Grammys pay tribute, recognize education

Top artists gathered at one event. Music filled the air. Local and national celebrities were recognized. This was the 58th annual Grammy Awards.

This year’s Grammy Awards on CBS were filled with several performances, awards and tributes displaying the talent of 2015’s popular artists while also honoring music of the past decades.

“One broad observation about the Grammys is that it continues to spotlight superstars,” said Parke Puterbaugh, part-time lecturer in music and the history of rock, writer for Rolling Stonefrom 1979 to 2004 and senior editor for Rolling Stone in the 1980s. “It’s like the Super Bowl of music history events.”

Taylor Swift opened the night with her performance of “Out of the Woods” and was followed by a tribute to Lionel Richie. Other performers included the Eagles, Justin Bieber, Pitbull and more.

Ed Sheeran won his first Grammy, and the Broadway musical “Hamilton” won best musical theater album.

Adele performed “All I Ask,” but, during her performance, a strange noise was heard from the microphone. Adele said in a tweet that the piano microphone dropped into the instrument, which caused the microphone mishap.

One local superstar who attended the Grammy awards this year was Phillip Riggs, a teacher at the North Carolina School of Science and Math.

Out of about 4,500 nominees from all throughout the U.S., Riggs received the Music Educator Award at this year’s ceremony and was recognized for his contribution to music education.

“I knew about the Grammy Foundation’s work with music education, but I don’t think I really realized the strong commitment they have to music education,” Riggs told The Guilfordian. “It was just all exciting.”

Students on campus also shared their reactions to the Grammy Awards show.

“If I had to describe the 2016 Grammys in one word, it would be Kendrick,” said senior Gabe Pollak. “Kendrick Lamar’s performance was, hands down, my favorite performance of the night and one of my favorite performances on the Grammys in the last decade.”

Early College senior Dylan O’Connor also commented on Lamar’s performance.

“Not only was it … just a good performance in general, but it made a strong political statement that I thought definitely needed to be made,” O’Connor said.

O’Connor cited Stevie Wonder’s message that was also shared at the Grammys.

“(Wonder) said everything should be accessible for all people with a disability, which is a very awesome message,” said O’Connor.

When asked about the evening’s most unique performance, O’Connor mentioned Lady Gaga’s tribute to David Bowie, which included bright hair, an elaborate costume and a shifting piano.

Artists were praised for their varied performances and the awards they received, but some viewers were unsatisfied.

Taylor Swift’s album “1989” won album of the year over the albums of Alabama Shakes, The Weeknd, Chris Stapleton and Kendrick Lamar.

“I think Taylor Swift is a deserving artist, but (for Kendrick Lamar) to have such an ambitious concept album which describes such a range of topics in such … a grippingly personal way and have that not win album of the year, that’s an insult to one of the greatest artists of our generation and suggests some of the limitations of the Grammys,” said Pollak. “Part of that may be because of the process that the Grammy governing body follows.”

Puterbaugh echoed disappointment in this year’s Grammys.

“Every year, you see the same faces up there, and it’s getting a bit old,” said Puterbaugh. “What about the rising voices that ought to be given attention or paid attention to? Can you introduce us to something new?”

With the anticipation of this year’s upcoming hits and next year’s award winners, we will have to wait and see what the 59th Grammy awards have in store.