They just need to believe in themselves. And all I’m doing is helping them along that way. They inspire me as much as they say I inspire them,” said Coelho.

The winner will be announced in January during Grammy Week and will receive a $10,000 honorarium— as well as an equal amount of grant money for their school’s music program.

“Seeing what the students are saying, seeing the joy they have on their faces, seeing how excited they were just a moment ago to play for you, that’s what it’s all about,” said Coelho.

The 64th Grammy awards will air on WBZ-TV on Monday, January 31st.

Rachel Holt