Award named after music teachers

Allen Chapman

A husband and wife who’ve taught music at Catholic schools in Fort Madison and Burlington now have a national award named after them.

The Allen and Sandra Chapman Award of Excellence will go to a show choir director annually at the Show Choir Nationals, a high school and middle school competition in Nashville, Tenn. Allen has judged at the Show Choir Nationals for eight of the competition’s nine years; Sandra has supported his involvement.

“I just feel like Allen is an example of someone who cares about show choir activity, is dedicated to show choir activity and supports show choir activity,” said Daryl Ussery. He is president of Show Choir Nationals and named the award after the Chapmans.

Allen Chapman has “always been the kind of person who’s passionate about teaching. He teaches those kids to be winners and wants them to excel in what they do.” His comments to show choir competitors are constructive, not critical, Ussery added.


Allen said he was “gratified” and “humbled” by Ussery’s gesture. He has taught at Holy Trinity Catholic Junior/Senior High School in Fort Madison for six years and leads the show choir there. Sandra is retired after five years of teaching at Notre Dame Junior/Senior High School in Burlington.

The first award was given at the March 25-27 competition at the Grand Ole Opry to Steve Woodin, who teaches vocal music at Urbandale High School. Woodin is a former student of the Chapmans, a fact Ussery said Show Choir Nationals staff didn’t know when they chose the honoree.

Awardees are chosen from student, parent and community members’ letters of nomination. About 200 letters were received this year.

Allen is in his 39th year of teaching. He also has instructed at Fort Madison public schools and Southeastern Iowa Community College. 

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